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Launching individual climate control on aeroplanes

EU researchers are developing systems for aircraft that enable each passenger to set their in-flight climate according to their personal preference. Individual controls are necessary since degrees of environmental comfort vary considerably from passenger to passenger.

Industrial Technologies

On aircraft, the indoor climate is a frequent source of passenger complaints. Previous studies have looked into improving the cabin environment but have concentrated mainly on exploring the fields of development and identifying the problems associated with them. A new approach is being taken by the 'Innovative systems for personalised aircraft cabin environment' (ISPACE) project, funded by the EU. The project's overall objective is to provide aircraft manufacturers and the supply industry with know-how and innovations to address the individualisation of passenger cabin environment. More particularly, project members are focusing on improving passenger comfort and well-being while responding to specific human needs. Unique concepts and step-change technologies are being studied to achieve such a revolution in personalised climate control for passengers. Initially, ISPACE defined the specific demands and boundary conditions required for passengers to have a custom-controlled climate within aircraft cabins. Based on this, the project developed concepts that were then evaluated against the identified requirements; the technology solutions needed are currently under development. On completion, the project will be able to present recommendations for utilising the new systems in both existing and future aircraft designs. Aircraft manufacturers will need reliable simulation tools such as those currently being developed and improved on throughout the duration of the project. During the second half of the ISPACE project, the new system will be proven experimentally. Using environmental measurements and passenger questionnaires, the goal is to determine the critical control parameters and how well cabin climate can be individualised for each passenger.

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