The electric aircraft market takes off in a context of strong growth

The global all-electric aircraft sector is expected to grow 14% to around $20 billion by 2030, up from $6 billion last year, as the race to adopt cleaner and more efficient air travel greener is taking off, according to new research from the Dublin-based company. Research and Markets consulting firm.

Industry stakeholders are developing core aircraft components and adopting technologies to move the sector toward a more sustainable form of air travel and reduce carbon emissions, Research and Markets said.

“The growth of this market is primarily driven by an increase in the adoption of cleaner and greener aircraft, developments in advanced air mobility and alternative energy sources,” the report states.

Air transport and the wider travel sector are among the biggest contributors to rising carbon emissions globally and governments and businesses are working together to reduce CO2 emissions to meet agreed sustainability targets at an international level.

After rising rapidly over the past two decades, emissions from the aviation industry fell to just over 600 million metric tons in 2020, the lowest level since 1997 and down a third from 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.

Last December, French aeronautical start-up Ascendance Flight Technologies unveiled the design of the Atea, a five-seat vertical take-off and landing aircraft that it described as an environmentally friendly alternative to helicopters that reduces carbon emissions by up to at 80%.

In January, the Spirit of innovation – a battery-powered aircraft built by UK-based Rolls-Royce and described by its chief test pilot as “monstrously powerful” – has officially broken the world speed record for an all-electric aircraft.

Last August, global logistics company DHL Express announced that it had ordered 12 all-electric Alice eCargo planes from Seattle-based Eviation as it moves forward with its decarbonization program. The Alice aircraft is expected to enter service in 2024.

The aircraft electrification sector is dominated by a handful of global companies, including GE Aviation, Raytheon Technologies and Honeywell International, based in the United States, as well as Thales Group and Safran in France, according to the Research and Markets report.

These companies have been able to expand their presence in countries in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, he added.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the sector’s production and services by 7% and 10%, respectively, according to industry watchers.

In 2020, American aerospace company Boeing and Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi unveiled a joint program using the Greenliner ― a specially configured 787 Dreamliner that will serve as a “laboratory” to test new technologies in an effort to help reduce emissions. carbon and make the aviation industry more sustainable.

“The anticipated operating cost savings and lower long-term cost benefits represent the greatest motivation for operators and aircraft manufacturers to electrify aircraft,” wrote researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who report from the US Department of Energy in a recent study.

North America, in particular, is expected to dominate the aircraft electrification market due to strong demand for new aircraft in the region, Research and Markets said.

“The growth of upcoming projects and the emergence of several start-ups supporting the electrification of the aviation industry are additional factors influencing the growth of the North American market,” he added.

While all-electric models are the ideal aircraft to field, the Research and Markets study showed that the hybrid-electric segment is expected to register the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the market over the next decade.

“Hybrid electric technology uses both aircraft fuel and electricity to drive the propulsion system,” the report said.

“This technology helps to reduce fuel consumption, power consumption, emissions and noise of single-aisle passenger aircraft,” he added, noting that solar and fuel systems are the two types of sources. energy available in hybrid propulsion.

In terms of components, the battery segment – similar to the electric vehicle sector – is expected to continue to play a major role in aircraft electrification, having captured nearly a quarter of the component market in 2021, Research and Markets said. in the report.

Lithium-sulfur batteries – which are expected to surpass lithium-ion technology – offer an opportunity to create batteries that hold up to five times more charge than lithium for a given cell size and weight, he said. added.

“Based on platform, the business and general aviation segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR rate over the forecast period,” said Research and Markets.

This growth “can be attributed to rising corporate profits, an increase in the number of high net worth individuals, and an increase in demand for replacement of existing business jets with new ones.”

Updated: May 07, 2022, 03:30

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