Projects: AVIATION

Clean Aviation


The "Clean Aviation" Joint Undertaking is the European Union’s central research and innovation program for transforming aviation towards a sustainable and climate neutral future. Fraunhofer is a Founding Member of Clean Aviation and was Member of the preceding programs Clean Sky and Clean Sky 2.


In the AMBER (InnovAtive DeMonstrator for hyBrid-Electric Regional Application) project, around 20 partners of consortium leader Avio Aero S.R.L. are developing a turboprop propulsion system that is supported by an electric motor which draws its power from a fuel cell. The aim is to reduce consumption during a typical regional flight by at least 50 percent compared to current propulsion concepts. Fraunhofer IISB is involved in the development and testing of the drive train.


The aim of Clean Aviation’s project CONCERTO (Construction Of Novel CERTification methOds and means of compliance for disruptive technologies) is to provide a comprehensive set of rules for the certification of innovative products in order to improve safety on the one hand and to bring new products to market and into operation faster on the other. Dassault Aviation is leading the consortium of more than 30 partners, in which the Fraunhofer IISB is responsible for battery system safety.


The FASTER-H2 project (Fuselage, Rear Fuselage and Empennage with Cabin and Cargo Architecture Solution Validation and Technologies for H2 Integration) is developing the architecture of an ultra-efficient, hydrogen-powered short- and medium-haul aircraft. Airbus Operations GmbH coordinates the project with more than 30 partners. The Fraunhofer Institutes IMWS and ICT are working on a new generation of sustainable rudder structure based on thermoplastic materials including life cycle analyses.


The main goal of the H2ELIOS project (HydrogEn Lightweight & Innovative tank for zerO-emisSion aircraft) is to develop aviation-suitable tank systems for liquid hydrogen from the most sustainable materials possible. To save weight, the tank shall be able to be seamlessly integrated into the primary structure of the aircraft. The project with 14 partners is coordinated by Aciturri Engineering SL. Fraunhofer ENAS is developing suitable hydrogen sensors as part of the safety concept.


A hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion system requires very high electrical power. The goal of the HECATE (Hybrid ElectriC regional Aircraft distribution Technologies) project is to develop a high-voltage distribution technology and validate it in ground tests. The consortium comprising 36 partners is led by Collins Aerospace Ireland Ltd. The Fraunhofer Institutes IISB and ENAS are developing a lightweight high-performance ceramic-based module, among other things.


HERA (Hybrid-Electric Regional Architecture) will develop the key architectures of environmentally friendly regional aircraft. The HERA aircraft will include hybrid-electric propulsion based on batteries or fuel cells as energy sources supported by sustainable aviation fuels or hydrogen burning. The goal is to reach 90 % lower emissions. The consortium of 48 partners, including Fraunhofer Institutes ICT (ecoDESIGN) and IISB (power electronics), is led by Leonardo S.p.A..


The HERWINGT project (Hybrid Electric Regional Wing Integration Novel Green Technologies) focuses on the development of lighter wings with better aerodynamics for hybrid-electric regional aircraft. Higher integrated systems, new materials and technologies aim at a weight reduction of 20 percent. The consortium leader of the project with more than 25 partners is Airbus Defence and Space SA (ES). Fraunhofer IKTS is developing the data acquisition system for structural health monitoring. 


The HyPoTraDe (Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Power Train Demonstration) project focuses on the development of safe and reliable architectures for a modular high-performance electric powertrain that uses fuel cells and batteries as energy sources. The coordinator of the project with five partners is Pipistrel Vertical Solutions DOO. Fraunhofer IISB is responsible for significant parts of the development and testing of the powertrain.


The NEWBORN project (NExt generation high poWer fuel cells for airBORNe applications) aims at developing the technological basis for aviation fuel cells with outputs up to the megawatt range. The project’s goal is to achieve a propulsion system efficiency of 50% by 2026. NEWBORN is coordinated by Honeywell International SRO and comprises 18 partners, including the Fraunhofer Institutes ICT, ENAS and IISB, which is work package leader for the high voltage power distribution system.


The Clean Aviation SMR-ACAP project (Small and Medium Range AirCraft Architecture and technology integration Project) merges the results of its systems related development work with those coming from other projects and evaluates their combined potential to reduce, by 2035, greenhouse gas emissions from SMR aircraft by 30 percent compared to 2020 state-of-the-art. Airbus Operations GmbH is the consortium leader of the project with a total of around 25 partners. Fraunhofer ICT is contributing its expertise in the field of ecoDESIGN.


Regional and short to medium-range aircraft with hybrid electric power and propulsion systems generate excess heat, rising onboard thermal management needs from around 50 kW to the range of 1000 kW. In the project TheMa4HERA (Thermal Management for the Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft) a consortium of more than 20 partners led by Honeywell International SRO develops and tests innovative technologies for thermal management handling and heat dissipation. Fraunhofer participants are IISB and IBP.


The EU-funded UP Wing project will develop key technologies for ultra-efficient short/medium-range aircrafts. Specifically, it will integrate ultra-performance wing concepts with the aim of contributing to a fuel burn reduction at aircraft level of 30 % compared to a state-of-the-art short / medium-haul aircraft. The interdisciplinary consortium consists of airframe integrators, industry, research establishments, and academia. The Fraunhofer institutes IFAM, LBF, and EMI contribute with their expertise on surface technology, actuators, and simulation.

Clean Sky 2

The European public-private partnership aviation research program "Clean Sky 2" aimed at higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions to make aviation more environmentally friendly. As with its predecessor program "Clean Sky", Fraunhofer was a founding member of this central innovation platform.


The Airframe project aimed at reducing the environmental impact of air traffic by developing and integrating new materials, new manufacturing methods and structural technologies as well as innovative control and drive architectures. The development focused on optimizing aerodynamics, weight, costs and the impact during the life cycle of the components. The project comprises more than 130 partners including the Fraunhofer Institutes EMI, ENAS, IBP, ICT, IFAM, IGCV, IGD, IPA, IWM and LBF.


The Eco-Design Transversal Activity (eco TA) led by Fraunhofer followed the overall "cradle-to-cradle" approach for the development, manufacture, maintenance, and recycling of aircraft components. The project evaluated materials, processes and resources using a comprehensive life cycle assessment, thus making an important contribution to the sustainable design of tomorrow's aviation (ecoDESIGN®). The Fraunhofer Institutes IBP, ICT, IGD, IISB, ILT, IML, IPT, ISI and LBF contributed to eco TA.


Reducing the ecological footprint plays a decisive role in the development of next generation aircraft engines. This requires a high degree of innovation and new engine concepts. Together with around 70 partners, the Fraunhofer Institutes IPT, ICT and ILT worked on developing new technologies and systems that are more environmentally sustainable not only during flight operations but in all life cycle phases. This includes advanced manufacturing processes, repair- and recycling-scenarios.

Large Passenger Aircraft

Large Passenger Aircraft carry more than 100 passengers or an equivalent cargo loading across short-, medium- and long-haul distances. Together with around 150 partners, the Fraunhofer Institutes EMI, ENAS, IBP, IFAM, IGCV, IWS, and LBF engaged in further maturing technologies developed in Clean Sky 1 and integrating new, innovative technologies such as a multi-functional fuselage demonstrator made of thermoplastics and new assembly processes for future aircraft.

Regional Aircraft

At the center of the project Regional Aircraft were tree ground-based and two flying demonstrators. Their task was to further mature technologies developed in Clean Sky 1 as well as new technologies and methods so that they meet the high demands requested of future, highly efficient regional aircraft. In this project comprising around 30 partners the Fraunhofer Institutes ENAS, IBP, IISB and IKTS were engaged. Regional cooperated closely with the Systems, Airframe and ecoDESIGN projects.