Electric flights from Twente Airport and more dreams for making aviation more sustainable

How do we make aviation more sustainable? What challenges will we face? These questions and more took centre stage during Campus Café, where several sustainable aviation experts in Twente updated each other on the current playing field and the route ahead for a great result in the region and the rest of the world. Read on for a report on this edition of the discussion café.

The situation in Twente

“The region is known for aerospace components and materials”, says Robbert Jan Kooi. He works at OostNL, the development agency of the Eastern Netherlands, and starts today's five presentations. His is about aviation in Twente and the opportunities that exist for the future. “Corona turned everything on its head. Sustainability now has a more important place in aviation development.”

He sees opportunities for electric flying in the region. Many in the room nod in agreement. “Not for long distances, but for shorter ones. Just draw a circle between 200 to 500 kilometres around Enschede and look at how many cities and regional airports we can reach. These aeroplanes would not be the size of a Boeing but more like a flying bus. The Eastern Netherlands can take a leading role in making electric flying a reality for the Netherlands."

Flying lighter is more sustainable

Sebastiaan Wijskamp from the Thermoplastics composites Research Centre (TPRC) talks about weight reduction in aeroplanes through the use of thermoplastic composites, how it works and the developments the research centre has made in recent years. “We see a steadily growing demand for sustainability from our partners and customers. But it is an issue that we cannot solve alone. We need all stakeholders for that.”

Hydrogen as fuel

Electric or battery-powered flying is not the only option; there has been a lot of research into using hydrogen as fuel. Machine factory Boessenkool mainly uses it to develop and test their drones. Eelco Osse of Boessenkool: “You can fly with it for a long time. We can fly our hydrogen-powered drone for 11 hours straight now. Of course, many side issues still need solving, such as the high costs, but flying for a long time is possible, which significantly increases the number of things it can be used for.”

But Osse is sceptical too. Testing in practice is difficult. “Finding locations where testing is allowed is difficult. Laws and regulations lag behind what is already possible. This hinders further development.”

Combination of innovations necessary

Geert Boosten of the Dutch Electric Aviation Centre uses charts to show the development in aviation again. “Having electric flying or hydrogen-powered flying or lighter aeroplanes alone is not enough. We need a combination of all three. We need innovation and efficiency to help the aviation industry and the world. We expect people to start using aviation more because many still want to travel, which will increase CO2 emissions. That’s why continued development is necessary. At the same time, we should not forget that we also need to develop charging capabilities, certification and training, laws and regulations and new types of air traffic management. All so that it will be possible to use our developed innovations in the future.”

No more flight shame

The evening concludes with an enthusiastic presentation from the E-Flight Academy. Merlijn van Vliet and his associate flew an electric plane from Teuge to the meeting in Enschede. “Coming to work like this today was crazy”, laughs Van Vliet, owner of his own electric flight school. In his own words: the first and only one in the world. “We believe in electric flying. Flying without flight shame is possible. There is an increasing demand for it. The discussion around Sinterklaas's sunken steamship and having a plane as a substitute means of transport makes it clear that this is an actual theme.”

About Campus Café

Twente’s innovation community comes together at Campus Café meetings. Why? To brainstorm about new technologies, innovative and international entrepreneurship and binding talent.

Want to know when the next event is? Keep an eye on our events calendar.

Date: 8 December 2022 |

Source of tekst: Campus Café |

Author: Wendy Kloezeman

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