Lufthansa Group and BASF Roll Out Sharkskin Technology on 777 Freighters
Using nature as a model, the Lufthansa Group has teamed up with BASF to roll out ‘AeroSHARK’ sharkskin technology on all Boeing 777 Freighters from 2022. The innovative new surface technology from Lufthansa Technik and BASF will improve fuel efficiency.
On Monday (May 3, 2021) Lufthansa announced that in partnership with BASF, they will roll out ‘AeroSHARK’ coating on all Boeing 777 Freighters by 2022. Developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF, the innovative sharkskin surface technology takes its cues from nature, resulting in improved fuel efficiency, while helping the carrier reach sustainability targets. AeroSHARK is a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark’s skin, reducing frictional resistance or aerodynamic drag on the aircraft, thereby lowering fuel consumption. The surface structure consists of “riblets” measuring around 50 micrometers which optimize the aerodynamics on flow-related aircraft structures by imitating the properties of sharkskin.
In Monday’s announcement, Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Executive Board Member, Christina Foerster, said,
“Responsibility for the environment and society is a key strategic topic for us. We have always played a leading role in introducing environmentally friendly technologies. The new sharkskin technology for aircraft shows what strong and highly innovative partners can achieve collectively for the environment. This will help us to achieve our goal of climate neutrality by 2050.”
Lufthansa Technik estimates that the coating will reduce drag by over one percent on the airliner’s B777Fs. With a fleet of 10 freighters, Lufthansa expects to save around 3,700 tons of kerosene and just under 11,700 tons of CO2 emissions annually. The savings is equivalent to flying 48 individual freight flights between Frankfurt and Shanghai.
Also commenting on the collaboration, BASF Executive Board Director, Dr. Markus Kamieth, added,
“The aviation industry is facing similar challenges to the chemical industry: ongoing progress must be made with climate protection despite high energy requirements. By collaborating closely and successfully combining our know-how in surface design and aerodynamics, we have now succeeded in taking a major step forward. This is an excellent example of sustainability in practice, achieved through partnership-based collaboration and innovative technologies.”
Lufthansa Cargo AG’s Chief Executive Officer, Dorothea von Boxberg, added,
“We are proud that we will now be able to operate our entire freighter fleet even more efficiently in the future thanks to sharkskin technology and reduce the carbon footprint of our modern fleet further. The investments we have made in rolling out AeroSHARK at Lufthansa Cargo consciously reaffirm our commitment to the United Nation’s sustainable development goal on climate action.”
In cooperation with BASF, Lufthansa Technik is responsible for material specifications, regulatory approval and performance of the aircraft modifications during regular maintenance layovers. Lufthansa will obtain a Supplemental Type Certificate for the 777F featuring AeroSHARK from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Further commenting on the innovative coating, Lufthansa Technik’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Johannes Bussmann, said,
“We have always used our wealth of expertise as a global market leader in technical aircraft services to also contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of our industry. In doing so, we can leverage significant savings potential from all aircraft generations. I am therefore very proud that we will soon be able to transfer the positive findings of the validation phase into the series application with Lufthansa Cargo. The extremely constructive collaboration with BASF is also the best example of cross-sector cooperation in the interest of the sustainability of the aviation industry.”
BASF is developing innovative functional films in their Beyond Paint Solutions unit, including films with riblets, such as AeroSHARK. The solution was implemented in coordination with Lufthansa Technik and fulfills the strict requirements of the aviation industry, with consideration of factors such as strong UV radiation, temperature and pressure fluctuations and weather resistance. Other essential criteria for use in commercial aviation applications include simple application and handling, as well as ease of repair.
Commenting on Lufthansa’s application of the new sharkskin technology, BASF’s Coating Division’s Head, Dirk Bremm, said,
“As an expert in surfaces, we implement bespoke solutions for our customers. The innovative sharkskin technology allows us to support Lufthansa in achieving its sustainability goals and in making the aviation industry a little more environmentally friendly.”