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Integrating Concepts Of Sustainable Aviation In Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Courses

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Aerospace Workspace: Current and Future 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.754.1 - 14.754.12



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Paper Authors

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Ramesh Agarwal Washington University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integrating Concepts of Sustainable Aviation in Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Courses


The titles “Sustainable Aviation” or “Green Aviation” are recently being used with increasing frequency to address the technological and socioeconomic issues facing the aviation industry to meet the environmental challenges of twenty-first century. Air travel continues to experience the fastest growth among all modes of transportation. Therefore the environmental issues such as noise, emissions and fuel consumption, for both airplane and airport operations, have become important for energy and environmental sustainability. It is important therefore for the engineering students to become aware of these issues in an Introductory Course in Aeronautics. Some of the technology concepts currently being investigated by the industry for reducing noise, emissions and fuel consumption can be incorporated in appropriate existing courses in aerodynamics, aircraft structures, propulsion, guidance and control etc. at the undergraduate level. This paper provides some examples of inclusion of the sustainability ideas in aerodynamics and propulsion courses.


In the next few decades, air travel is forecasted to experience the fastest relative growth among all modes of transportation, especially due to many fold increase in demand in major developing nations of Asia and Africa. Figure 1 shows the current market outlook for airplane demand by 2025 and Figure 2 shows various categories of 27,200 airplanes that would be needed by 2025. The total value of new airplanes is estimated at $2.6 trillion. As a result of three fold increase in air travel by 2025, it is estimated that the total CO2 emission due to commercial aviation may reach between 1.2 billion tonnes to 1.5 billion tonnes annually by 2025 from its current level of 670 million tonnes. The amount of nitrogen oxides around airports, generated by aircraft engines, may rise from 2.5 million tonnes in 2000 to 6.1 million tonnes by 2025. The number of people who may be seriously affected by aircraft noise may rise from 24 million in 2000 to 30.5 million by 2025. Therefore there is urgency to address the problems of emissions and noise abatement through technological innovations in design and operations of the commercial aircraft. Aerospace International, published by the Royal Aeronautical Society of U.K., has identified 25 new technologies, initiatives and operational improvements that may make air travel one of the greenest industries by 2050 [1]. These 25 green technologies/concept areas are listed below from Reference [1].

1) Biofuels – These are already showing promise; the third generation biofuels may exploit fast growing algae to provide a drop-in fuel substitute.

2) Advanced composites – The future composites will be lighter and stronger than the present composites which the airplane manufacturers are just learning to work with and use.

Agarwal, R. (2009, June), Integrating Concepts Of Sustainable Aviation In Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4768

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