Embraer Launches A Fleet Of 4 New Sustainable Aircraft Designs

On Monday, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer unveiled four new sustainable aircraft concepts. Meant to enter service over a period of ten years starting in 2030, the regional air travel designs are powered by four different propulsion technologies – hybrid-electric, electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and dual fuel gas turbine. Let’s meet the Energia family.

Embraer Energia family
Embraer introduced its four new sustainable aircraft concepts belonging to the Energia family on Monday. Photo: Embraer

The future of flying

While sustainable propulsion architecture concepts and new types of airframes have been in the works for some time, the pandemic has accelerated everything. Particularly as it applies to the regional air travel market. And while Airbus and Boeing often get the lion’s share of the press, regional aircraft specialist Embraer is also proving a force to be reckoned with in the race to net-zero.

On Monday, the manufacturer’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Technology Development and Corporate Strategy, Luis Carlos Affonso, took to the stage at the company’s headquarters in São José dos Campos in the state of São Paulo. He introduced the audience to not one but four new aircraft concepts to be developed by Embraer over the coming decades.

To learn even more about these innovations and concepts, be sure to join Simple Flying’s Managing Editor Joanna Bailey as she speaks to Embraer’s President and CEO, Arjan Meijer, on Day 2 of our Future Flying Forum this week.

Embraer Launches A Fleet Of 4 New Sustainable Aircraft Designs
Different technologies power the four aircraft. Photo: Embraer

Energia Hybrid

First in the pipeline is Embraer’s nine-seater hybrid-electric concept, the E9-HE. The nine-seater aircraft will rely on one piston engine and two electric motors. The electric motors will operate during take-off and climbing. However, once the plane reaches its cruising altitude, they will switch off, leaving the piston engine to operate at 50% more efficiency compared to today’s jet turbines.

The engines and propellers on all of Embraer’s new concepts are positioned at the back of the airframe. For the Energia Hybrid, this entails noise reduction of up to 60%. Energia Hybrid will emit up to 90% less CO2 emissions when powered solely by sustainable aviation fuels. It will have a range of 500NM, and Embraer expects it to enter service by 2030.

Embraer Energia Hybrid
First out of the gate will be the Energia Hybrid, expected to enter service by 2030. Photo: Embraer

Energia Electric

Meanwhile, planned for service entry by 2035 is Energia Electric or E9-FE. Featuring as many seats as the Hybrid, the aircraft will have a range of 200 NM and be powered by batteries and an electric motor. The batteries will be swappable and located at the nose of the aircraft to allow for quick turnaround times, essential to operator economics. The plane will achieve up to 80% reduction in external noise. It will also operate with zero carbon emissions.

Embraer Launches A Fleet Of 4 New Sustainable Aircraft Designs
The Energia Electric has a glider-inspired wing design and will be incredibly quiet. Photo: Embraer

Energia H2 Fuel Cell

Taking it up a notch in size is the E19-H2FC. This 19-seater aircraft will run on hydrogen-electric propulsion. It will start at 200 NM in range, but, as Mr Affonso stated, this can be extended according to the wishes of customers. The technology is expected to be ready by 2035, along with Energia Electric, and will also achieve zero-emission operations. It will also produce 70% less noise compared to today’s aircraft.

Embraer Launches A Fleet Of 4 New Sustainable Aircraft Designs
Embraer’s hydrogen-electric concept will take to the skies in a little over ten years. Photo: Embraer

Energia H2 Gas Turbine

Finally, Embraer expects to have a 35 to 50-seat aircraft powered by hydrogen, 100% SAF, or a combination of SAF and conventional jet fuel. Depending on the proportions of the latter, E50-H2GT could also achieve a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions. This aircraft will have a range of 350 to 500 NM and reduce external noise by 60%.

Unlike its siblings in the Energia family, it will not have an electric motor or a battery. Instead, it will use dual fuel gas turbine propulsion. It can utilize 100% hydrogen on shorter journeys, whereas SAF or conventional jet fuels will power longer routes. Embraer expects to bring the largest of the concepts it unveiled Monday into service by 2040.

Embraer Launches A Fleet Of 4 New Sustainable Aircraft Designs
Embraer’s largest new concept aircraft can be powered by hydrogen or SAF. Photo: Embraer

Embraer intends to have all its aircraft certified for SAF compatibility by 2030. In August, the manufacturer debuted its Electric Demonstrator, a single-engine EMB-203 Ipanema, 100% electricity-powered. Furthermore, the planemaker has scheduled a hydrogen fuel-cell demonstration flight for 2025, and its fully electric, zero-emissions eVTOL will enter service by 2026.

What do you think of Embraer’s new concept aircraft? Which one would you be most excited to fly on? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.