The SMART Green Aviation EcoSystem has 3 Pillars
SMART Green SkyWay Incubator Hub
Establish a SMART Green SkyWay Incubator Hub at a mid-west regional airport. This will provide a pathway for a viable “operational regional green airport” including infrastructure and technology. Innovators need airports to deliver services and the environment to benefit from the zero-emission technology when it comes online. The airport campus would become the testbed for piloting and demonstrating new technologies.
Sustainable Energy Hub
This Pillar will focus on the accelerated green energy transition to supply the evolving needs of the regional air transportation model. The goal will be to “Imagine, Design and Build” a bespoke airport infrastructure for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for todays aircraft which will evolve for future “Green Hydrogen” to power next generation electric aircraft. There is significant potential for Ireland to be a net exporter of green aviation fuel.
Strategic Optimisation for Clean Aviation
The first two pillars focus on developing a physical infrastructure and branding of the region as an enabler for future green aviation industry. We also need to focus on what we can commercialize as an export industry. Key to the programme will be technology research and development, advanced manufacturing processes and developing the technology and electric aircraft certification/regulation expertise in Ireland.
The goal is to establish the mid-west region as the centre of excellence to simulate and demonstrate the sustainable aviation ecosystem. Key to this will be the ability to leverage synergies from our existing Aviation stakeholders in Ireland, other industries (e.g. automotive), our FDI strengths, R&D incentives and tax structure for future revenue generated in Ireland.
The opportunity around the new zero-emission technologies in development will shape our thinking on solutions for net-zero regional air transport operation as part of a multi-modal connected transport strategy.
This Incubator will bring together stakeholders to study a wide range of applications of available technological innovations, energy efficiency, and infrastructure requirements including hybrid and all-electric, sustainable aviation fuel alternatives, hydrogen fuel-cell, and hydrogen-fueled gas turbine-powered aircraft.
Technical Roadmap for Demonstrators
ZEMAVA will develop three distinct but interconnected technical Demonstrator project areas based on the three pillars of our EcoSystem, namely Airport Energy Infrastructure, Alternative Aviation Fuel and Technology Certification/Safety. The three Demonstrators will form the cornerstone of our aviation technology Incubator Hub for ZE-Aviation Alliance and from which we can incrementally build additional projects.
Energy Management – Airport Energy consumption, Electric Charging (ground based)
There is an increasing amount of hybrid and full electric battery powered commuter/regional and eVTOL aircraft in development and targeting entry into service from 2026. In order that these aircraft are operational at airports, there is work to be done to understand the required infrastructure to power these aircraft, and address the safety, regulatory and certification challenges from the source of energy to the aircraft itself.
This first project will require us to demonstrate the charging system and process for a real test vehicle including the battery charger, energy storage system and aircraft. This project will run from 2023 to 2025.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Supply Chain and Regional Airport SAF Readiness
The nearer term opportunity to reduce aircraft emissions is through the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) on board todays commercial aircraft. The requirement to use SAF will be mandated from 2025 through the European Commission ReFuelEU and “Fit for 55” proposals.
This project will examine Irelands current aviation jet fuel supply chain and look at the optimal sustainable aviation fuel value chain from the point of production, blending, transportation, storage and consumption. The goal is to demonstrate a model for a regional airport to maintain competitiveness and security of supply assuming industry will require the airport to service aircraft with different levels of SAF blending from 2% to potentially 100% SAF on board. This project will run from 2023 to 2026.
Transition to Hydrogen power for ground services and on aircraft
Similar to Demonstrator Project # 1, as we move towards Hydrogen power on board the aircraft there is work to be done to understand the required infrastructure to power those aircraft and the regulatory and certification requirements from the source of energy to the aircraft itself.
This project will be designed to demonstrate green aviation hydrogen production and distribution for regional airport use, the ground management system and embedded hydrogen on board a real test vehicle. This project will run from 2025 to 2030.
ZE-Aviation Alliance (ZEMAVA) will deliver significant and concrete impacts to the mid-west region and for the aviation industry in Ireland.
It will help measure passenger appetite for new aircraft technology, especially on lifeline regional routes, and the potential impact on the regional economy from the adoption of these new technologies.
This incubation hub has the potential to put Ireland at the forefront of the transition to low carbon aviation and is an important step towards delivering our commitment to decarbonise scheduled passenger flights.
Education and Policy Support
This Incubator will strengthen the mid-west region as part of the vision for a low carbon Atlantic Green Digital Basin by providing net zero aviation as an end use application for renewable energy. There is potential for the region as a manufacturing/distribution hub for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Ireland and an innovation centre for future green aviation hydrogen production, transport, storage and distribution. This would greatly strengthen the mid-west region as part of the national aviation infrastructure strategy.
The SMART green airport campus incubator model developed will be a pilot that could be scaled and rolled out to other regional and national airports as part of a multi-modal connected transportation strategy. The goal will be to establish mid-west region as the centre of excellence to demonstrate the electric aviation ecosystem and attract significant investment in the region.
Strategic Industrial partnerships will be key to the expansion objectives – working with government to target specific aviation industry expansion to Mid-West.
Opportunity for Talent Diversification and Expansion
The ZE-Aviation Alliance collaboration is ambitious and will be far-reaching into multiple sectors. It will require a long-term strategic planning programme for the technological, business and infrastructure elements, but also the human skills and resources that we will need in place at various stages of the implementation. Since the programme is wide reaching across the 3 pillars, the level of innovation, skills and expertise required will be diverse.
The various academic and education networks and service offering will have a critical part to play in the workforce design and people development elements of the strategy development and implementation. Key to the success of the initiative will be the ability of the region to provide a pipeline of talent to address the employment needs of the businesses in the region as they evolve and grow.