The Embraer’s Energia Family is comprised of four concept aircraft of varying sizes that incorporate different propulsion technologies – electric, hydrogen fuel cell, dual fuel gas turbine, and hybrid-electric
Sustainability is right at the centre of the aviation industry at present. Every company is taking steps to achieve the industry’s target of net zero emissions 2050. In line with the same, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer presented the Energia family. The family comprises of four new aircraft concepts that will use renewable energy propulsion technologies. Embraer announced this family of concept aircraft that it is exploring to help the industry achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Energia family is the latest in the company’s Sustainability in Action initiative.
The company has partnered with an international consortium of engineering universities, aeronautical research institutes, and small and medium-sized enterprises to better understand energy harvesting, storage, thermal management and their applications for sustainable aircraft propulsion.
The Energia Family is comprised of four concept aircraft of varying sizes that incorporate different propulsion technologies – electric, hydrogen fuel cell, dual fuel gas turbine, and hybrid-electric.
THE AIRCRAFT ARE EXPECTED TO BE READY BETWEEN 2030 AND 2040 AND AID THE INDUSTRY IN ACHIEVING NET ZERO EMISSIONS TARGET BY 2050
With the Energia project, the manufacturer is exploring a range of sustainable concepts to carry up to 50 passengers. This project is considering a number of energy sources, propulsion architectures and airframe layouts to reduce our carbon emissions by 50 per cent starting from 2030 – a key step in our goal to be net carbon neutral by 2050.
“We see our role as a developer of novel technologies to help the industry achieve its sustainability targets. There’s no easy or single solution in getting to net zero. New technologies and their supporting infrastructure will come online over time. We’re working right now to refine the first airplane concepts, the ones that can start reducing emissions sooner rather than later. Small aircraft are ideal on which to test and prove new propulsion technologies so that they can be scaled up to larger aircraft. That’s why our Energia family is such an important platform,” said Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Technology and Corporate Strategy, while explaining the rationale for the Energia family.
|Energia Hybrid (E9-HE)
|Energia Electric (E9-FE)
|full electric propulsion
|up to 90 per cent CO2 emissions reduction
|zero CO2 emissions
|aft contra-rotating propellers
|technology readiness –2030
|technology readiness – 2035
|Energia H2 Fuel Cell
|Energia H2 Gas Turbine
|hydrogen electric propulsion
|hydrogen or SAF/JetAurbine propulsion
|zero CO2 emissions
|up to 100 per cent CO2 emissions reduction
|35 to 50 seats
|rear-mounted electric engines
|technology readiness – 2035
|technology readiness – 2040
ENERGIA HYBRID (E9-HE)
Combining a mix of technologies, hybrid-electric propulsion enables Embraer to harvest the benefits from maximising thermal and electric engines synergies. The nine seater, hybrid-electric propulsion E9-HE allows up to up to 90 per cent CO2 emissions reduction. The variant will use parallel hybrid-electric propulsion and feature a range of 500 nautical miles (nm). The E9-HE’s propulsion system will rely on a single piston engine and two electric motors. This is expected to be ready by 2030.
ENERGIA ELECTRIC (E9-FE)
By developing higher capacity and longer-lasting batteries, a full-electric aircraft, designed for short-range missions, could reduce the aircraft CO2 emissions to zero and that is what Embraer is aiming with the E9-FE. This is also a nine seater and a first full electric propulsion aircraft of Energia family aiming for zero CO2 emissions. With a planned range of 200 nm, it is powered by batteries that are located in the nose of the aircraft. The E9-FE’s expected to become a reality by 2035.
ENERGIA H2 FUEL CELL (E19-H2FC)
Embraer believes that Hydrogen is a highly promising area in their journey to achieve zero emission flight – enabling them to generate thrust while reducing carbon emissions to zero. Hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to either run as a single power source or as a hybrid with gas turbines or batteries. The 19-seater hydrogen electric propulsion E19-H2FC also promises net zero CO2 emissions. Like the E9-FE, the E19-H2FC is also targeted to be ready by 2035.
ENERGIA H2 GAS TURBINE (E50-H2GT)
The dual-fuel of the E50-H2GT enables Embraer to power a gas turbine with two different fuel sources (Sustainable Aviation Fuel or Hydrogen), to maximise operational flexibility and reduce aircraft weight. Using a modified gas turbine, adapted to these new fuel sources, Embraer expects to increase range and passengers capacity. The 35-5- seater E50-H2GT also promises 100 per cent zero CO2 emissions and is expected to be completed by 2040.
At present the development of the Energia family aircraft is still in its earliest phases and Embraer is evaluating each aircraft for its technical and subsequent commercial viability.
Arjan Meijer, President and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, talked about the company’s strategy regarding sustainability and said, “We will see a big transformation in our industry towards a more sustainable aviation. With 50 years’ experience in developing, certifying and supporting regional aircraft, Embraer is in a unique position to make viable the introduction of new disruptive green technologies.”
Although the Energia airplanes are still on the drawing board, Embraer has already made advances in reducing emissions from its aircraft. It has tested drop-in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), mixes of sugarcane and camelina plant-derived fuel and fossil fuel, on its family of E-Jets. The company is targeting to have all Embraer aircraft SAF compatible by 2030. Last August, Embraer flew its Electric Demonstrator, a single-engine EMB-203 Ipanema, 100 per cent powered by electricity. A hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator is planned for 2025 and the company’s eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff & Landing), a fully electric, zero-emissions vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, is being developed to enter service in 2026.