Eco-Space Project - Environmental Impact of new technologies

In the current industry, environment begins to be a major criterion for development of new products. Success of a technology is due to its innovative and low cost assets but also due to its sustainability. Competitiveness involves industries to see beyond environmental regulations by integrating eco- efficiency of products and technologies as choice criteria for future development. By dealing with high performances technologies, space sector do not escape of the need to develop products with a minimized environmental impact. Started in 2013 the Eco-Space project, R&T Airbus DS project, has been initiated in order to face this challenge. Main objectives of the project are to develop and enhance eco-design approach within new development and promote and give consistency to the “green” initiatives. The development of “green technologies” (i.e. technologies with low environmental impact) is one axis followed by Airbus DS in order to reduce environmental impacts of its own products. As sustainable technologies should be compliant with regulations, induce less environmental impacts and cost reductions, one key objective of Eco-Space project is also to integrate Life Cycle Assessment methodology and contribute to reach the cost target. Assessing the “green” aspect of a new technology entails the following question: “Which criteria must be validated for a technology in order to be labelling as a ‘green technology’? “What should be set-up in order to ensure a consistent communication?” By focusing on only few specific criteria (ex: avoiding REACh impacted substances or decreasing CO2 emissions), too many technologies are claimed to be “green technologies” without matching with essential criteria. For space sector, environmental criteria have to been settled in order to enhance sustainable technology developments. Within Airbus DS, these drivers conduct to create a dedicated label in order to ensure that new technologies reach environmental and costs targets of the company. Therefore it is necessary to master and assess cost and environmental impacts of new technology compared to conventional technology answering to the same application. Similar existing approach such as European Union initiative called ETV (Environmental Technology Verification), EPD (Environmental Product Declaration)… have been implemented within industry. In order to be exhaustive and avoid shifting of environmental impacts, Life Cycle Assessment has been chosen as a base for the methodology developed by Airbus DS. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a driver for decision making which allows quantification of product’s environmental impact from raw materials extraction phase until end of life. This multi-criteria methodology is based on the analysis of every aspect and phase of a product or technology through its entire life cycle, covering environmental impact indicators such as Global Warming Potential, Ozone Layer Depletion, Human Toxicity, Resource Depletion, etc. The oral presentation purpose is to present the approach followed by Airbus DS in order to determine key criteria for a “green technology label”: - Selection of intended “low environmental impact technology” within the Airbus DS new technologies portfolio - Perform Environmental and cost study on pilot cases - Determine first macro criteria - Validation step on other new technologies - Definition of “Green Technology label” for Airbus DS Space Systems As this methodology has been applied on several pilot cases covering various applications within space sector, green technology assessment of one of these pilot cases will also be presented as an illustration during the presentation. In this way Airbus DS is committed to the ESA Clean Space Initiative and contributes to the big challenge for space industry: keeping the competitive advantage for Europe and decreasing the environmental footprint on Earth and Space.