SUMAFly – SUstainability Modeling and Analysis of Future aircraft systems

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)

Duration: From 2019 to 2022


Project Description

The project „SUMAFly – SUstainability Modeling and Analysis of Future aircraft systems“ is part of the Cluster of Excellence „SE²A – Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Aviation“. As an interdisciplinary research center of the Technische Universität Braunschweig, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) and the University of Art Braunschweig (HBK), it is the objective of SE²A the investigation of new technologies for a sustainable and energy efficient air transport system.

SUMAFly focuses on the development and application of life cycle engineering methodologies for the life cycle-oriented sustainability assessment of future aircraft systems. In particular, the energy carrier, storage, and supply systems used in novel propulsion concepts, such as lithium-ion batteries or fuel cells, are considered. The systematic modeling of material, energy, and capital flows within the entire life cycle of an aircraft lays the foundations for the assessment of environmental, economic, and social sustainability. It supports decision making concerning the design of future aircraft systems in the early stages of the development process. 




Project Partners

  • Technische Universität Braunschweig
    • Institute of Automotive Management and Industrial Production (AIP)
    • Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology (IWF)   


Initial Situation and Problem

The aviation sector faces major environmental and economic challenges. In order to protect the climate and to reduce emissions, the development of new technologies is crucial. Therefore, alternative propulsion systems in combination with innovative energy storage and supply systems as well as alternative fuels are developed.

These new aircraft systems have significantly different impacts during the individual stages of their life cycle. For example, climate-damaging emissions can be reduced during the use stage, but other impacts related to energy supply as well as aircraft production and decommissioning may arise. These must be taken into account when assessing sustainability. For a holistic sustainability assessment, economic and social as well as environmental aspects must be taken into account. This calls for a systematic modelling of various aircraft systems.


Objective and Approach

The objective of the project is the development of methods for life cycle-oriented sustainability assessment of alternative aircraft systems. To this end, the material, energy and capital flows of innovative energy storage and supply systems as well as alternative fuels are modelled systematically in all stages of the life cycle.

SUMAFly seeks to lay the foundations for a holistic assessment of ecological, economic and social sustainability in accordance with the "triple bottom line" concept and thus supporting decisions regarding the design of future aircraft in early stages of the development process.

The AIP focuses the economic and social aspects of sustainability. In cooperation with the IWF, which focuses the ecological aspects, a life cycle engineering tool for a multidimensional sustainability assessment is developed.