ARCHIVED - NRC Aerospace goes green

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January 08, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario

NRC Aerospace has launched an ambitious new research direction to help the Canadian aerospace sector compete internationally on the basis of environmental responsibility. The "Green Initiative" is the linchpin in NRC's strategic plan for this sector.

Under this initiative, NRC Aerospace in partnership with other NRC facilities will work on nanotube composite materials, eco-friendly advanced coatings, alternative fuels, noise and emissions reduction technologies, green manufacturing processes, and other environmentally sustainable products and processes. "In our Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre in Montréal, for example, we're looking for machining processes that use up to 90 percent less machining fluid as a way of reducing the industry's environmental footprint," says NRC Aerospace Director General Jerzy Komorowski.

With the new Green Initiative, NRC researchers will tackle environmental issues such as aircraft noise and emissions.
With the new Green Initiative, NRC researchers will tackle environmental issues such as aircraft noise and emissions.

Why go green? "For decades, safety, weight and cost have been the primary concerns in the aerospace industry," he explains. "Now there's a fourth driver — the environment — as the industry scrambles to meet imminent, more stringent environmental regulations. At the Paris Air show in June 2007, the talk was all 'green' for the first time in aviation history."

Did you know?

Canada's aerospace industry is the world's fourth largest — surpassed only by the United States, United Kingdom and France. The sector produces almost $22 billion in annual revenue, accounting for about two percent of Canada's GDP. It employs some 75,000 highly skilled professionals in more than 400 companies.

According to Komorowski, NRC laboratories are uniquely positioned to "rally around" environmental issues, while continuing to help the aerospace industry compete over safety, weight and cost concerns. "Biofuels research is a good example of how almost every NRC institute can work toward a high level goal that addresses big issues for society at large," he says.

"For example, marine and land-based plants are both considered potential sources of biomass from which new aerospace fuels could be manufactured," says Komorowski. "Our biology institutes can give a competitive advantage to the people who will grow or harvest the plants, while our biotechnology institute can help the people who will transform these plants into fuel. Our materials researchers can then develop new coatings or materials and our engineers can come up with new gas turbine engine designs."

"So at every level of the supply chain, NRC can help different sectors of Canadian industry become more competitive," concludes Komorowski. "Our ultimate goal, of course, is to help the aerospace industry, which is so important to Canada."

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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