Sustainable aviation

Blue flames are coming out of the internal channels of the gas turbine injector.

A novel 3D-printed burner tested at the NRC’s Aerospace Research Centre's gas turbine research facilities stabilizes high-hydrogen content fuels by using miniature internal channels to deliver fuel to localized sites.

The global aviation industry is under increased pressure to meet the net-zero greenhouse gas emission targets that Canada and other jurisdictions have set. However, aviation is universally acknowledged as the hardest transportation sector to decarbonize.

To support Canada's industry in achieving this ambitious target, the Aerospace Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is using its unique R&D capabilities to support the aviation sector's transition to net-zero and scale up Canada's response to climate change. Through its Low‑emission Aviation program, the Aerospace Research Centre is developing transformative technologies in the field of sustainable aviation and support the industry in the technology maturation of green technologies.

This program focuses on revolutionary technologies in the following 4 pillars for R&D and innovation with our strategic partners:

  • Novel aircraft configurations
  • Electrical propulsion systems
  • Clean fuel technologies
  • Batteries for airborne applications

Cross-cutting themes for the 4 pillars are:

  • Advanced technology demonstrator

    To assess leading technology candidates in the 4 pillars identified above, the NRC is leveraging capabilities from facilities and expertise across our research centres and disciplines. The work from our teams of aerospace experts is following a technology roadmap based on innovation and the advancement of technology readiness levels (TRLs).

    The program will publish these technical results annually to aid in decarbonizing the sector by 2050.

  • Safety and certification

    As stated in Canada's Aviation Climate Action Plan 2022–2030, in order to expedite adopting technology to meet net-zero targets, the aviation sector will need standards and test methodologies for certification of new aviation technologies and aircraft designs. The Low-emission Aviation programs will inform the development of test methods and compliance tools for certification of novel aircraft technologies.

    Our Aerospace Research Centre is working with Transport Canada and the Department of National Defence on this initiative.

  • Modelling and simulation tools

    Novel low-emission technologies will require creation of new modelling and simulation tools in order to accelerate their development. The Aerospace Research Centre is working with partners to develop these tools in area in the 4 R&D pillars identified above.

  • Novel materials and manufacturing processes and techniques

    The Aerospace Research Centre will perform science-based environmental studies (e.g. aircraft emission and contrail assessments) to inform government policy and future investments in sustainable aviation. The research centre will communicate study results in its reports and presentations to other government departments as well as through international standards organizations and conferences.

    Departments include:

    • Transport Canada
    • the Department of National Defence
    • Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • Natural Resources Canada

Facilities and labs

Learn more about the NRC's facilities and labs that can help you develop, test and validate your sustainable aviation technologies:

Success stories

Learn more about our significant milestones and accomplishments in the field of sustainable aviation:

Client services

Our specialized advisory services range from testing and certification to calibration, prototyping, demonstrations, scale-up and consulting. With our experts and facilities dedicated to aerospace technologies, we can work with you to advance your new green technologies:

  • Collaborative R&D: Our research expertise can help you advance your R&D projects
  • Technical services: Our technical expertise can help you help mature your technology and take it to the next level

Contact us

Business Development team
Aerospace Research Centre

Targeted industries

Battery suppliers, battery management systems, thermal management, fuel cells, motors, power electronics, superconductors, power‑train integration, modelling and simulation, metallic, composite and hybrid structure manufacturers.


Discover other NRC programs that support Canada's sustainable aviation goals: