The Lufthansa fleet of freight planes will be equipped, from 2022, with a coating imitating the skin of a shark to make its planes less fuel-intensive, the German company announced on Monday.
This innovation is the result of a partnership between Lufthansa Technik, the company's maintenance subsidiary, and chemicals giant BASF, according to a statement.
Inspired by nature: Together with @BASF, we bring sharkskin technology to @ Lufthansa_Cargo's entire freighter fleet.
800 square meters of our riblet films will help reduce their 777F's carbon footprint by almost 11,700 tons per year.
More: https://t.co/bnKLULYTBv #keepyouflying pic.twitter.com/Ybw3rehgsg
- Lufthansa Technik (@LHTechnik) May 3, 2021
3.7 thousand tonnes of kerosene less each year
The coating applied to part of the aircraft fuselage will consist of ribs of approximately 50 micrometers (50 millionths of a meter) which reduce resistance and improve aerodynamics.
This property is also that of the microgrooves in the skin of sharks that researchers and industrialists have been studying for many years.
This varnish will equip a portion of the surface of Lufthansa Cargo planes which will include ten Boeing 777Fs by 2022. The company thus wants to reduce their fuel consumption and their CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
Thanks to a reduction in friction "of more than 1%", Lufthansa expects annual savings of 3.7 thousand tonnes of kerosene, representing almost 11.7 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Lufthansa wants to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030
By way of comparison, the Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary emitted 3,934 thousand tonnes of CO2 in 2020, indicates the company's environmental report.
This figure is itself down 38% over one year as the aircraft fleet has been reduced by more than a third during the crisis linked to the Covid-19 virus.
Lufthansa Technik and BASF intend to expand their new technology to other types of aircraft "so that they can further support airlines around the world in meeting their emissions targets," the statement said. .
The Lufthansa Group has set itself the goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. The aviation industry has been working on sharkskin technology for decades to save fuel.
During the test phase, several planes have already flown equipped with this special varnish.
Researchers convert CO2 into fuel for airplanes
CO2 emissions from air transport fell by more than 50% in 2020 in Europe