Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aircraft with novel propulsion concepts : analysis of environmental and economic impacts
Technological transitions of aircraft propulsion concepts are a key strategy for reducing the environmental impacts of air travel. Using battery-electric and fuel cell-based powertrains can avoid climate-damaging CO2 and non-CO2 emissions from kerosene combustion in conventional jet engines. However, the long service life of aircraft requires extensive maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) processes of the powertrain. The main components of novel powertrain concepts (e.g., batteries, fuel cells, and electric motors) might require more frequent replacements than conventional powertrain components, leading to negative impacts on sustainability. Therefore, this article analyzes the environmental and economic impacts of novel powertrain concepts associated with their MRO. For this purpose, the aging behavior of the main components is analyzed, and replacement times are determined. Using life cycle assessment and life cycle costing, the MRO-related impacts of novel powertrain concepts are investigated and compared to those of conventional jet engines. The analysis shows that batteries, fuel cells, and electric motors must be replaced more often than conventional jet engines. In addition, the replacement frequency of batteries and fuel cells results in higher environmental impacts than conventional jet engines.
Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO)
Battery, Fuel cell
Life cycle sustainability assessment