Boeing and China’s Comac have agreed to expand their collaboration in the field of so-called sustainable growth of commercial aviation. The agreement, signed Tuesday during the Zhuhai Airshow, builds on an initial agreement signed in March 2012, under which they’ve engaged in research on improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in areas such as biofuel research and air traffic management efficiency. Under the new agreement, the companies will concentrate on six areas of research through the renamed Boeing-Comac Sustainable Aviation Technology Center.
The six areas of research encompass further collaboration on technologies dedicated to sustainable aviation fuel; ATM technologies and applications; environmentally sustainable manufacturing, including recycling of materials; technologies aimed at creating an environment in aircraft cabins more suitable for aging populations; adopting new standards in energy conservation and emissions reduction; and workplace safety improvements during cabin and ground operations.
Under the terms of both the 2012 agreement and the most recent pact, Boeing and Comac will jointly select and fund research by China-based universities and research institutions. The initial agreement created the Boeing-Comac Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions (AECER) Technology Center, where the companies have conducted 17 research projects leading to an aviation biofuel demonstration facility that turns waste “gutter oil” into jet fuel and three ATM software prototype systems. Twelve domestic and international research partners now participate in the center’s activities.
“The two companies have enhanced mutual trust and understanding during five years of working together,” said Comac vice president Wu Guanghui. “The agreement signed today extends and will bring our cooperation to a new level, enabling the two companies to leverage their own advantages for win-win results that can benefit not only China, but also the rest of world.”
Separately, Boeing and Comac continue to advance plans revealed last year to open a joint venture facility in Zhoushan, China, to install interiors and paint 737s before delivery to Chinese customers. The timing of the plant’s opening and first deliveries remain subject to final agreements with the Chinese government and Comac.
The Chinese government has identified Zhoushan and the region as a “focus area” for development in its 13th Five-Year Plan. The city has an existing shipbuilding industry and a port suitable to support the new operation, as well as low airport congestion and airspace availability.