A new 787 Dreamliner being delivered to Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways in January will have an unusual mission besides flying routes to Europe and North America—its tasked with experiments in carbon and waste reduction.
Etihad and Boeing are calling it a 'Greenliner' and saying its flying lab work could benefit the whole industry, as well as the environment. One goal is to get the Greenliner's fuel consumption down enough to be 20% more fuel-efficient than the rest of the fleet; the 787 is already known as a fuel-thrifty plane.
The two companies didn't specify what technologies would be tested, but in the past, experiments have focused on lighter-weight materials and on alternate fuels. Etihad has already been involved in alternate fuel research, and earlier this year flew the world's first passenger flight using sustainable biofuel made from saltwater plants.