How Lufthansa Cargo is Revolutionizing Air Freight with AeroSHARK Technology

Lufthansa Cargo

In a significant stride towards environmental sustainability, Lufthansa Cargo has unveiled its latest achievement: the successful implementation of AeroSHARK technology on another Boeing 777F freighter, which returned to service on October 13. Developed in collaboration between Lufthansa Technik and BASF, AeroSHARK is a cutting-edge functional surface film inspired by shark skin’s microscopic structure.

What is AeroSHARK Technology?

AeroSHARK technology is a biomimetic innovation developed in collaboration with BASF that mimics the skin of sharks to optimize the airflow around the surfaces of long-haul aircraft. The technology involves applying a specialized film with tiny ribbed textures, known as riblets, to the aircraft’s surfaces. These riblets, each about 50 micrometers high, are designed to be aligned with the airflow and strategically applied to reduce friction and improve aerodynamic performance.

Lufthansa Cargo AEROSHARK
Credit- Lufthansa Cargo AEROSHARK

AeroSHARK technology offers several benefits, including:

  1. Fuel Efficiency: By reducing friction and turbulence, the riblet film helps long-haul aircraft achieve significant fuel savings. In the case of the global fleet of long-haul aircraft, it could save close to five million tons of kerosene per year.
  2. Improved Lift: When applied to wings, the riblet film can also enhance lift, contributing to better overall aircraft performance.
  3. Easy Application: The technology is designed to be easily applied to the surfaces of large commercial aircraft, making it practical for use on a wide scale.
  4. Resilience: The riblet film is highly durable and can withstand the challenges of aviation, including temperature shifts, pressure differentials, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation at high altitudes.

In summary, AeroSHARK technology is a biomimetic solution that uses the principles of sharkskin to reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance the efficiency and performance of long-haul aircraft, leading to significant fuel savings and environmental benefits.

Key Highlights:

1. Advancing Fuel Efficiency: AeroSHARK technology mimics shark skin’s texture, effectively reducing aerodynamic drag on the fuselage and engine nacelles of the Boeing 777F. This innovation results in substantial fuel savings and emissions reduction, aligning with Lufthansa Cargo’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

2. Impressive Fuel and Emissions Reductions: By applying AeroSHARK to the entire fleet of 777 freighters, Lufthansa Cargo anticipates fuel savings of approximately one percent per modified freighter. Over the entire 777 fleet, this translates to saving more than 4,000 metric tons of kerosene annually, reducing CO2 emissions by almost 13,000 metric tons. To put it in perspective, this reduction is equivalent to around 53 cargo flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai.

3. Stepping Closer to Carbon Neutrality: Lufthansa Cargo’s commitment to environmental stewardship is evident in their goal to achieve full CO2 neutrality in the air by 2050. The implementation of AeroSHARK technology is a crucial step in this direction, playing a pivotal role in reducing the airline’s carbon footprint.

4. Future Plans and Integration: The successful implementation of AeroSHARK on the latest freighter marks the beginning of a comprehensive plan. By 2027, all 777 Freighters in Lufthansa Cargo’s fleet will be coated with AeroSHARK. Additionally, these modified freighters will be seamlessly integrated into Lufthansa Cargo’s global network of scheduled services, enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of their operations.

Ashwin Bhat, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, emphasized the significance of this achievement, stating, “This is an important step on our way to becoming 100 percent CO2-neutral in the air by 2050.” With this innovative technology, Lufthansa Cargo continues to lead the way in the aviation industry’s sustainable future.

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