Boeing to establish Japanese R&D centre for emerging risks

Boeing plans to establish a research and development (R&D) facility in Japan to look into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and to advance electric and hydrogen aircraft technology.

The facility, the Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T) centre, will also focus on robotics, digitalisation, automation and carbon fibre composite materials for the aviation industry, the US aircraft manufacturer said.

It will support a newly expanded cooperation agreement with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

“We are excited to open our latest global research and technology centre here in Japan,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and executive vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology. 

“Working with terrific partners like METI, the new centre will expand upon Boeing-wide initiatives in sustainable fuels and electrification, and explore the intersection of digitization, automation and high-performance aerospace composites for greater sustainability in our future products and production systems.”

The BR&T – Japan Research Centre will be located in Nagoya, which is already home to many of Boeing’s major industrial partners and suppliers. T

The facility will further expand Boeing’s research and development footprint in the region, which includes centres in Australia, China and Korea.

The global airline industry’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 is heavily reliant on its ability to produce more SAF, though electric and hydrogen-powered planes could play a smaller part in emissions reductions.

The industry also requires huge investment in SAF, which uses feedstock such as animal fat and cooking oil and which is currently in short supply and far more expensive than conventional jet fuel.  

The industry aims for SAF production to account for 65% of fuel needs by 2050, up from less than 0.5% in 2021.

Boeing has committed to its planes being certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030.