These Emerging Aerospace Technologies Are Going to Soar In The Coming Years
New aviation technologies are helping aircraft become more environmentally friendly and economically efficient.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel
The sustainable aviation fuel market was valued at $66M in 2020 and is expected to grow to $15.3B by 2030 at a CAGR of 72.4%. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is produced from sustainable resources like non-fossil CO2. The aviation industry is looking to both reduce emissions to meet regulatory standards and expand commercial fleets to meet the rising demand for air travel. SAF is a feasible solution in mitigating negative environmental impacts and keeping up with demand.
Production of SAF can be obstructed because the resources that provide raw materials — oil crops, sugar crops, algae, etc, — are in limited supply. SAF is also more expensive than traditional aircraft petroleum because production capacity is fairly limited, especially given that SAF is produced on a contract basis. New capital being used to construct factories and improve infrastructure will take time to develop which is also causing higher prices in the short term.
Currently, investors’ willingness to invest is low because alternative fueling methods, like kerosene, are much cheaper than SAF. Even so, SAF prices are expected to be competitive by 2050, and if governments make ambitious investments as they claim, SAF could become a competitive energy source by 2030.
Structural Health Monitoring
The structural health monitoring market was valued at $1.95B in 2020 and is expected to grow to $2.9B in 2025 at a CAGR of 14.1%. Structural health monitoring (SHM) is an emerging technology that allows for a process of load monitoring and damage detection. Demand for SHM is primarily driven by the automation and standardization of maintenance and repair procedures. North America is expected to dominate the SHM market, with a focus specifically on civil infrastructure and aircraft.
Limiting factors to SHM growth are its high installation and monitoring costs and the requirement for skilled operators to install SHM services. Although SHM helps save costs in the long term, the advanced sensors and software used to build an SHM solution make them an expensive option. Additionally, the bespoke nature of SHM implementations means that highly skilled technicians are required to actually build SHM systems. The lack of skilled labor and high labor costs further increase costs and decrease availability. However, because aircraft are less diverse than traditional infrastructure, a solution for one aircraft can be applied to an entire fleet. This could allow for more feasible growth and adoption of SHM technology for aircraft.
The aviation blockchain market was valued at $421M in 2019 and is expected to grow to $1.4B by 2025 at a CAGR of 22.1%. Today, critical information about aircraft is collected manually — a time-consuming process that leaves wide margins for error. Blockchain in aviation offers solutions that can record whenever a part is installed or removed from an airplane, how long a part was in service, as well as the credentials, location, and identity of the technician who worked on the aircraft. Aviation blockchain technology can help reduce costs related to maintenance, increase the value of planes in the secondary market, and improve worker productivity.
A number of airlines are adopting Blockchain technologies. Air France, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines have all adopted blockchain technologies for a variety of use-cases from improving customer experience to managing take-off and landing slots.