EU Call for Proposals: Development of an anaerobic digester prototype for aircraft use

A new bio-thermal architecture concept for aircraft would mean a profound new design of cabin and also result in a more flexible sanitary/galley architecture.
Applications are closed
8 months ago

A new bio-thermal architecture concept for aircraft would mean a profound new design of cabin and also result in a more flexible sanitary/galley architecture. Core of the concept is an alternative energy conversion and distribution/use.
As central unit a technical prototype of an anaerobic digestion unit for use on-board aircraft as a testing device in a flight test environment shall be developed in close cooperation with the Topic Manager.
Anaerobic digestion on board aircraft may be influenced by factors such as pressure, humidity, temperature, but may also influence factors like air quality (contaminants, odours, particulates) and passenger comfort.
Theoretical considerations, assumptions and empirical correlations derived from previous and current work on the topic shall be considered and implemented by the applicant. Techniques for source collection (galley waste, manure and seepage from lavatories, biodegradable disposables, fuselage condensate), substrate preparation for anaerobic digestion (homogenisation, addition of liquid and extra nutrients if necessary, addition of inoculate if necessary, hygienization if necessary) and security needs on board of an aircraft shall be considered. Furthermore alternative materials and concepts for catering-service-ware and other disposables shall be considered too.
This will result in higher energy yield and increased passenger comfort. The anaerobic digestion unit shall provide at least interfaces for on board sewage, fuselage condensate and galley waste. For the galley waste as well as for sewage a mechanical device for milling should be implemented. The process of anaerobic digestion should be a two stage digestion with an acidification vessel/stage as first step and a methanogenesis vessel/stage as second step. With regard to sanitation it is suggested that methanogenesis should be driven as a thermophilic process. A thermophilic process is not only much more effective for biogas production, but yields in additional heat which may be utilized for cold fuel temperature revival or for heat transfer for use in cabin climate stabilisation. The prototype anaerobic digestion unit shall be developed with regard to technical, hygienic and safety conditions and needs on-board aircraft in a way that ensures also light weight and durability. Finally a method/process for methane storage and conversion to energy shall be implemented. A successful achievement of a new bio-thermal architecture concept for aircraft has a great potential for transfer to other human environments such as big passenger liners or buildings with high demand on peoples care (hotels, hospitals, etc.). Implementation of bio-thermal design in aircraft will reduce carbon footprint and enhance comfort and wellbeing on-board. 
Dateline for submission: 12 July 2018 17:00:00 (Brussels time)
Source: The European Commission

Illustration Photo: Aircraft (CC0 Creative Commons from

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