on-demand webinar

Sustainability in aviation

A system of systems approach to sustainable industrial aviation

Estimated Watching Time: 61 minutes


A glider in the grass represents emerging   opportunity and innovation propelling the future of sustainable aviation.

The flight plan for this webinar includes a look at a systems of systems approach to sustainable industrial aviation. This on-demand webinar is an Aviation Week Network webinar we sponsored. Balancing Sustainability Demands in the Aviation Industry features our vice president for aerospace and defense strategy, Todd Tuthill, discussing the need for sustainability, sustainability initiatives and sustainable innovation. Watch to learn how a digital twin helps you prepare for product development complexities and sustainable solutions in aviation – from design through service.

Importance of sustainability in aviation

Current sustainability trends impacting the aviation industry include the push for sustainable energy, resource scarcity and the circular economy and customer demands for more sustainable products. Climate change concerns are an important factor. Commercial aviation accounts for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It could increase to 20% by 2050 without major intervention.

Many industry initiatives have been announced to achieve net zero by 2050, to become carbon neutral or climate neutral. To achieve this, the commercial aviation sector, defense aircraft and the space industry have many challenges. As a result, these initiatives are fostering a lot of innovation in aerospace and defense.

Aviation sustainability technology

Todd talks about aviation sustainability technology such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Replacing fossil fuels with SAF, plant-derived fuels, doesn’t eliminate carbon production, because the fuels are still burned in flight. However, an advantage of SAF is that the growth of the plants absorbs carbon to offset carbon produced by engines. SAF could lead to an 80% reduction in carbon production over use of fossil fuels, but the cost and production challenges are limiting factors.

The promise and challenges of other sustainable technologies presented in this webinar include those related to:

  • 100% electric aircraft
  • Hybrid-electric regional aircraft
  • Ultra-efficient aircraft
  • Hydrogen-powered aircraft

Digital twin sustainability in the aerospace industry

These innovative technologies offer great promise in the move to sustainability, but we just aren’t there yet. So, what can we do?

It comes down to innovation. We need different ways to think about development processes. Digital twins and digital threads enable the move toward sustainability in the aerospace industry. The way we’ve developed aircraft, the way the aircraft industry has worked over the past several decades, what got us here is not what’s going to advance us in the future, especially in the face of very significant technical challenges.

A digital twin is a digital model, a representation of a product or process, of something that you are creating in the real world. The advantage of a digital twin is that you don’t need a supply chain to put it together. You can use a digital twin to model and test and learn very quickly to improve your design to achieve your goals.

Digital threads are combinations of products, solutions and processes that cross boundaries, such as integrated manufacturing. Watch the webinar to learn more.

What is the future of sustainable aviation?

The future of sustainable aviation is not just a hot topic; it is also serious business. Attendees were polled to find out, “Where is your company on sustainability?” The responses indicate a shift toward innovative practices to drive this initiative throughout the aerospace and defense industry:

  • 51% maturing their sustainability strategy
  • 33% trying to figure out what it is all about
  • 16% well into their sustainability transformation

This webinar will be most impactful for you if you are among those maturing your sustainability strategy or trying to figure out what it is all about.

Meet the speaker

Siemens Digital Industries Software

Todd Tuthill

Vice President for Aerospace and Defense Strategy and Marketing

Todd joined Siemens in June of 2022 after more than 30 years in the aerospace and defense industry. His engineering background is in systems design, with functional engineering and program leadership roles, and a strong vision for digital transformation. Todd’s aerospace leadership career spans McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, Moog, Raytheon and Siemens. His experience encompasses all aspects of A&D programs, including design, model-based systems engineering, software engineering, lean product development, supplier/partner management and program management. In his role at Siemens, Todd is a passionate advocate for the advancement of digital transformation across the A&D industry.


Ed Hazelwood
Aviation Week Contributor

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