Trinity and Ryanair launch sustainable aviation research centre

Posted on: 29 April 2021

Trinity, in partnership with Ryanair, EU’s greenest airline, today announced the launch of a new Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre.

This landmark initiative – the first of its kind in Ireland –  has been made possible by a €1.5m donation which Trinity will use to seed a multi-disciplinary research team to engage in research around 1) sustainable aviation fuels, 2) zero carbon aircraft propulsion systems and 3) noise mapping.

L to R: Neil Sorahan, CFO Ryanair Group; Thomas Fowler, Director of Sustainability, Ryanair DAC; Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin
L to R: Neil Sorahan, CFO Ryanair Group; Thomas Fowler, Director of Sustainability, Ryanair DAC; Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

This new knowledge will inform the policies of both EU and international governments on making aviation environmentally and economically sustainable, as well as harness future investments by the aviation industry towards sustainability. The project, which will employ six people, is due to commence in Summer 2021.

Sustainability and low carbon technologies are a key focus of researchers from a range of disciplines at Trinity and this new partnership will sit within Trinity’s E3 – the Engineering, Environment and Emerging Technologies initiative, which is tackling complex, global problems, such as those faced by the aviation industry.

Researchers at the centre will develop sustainable solutions for an industry striving towards a profitable, carbon-neutral future, with greener offerings for jet-setters and a liveable planet for all.

Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, said:

The critical need for humanity to meet the great challenge of our time – climate change – demands new thinking on every front. Science and technological research have a vital role to play in finding balanced solutions for a better world and E3 is Trinity’s farsighted response to this demand.

“Using emerging technologies, our multi-disciplinary teams of scientists and engineers in Trinity’s new Sustainable Aviation Research Centre will tackle important questions such as how to reduce aircraft emissions with sustainable aviation fuels, electric propulsion, and reduced noise and we are delighted to welcome Ryanair, which has committed itself to being Europe’s cleanest and greenest airline, on board as we explore these exciting new horizons.”

Ryanair believes that aviation must play a leading role in addressing climate change and is placing an increased emphasis on mitigating how its business impacts the environment.

By 2030, Ryanair’s goal is to power 12.5% of its flights with sustainable aviation fuels. This together with investment in new “Gamechanger” aircraft, will significantly reduce its CO2 and noise footprint over the next decade.

Ryanair’s Director of Sustainability, Thomas Fowler, said:  

“This €1.5m donation by Ryanair to help open Ireland’s first Sustainable Aviation Research Centre is a hugely exciting project and an important pillar of our environmental targets, supporting our goal to power 12.5% of flights with sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. As Europe’s largest airline, we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment, to make flying greener and lead our industry towards a more sustainable way of flying while keeping our fares low and affordable for all EU families.

“This partnership with Trinity College Dublin seeks to inform and improve future investment by the aviation industry to secure a carbon neutral future for aviation and noise reduction through investment in new technologies. We look forward to working with Associate Professor Stephen Dooley, Professor Stephen Spence and their teams, as they engage in much-sought after research around Sustainable Aviation Fuels, Zero Carbon Aircraft Propulsion Systems and Noise Mapping for low noise aircraft fleets in the hope that the industry will have the knowledge to invest confidently in sustainable fuels and technology going forward.”

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