Maurilio Albanese Novaes
Chief Technology Officer
Embraer
/
View from the Top

Sustainably Disrupting How People Fly Now, and in the Future

By Sofía Hanna | Thu, 03/17/2022 - 13:49

Q: How is Embraer helping shape the future of mobility?

A: The aviation sector is facing a huge transformation. The pandemic has accelerated our evolution. Part of that is the global emphasis on climate change. All environmental issues are important to us and we are working on multiple potential solutions, such as electrification, sustainable aviation fuels and hybrid-electric configurations. We believe that every size and mission of aircraft has its own opportunities. We also believe that green hydrogen will contribute greatly to aviation’s green conversion, along with autonomous flight.

In terms of mobility, people are moving from urban centers due to the emergence of the home office, so regional flights will have a keen impact on how we will fly in the future. I do believe that how we will fly will change substantially. There are both challenges and opportunities with that.

Q: How has the product development process changed to incorporate green initiatives?

A: We are in close and constant contact with our clients and they are all concerned with sustainability as it relates to aviation. The inherent process of developing an aircraft is not fast — it takes years from an aircraft’s concept stage to its certification. We consider ESG in all phases of the product’s development, even when the aircraft reaches its end of life. A clear example is our new Energia Family with four concept aircraft that incorporate disruptive innovations. One is a fully electric aircraft with nine seats, another is a hybrid concept, a third uses hydrogen with a fuel cell — so instead of emitting CO2 it just emits water in the end of the process— and we also have a 50-seat aircraft that uses hydrogen combustion in a gas turbine.

We are also considering improvements in our current aircraft portfolio. For instance, the use of 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is also part of our roadmap to ensure cleaner aviation. Our development program considers not only new products, which will be more environmentally friendly, but also how we can use SAF to make our current aircraft and fleet more sustainable. 

Q: What role will the Embraer’s EVE venture play in the development of air mobility?

A: EVE, which was recently valued at US$2 billion, deals not only with the vehicle design but it also develops solutions for urban air traffic management system. The eVTOL vehicle is a fully electric concept capable of short hauls. In the future, as technology and regulations evolve, we want to add autonomous capability to it. The goal is to transform and lead the urban air mobility.

This is not the first time that Embraer is disrupting the market. Our first aircraft represented a significant transformation for aviation world. The ERJ145 disrupted the market as well. It is a part of our DNA to challenge the market and we are very well positioned in this opportunity. Although we have a department of technological innovation, I always say innovation is not centralized. All the phases of the development are open to innovation and collaboration with partners around the world.

Q: How does your technology development and innovation process impact your order backlog, sales strategies and projections?

A: We have been investing in new technologies and human capital since day one. Our products ‘competitiveness and differentiations are results of innovation and investments in new technologies as well. We believe our new venture EVE will substantially contribute to the future of air mobility and our company’s revenues. We create our business plans considering the sustainability of our business as well.

Q: What does the future look like for Embraer?

A: I do believe that we are in a moment of huge and fast transformations in the aviation sector. Aviation is fundamental for modern society. We need to make it more sustainable and preserving the environment for our future generations.  In this context “partnership” is key. We are not going to do a lot alone. For instance, with electrification, we need partners to accelerate knowledge on batteries, inverters and engines. When considering hydrogen, it is not enough to develop a product that can fly using hydrogen. It is also about infrastructure to support the flights, airports, regulations, the role of the operators, users and so on. It is a challenge for all player of aeronautics ecosystem. Embraer is keen to partnerships, open innovation and interactions with global innovation ecosystems.

 

Embraer is a global aerospace company headquartered in Brazil. It provides aviation services in the commercial, executive, agricultural, defense and security segments. The company designs, develops, manufactures and supports aircraft and systems.

Photo by:   Embraer
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst