Bombardier has delivered a retired CRJ100 regional jet from Arizona to the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal engineering school as part of an environmental initiative centered on the CSeries, set for first flight in June 2013.

According to Fassi Kafyeke, director of strategic technology for Bombardier, the goal of the CRJ100 end-of-life (EOL) project is to study the most efficient ways of recycling an aircraft and provide information for engineers to develop more recyclable components.

Kafyeke says the EOL project focuses on the “last 25%” of the aircraft, which includes mostly “things on the inside” of the aircraft.

Design for environment is a key element in Bombardier’s CSeries program, where engineers began incorporating the concept in 2007. “The CSeries was the starting point,” says Kafyeke. “If you’re going to make a new airplane in 2013, it’s got to be different.”

From a design perspective, Bombardier is determining up front how environmental impact, including supplies, plants, manufacturing, operations and EOL, will affect the overall cost of ownership. He says Bombardier’s aviation business is learning from its train division, where life cycle assessments already include the product's total effect on the environment.

Technologies that are key to minimizing the toll an aircraft exacts on the environment include advanced materials, more-electric systems, fly-by-wire, next-generation engines, advanced aerodynamic design and alternative fuels, says Kafyeke.

Bombardier also is developing a fuel economy handbook for the CSeries that will raise operator awareness of what they can do to reduce fuel burn, including the unnecessary fuel costs of “a dirty airplane.”

“We want to show how much weight and drag and operational choices impact fuel economy,” says Kafyeke, noting that drafts of the handbook are now “circulating internally” at Bombardier.

The airframer’s EOL strategy aims, in part, to stay ahead of changes to environmental regulations that likely will mimic automobile recycling rules in Europe, where 95% of the car must be recyclable at the end of its life, and those parts that are not recyclable must go to landfills, where fees are charged.

“If I can design around that, I can save costs,” says Kafyeke.

Along with the EOL project, Bombardier is studying how to make non-structural parts of the aircraft out of recycled materials, says Kafyeke.