Aviation stakeholders are exploring a wide range of eco-friendly materials for potential use in commercial aircraft cabins. Soisa Aircraft Interiors, a company specializing in seat covers and upholstery, is actively researching innovative ways to incorporate sustainable materials into aircraft interiors. Instead of traditional materials like cork and wood, Soisa is interested in using pecan and corn shells or peel as key components, such as shrouds and tray tables.
According to Jacobo Mesta, CEO of Soisa, these natural materials are abundant and exhibit remarkable strength when combined with other substances. Biodegradable pecan shells can be transformed into a plastic-like material that holds potential for the aerospace industry. However, one of the main challenges lies in obtaining approval for these products due to stringent regulations and safety standards imposed by organizations like the FAA and EASA.
Another consideration is the presence of nut allergies, as individuals with such allergies may have concerns about the use of pecan shells in aircraft interiors. To ensure safety, it is crucial that no pecan protein is found in the final product.
While Soisa continues its research into bio-based composite materials and recycling options for aircraft interiors, reintegration of existing materials into aircraft is still posing challenges. The company is yet to identify a product that can be repurposed within the industry.
Soisa is also demonstrating its commitment to environmental sustainability through its ‘Waste to Wonder’ upcycling program. By partnering with a local artisans’ cooperative, the company transforms excess and waste materials from aircraft into handmade handicrafts. This not only reduces landfill waste but also provides economic opportunities for the local Tarahumara tribe.
In terms of interior design, most airlines have remained conservative in their choices. However, Soisa has invested in advanced stitching technology to accommodate intricate and unique designs, although opportunities to fully utilize this capability have been limited.
Regarding 3D-printed interiors, progress has been slow in the commercial sector due to the high volumes required to justify the investment. Soisa has found a practical solution by creating 3D printing models and transitioning them into an injection molding process, offering a faster return on investment.
Overall, the exploration of eco-friendly materials and innovative design approaches in aircraft interiors reflects the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainability and passenger comfort.
1. What eco-friendly materials are being considered for aircraft cabin interiors?
– Eco-friendly materials such as pecan and corn shells or peel are being explored as potential components for aircraft cabin interiors.
2. What challenges are faced in obtaining approval for these materials?
– Stringent regulations and safety standards imposed by organizations like the FAA and EASA pose challenges in obtaining approval for new materials.
3. How is Soisa demonstrating its commitment to environmental sustainability?
– Soisa operates a ‘Waste to Wonder’ upcycling program, where excess and waste materials from aircraft are transformed into handmade handicrafts in collaboration with a local artisans’ cooperative.
4. How is Soisa approaching interior design in aircraft?
– Soisa has invested in advanced stitching technology to allow for intricate and unique designs in aircraft interiors, although opportunities to fully utilize this capability have been limited.
5. What is the progress of 3D-printed interiors in the aviation industry?
– Progress in 3D-printed interiors has been slow in the commercial sector due to the large volumes required to justify the investment. However, Soisa has found a practical workaround by transitioning 3D printed models into an injection molding process.