Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

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NETWORK LEGACY: Green Aviation Research and Development Network - GARDN

Funded 2009-21

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Green Aviation Research and Development Network

NCE contributions
$26.4 million

Montréal, Quebec

Greening Canada's aircraft to compete globally

In 2015, Canada’s aerospace industry created 211,000 jobs and contributed more than $28 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. To remain competitive in this critical export market, Canadian manufacturers need to produce aircraft that meet tough new environmental rules in Europe and many other countries. In 2009, Canada’s major aerospace companies joined forces with suppliers, customers, and university and government researchers to develop lighter materials, alternative fuels and quieter engines for a new generation of greener airplanes, engines and avionic systems that will enter into service by 2025.

The Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) was an industry-led consortium of 40 public and private sector partners, including industry heavyweights like Bombardier Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Esterline CMC Electronics and Bell Helicopter Textron Canada. GARDN targeted the “valley of death” in the innovation supply chain, which includes prototyping, testing and demonstrating early-stage, pre-competitive research on next-generation aircraft, engines and avionics systems. During its first phase (2009-2014), GARDN’s research program supported 17 projects related to emissions reduction, noise reduction, aircraft operations, airport operations, alternative fuels, life cycle management, and materials and manufacturing processes. The network’s research program was refocused for its second phase around three main research thrusts: clean, quiet and sustainable air transportation systems. Sixteen projects have been selected.

Among the results

  • Two GARDN projects were key to a new collaboration between Esterline CMC Electronics and Ukrainian company Antonov. CMC will offer its CMA-9000 Flight Management System with its displays and GPS on a number of Antonov aircraft. The optimized vertical profiles minimize fuel burn, directly reducing CO2 and NOx emissions while saving the end customer both time and money.
  • In 2015, GARDN funded a project to advance the development of Canada’s considerable forest residues as a feedstock for jet biofuel production through thermochemical processing. The project aimed to reduce aviation emissions, preserve supply security and establish more stable pricing.
  • A GARDN project led by LTA Aerostructures and École de technologie supérieure developed integrated electric propulsion systems for airships to ensure that constituent technology components are both commercially and operationally viable, meet certification requirements and can be supported throughout their expected operational life in a cost effective way.
  • Projects funded in GARDN’s first phase led to Canada’s first commercial flight powered by biofuel and the world’s first civilian jet powered by 100% pure biofuel.