The global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market size was worth USD 130 million in 2022. It is anticipated to reach an expected value of USD 357 million by 2031 at a CAGR of 11.9% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
Air pollution is increasing on the international agenda and is extensively identified as a threat to economic progress and public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that annual 4.2 million deaths can be attributed to air pollution. Recently, there have been critical developments in techniques that permit the quantification of air pollution-related indicators to trace growth toward sustainable development goals and that enlarge the evidence base of the effects of air pollution on health. It can be observed that employing electric vehicles such as electric cars and electric aircraft can reduce CO2 emissions by 1.3 gigatons per year. Hence, a steady increase has been observed in the electrification of aircraft systems, research on hydrogen, solar, and electrical propulsion, and investments in electric, hybrid, or hydrogen-based aircraft designs.
Moreover, governments are also investing a significant amount of their resources in developing high-speed propulsion system designs such as ramjet and scramjet propulsion systems. High-speed aircraft use air-breathing ramjet and scramjet engines to hover at extremely high speeds. Moreover, due to the excessive rates, the aircraft's surface reaches severe temperatures, which conventional materials cannot withstand; hence, exotic materials such as titanium or ceramic are utilized for making the surface of these vehicles. Achieving high speeds using these propulsion systems means traveling to any two points in the world would take significantly less time.
Over the years, military and commercial players have shown great interest in developing ramjet and scramjet engines to increase operational efficiency cost-effectively. These engines have been specifically designed to allow the aircraft to gain speeds more significant than the speed of sound. Ramjet enables supersonic speeds (> speed of sound (Mach 1)), while scramjet enables hypersonic speed (>Mach 5). Countries like the U.S., China, and Russia are pioneers in developing these high-speed propulsion systems.
Commercial hypersonic aircraft enables individuals to travel from any two points in the world in less than an hour. After the retirement of the supersonic airliner Concorde (whose maximum speed is Mach 2.04), companies are trying to develop a hypersonic airliner that travels with a speed more than five times the speed of sound. Moreover, these airplanes would travel 90,000 to 100,000 feet, much higher than current airplanes that travel 35,000 feet. With innovations in advanced materials, guidance, and control systems, a hypersonic airliner is poised to launch by 2030.
Furthermore, the airplane might switch between virtual and real windows to improve the fuselage. Advanced high-resolution cameras mounted on the airplane's exterior would send video to the virtual windows, recreating the exterior environment. Companies such as HyperMach Aerospace Industries, Lockheed Martin, Reaction Engines Limited, Airbus, Boeing, and SpaceX aim to develop a hypersonic commercial airline.
Vehicles are a significant source of air pollution, which includes particulate matter, ozone, and other smog-forming emissions. The practical means responsible for this elevated air pollution in the transport sector include light-duty vehicles, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, aircraft, ships and boats, and rail. Aircraft are a rapidly rising emissions source within the transportation sector. In 2018, aircraft pollution was accountable for about 3% of total U.S. CO2 emissions and nearly 9% of greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. transportation sector. Commercial aircraft reported the most carbon dioxide emissions in aircraft pollution, with general and military aviation making up the rest.
According to the IATA, the number of aircraft passengers is estimated to double to 8.2 billion by 2037. The hypermobility of air travel is accessible to more people worldwide, with significant growth in aviation predicted for developing nations and a sustained increase in the established aviation markets of developed countries. While the collective usage of automobiles, electricity production, and the agriculture and industrial sectors each surpasses the climate change impact of commercial aviation, commercial air travel is producing the uppermost and quickest growth of individual emissions, despite a substantial development efficiency of aircraft operations over the last 60 years. To reduce the emission of these hazardous pollutants, companies are researching electric systems which can eliminate dangerous components such as CO2, NOX, PM25, and O3 from the air.
Adoption of next-gen aircraft propulsion systems comes with significant benefits, but there are also a few challenges that the current market is facing, primarily for electric-powered aircraft. One of the key obstacles to the electric aircraft is the power-to-weight ratio of the motors and batteries, which are required to replace a conventional kerosene-powered engine. The likely possibilities of several battery chemistries are being researched, with Li-O2 currently in focus. However, an all-electric system requires batteries with a far greater energy density than those now available to match power requirements without increasing additional weight to the aircraft.
Moreover, electric motors pose another obstacle in this configuration. High-power density electric motors are crucial to translate the electrical energy supplied by batteries into thrust for take-off and hover. A commercial aircraft requires electric motors, which can deliver power between 2-50 MW, but currently, no aircraft electric motor can provide that kind of power. Using a hybrid-electric propulsion system, Siemens is developing a 50 kg electric motor that can deliver a continuous power output of approximately 260 kW. Hence, a significant innovation gap exists in building a next-gen all-electric propulsion system.
Governments worldwide are constantly working on decreasing pollution by implementing new schemes and launching eco-friendly systems. As aviation is one of the primary sources of pollution, there are many proposals to upgrade the propulsion systems of aircraft to enable eco-friendly air travel. One of the most popular proposals is upgrading the current propulsion systems to electric ones. The electric propulsion system has enormous benefits compared to conventional propulsion; however, traditional electric propulsion uses batteries, which are heavy and have a limited range, making it challenging to adopt electric propulsion in large and general aviation. So, companies started researching alternative power sources such as hydrogen and solar to promote eco-friendly air travel.
Another alternative power source is solar. Solar-powered aircraft with solar cells on its wing collect energy from the sun to distribute power to various systems such as the propulsion system and the control electronics. It also charges the battery with a surplus of solar energy. At night, the energy stored in the battery discharges slowly until the new cycle starts. Governments, aviation companies, and solar equipment providers are constantly working on developing experimental solar-powered aircraft, which can reduce 90-95% of the carbon emissions when compared to carbon emissions emitted by conventional aircraft. Solar Impulse, manufactured by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and NASA's Pathfinder series aircraft, are famous solar-powered aircraft currently in operation.
The global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market is bifurcated by technology, propulsion types, end-users, and component.
Based on end users, the global market is segmented into military, commercial and civil, and government.
The commercial and civil segment is expected to lead the global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18.4% during the forecast period. The commercial and civil industry is undergoing significant growth, owing to the widespread use of aircraft for several applications. Moreover, the increasing deployment of UAVs in applications such as mapping, surveying, and inspection, by several companies is expected to drive the demand for next-gen aircraft propulsion systems. Moreover, the fast-paced developments in urban air mobility also lead to advancements in next-gen aircraft propulsion systems. As governments worldwide are implementing eco-friendly schemes to reduce pollution, next-gen aircraft propulsion systems such as electric, hydrogen, and solar can significantly reduce the harmful emissions released due to air travel.
By propulsion system, the global market can be segmented into all-electric propulsion, hybrid-electric propulsion, turboelectric propulsion, ramjet and scramjet, hydrogen propulsion, and solar propulsion.
All-electric propulsion segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 18.5% during the forecast period. All-electric propulsion system employs batteries as the single source of propulsion power on the aircraft. This propulsion system does not emit harmful components into the air, reducing the pollution levels raised due to air travel. For instance, Europe's Flightpath 2050 vision includes a clean sky with reduced pollution levels. The objectives of Flightpath 2050 include a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 90% reduction in NOx, and a 65% reduction in aircraft noise. Moreover, the all-electric propulsion system is robust and needs less maintenance. Additionally, smart electronic management makes aircraft more compatible with modern digital technologies, enabling data to be gathered and analyzed for superior automation, optimized flight, and improved failure prediction and control.
By component, the global market can be segmented into electrical storage systems, power generation, power distribution, power conversion, and others.
Power generation is expected to lead the global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.3% during the forecast period. Power generation is the primary system that is currently being modified for eco-friendly and high-speed air travel. A hybrid-electric propulsion aircraft uses a turbogenerator as a power generation system. A turbo generator consists of a gas turbine and a generator, which are mechanically connected. The gas turbine drives a generator to produce electrical power. Moreover, hydrogen combustion propulsion, turboelectric propulsion, and different types use a gas turbine to generate power.
Based on region, the global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America dominated the global surgical instrument tracking devices market and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 18.7% during the forecast period. North America comprises regional markets of the U.S. and Canada. The demand for the next-gen aircraft propulsion system is comparatively new and evolving at a constant pace. The research and development of next-gen aircraft in the region are growing significantly, which is expected to raise the demand for next-gen aircraft propulsion systems in the coming years. Therefore, to attain the maximum share in this region, many major next-gen aircraft propulsion system manufacturers invest significant resources in developing a highly efficient propulsion system. The well-developed infrastructure for communication, aviation, and information and communication technology (ICT) and higher demand for next-gen aircraft provide a robust platform for the growth of the next-gen aircraft propulsion system market. Companies in the U.S. and Canada are significantly increasing their investment in aircraft propulsion technologies to reduce harmful emissions caused by conventional engines.
Asia Pacific is the second largest region. It is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 17.3% during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific comprises regional markets of China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and India. The Asia-Pacific region contributes significantly to the global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market. The Asia-Pacific next-gen aircraft propulsion system market is mainly dominated by South Asian countries comprising some of the biggest aviation markets in the world. Asia-Pacific countries are keen to reduce carbon emissions by implementing several policies to promote eco-friendly technologies. Furthermore, several Asian-Pacific countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
Europe is the third largest region. Europe has manufacturing, research, and development hubs for various OEMs, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers. Moreover, to reduce the harmful emissions caused by multiple sources, including air travel, the European Union drafted the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce global pollution. To ensure eco-friendly air travel, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has prepared an initial set of certification requirements for electric and hybrid propulsion systems for next-gen aircraft types. However, EASA also points out that any architecture, including the usage of hydrogen either to feed fuel cells or combustion engines, requires further work and research before defining the associated certification requirements. Furthermore, several European countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and favors the growth of the next-gen aircraft propulsion system market.
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