Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Prize 2020 goes to Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and Technical University of Munich // New special category for “green” aviation shared by Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and Hamburg University of Technology

Christopher Victor Werthmann of Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and Patrick Sieb from Technical University of Munich awarded Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Prize 2020 for the best thesis on an aviation-related topic. The universities and the supporting employers, Airbus and Lufthansa Technik, are equally delighted. A new special prize, pointing the way of the future, was also presented, with 1st place in the “Green Aviation” category shared by Sabine Derboven of Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and Awista Nasiri from Hamburg University of Technology. The Young Talent Prize was presented, as is the tradition, at a gathering of the Hamburg Aviation Forum, which takes place three times a year.

The Hamburg University of Applied Sciences took out two trophies this year, one of them in the “Bachelor” category. Christopher Victor Werthmann took the honours with his thesis on the fully automated configuration of cabin elements such as galley, lavatory and storage closets. In collaboration with Airbus, and working with prototypes, Werthmann was able to demonstrate how it could be possible to install component modules automatically at the press of a button in the future. This would significantly reduce the physical strenuousness of ergonomically demanding aircraft cabin installations.

The winning concept in the “Master” category was put together by Patrick Sieb of the Technical University of Munich.  In collaboration with Lufthansa Technik, he simulated the interplay between flight operations and maintenance for an urban air mobility fleet. Sieb examined possible route networks and operational concepts for future air taxis to demonstrate how the necessary maintenance infrastructure could be integrated in parallel to achieve maximum availability of the entire fleet at the lowest possible cost.

Second place in the Bachelor category this year was shared by two Hamburg University of Technology graduates. Darja Strahlberg won over the jury with her thesis, produced in collaboartion with Fortis, an IT company from Hamburg. She developed a model for predictive maintenance. Conceived for implementation in a facility for cleaning aircraft wheels, the program could also be integrated in other maintenance areas, reducing unplanned maintenance operations. In the “RoboFill” research project, Johann Kipping programmed an algorithm that enables a robot to automatically produced high-quality lightweight components. At the same time, thanks to Kipping’s calculations, the filling of the sandwich structure, made up of a light core with strong outer layers, becomes more efficient, because the robot follows optimally determined paths.

Second place in the “Master” category went to Jan Gottemeier from SRH University Heidelberg. With the aid of artificial intelligence, Gottemeier developed an innovative forecasting model that can accurately predict the need for spare parts required in maintenance and service operations across the range of airlines and aircraft models, improving demand-driven supply. Optimised stocks benefit not only Airbus’s own spare parts division, but also the supply chain thanks to improved resouce planning.

Hamburg University of Technology graduate Awista Nasiri was doubly successful in the competition. Her thesis convinced the jury to award her third place in the “Master” category. With the goal of making on-board electricity supply lighter and more efficient, Nasiri tested various materials and manufacturing techniques for so-called structural composite batteries. Her work was carried out within the framework of the EU “Clean Sky 2” research programme. Developed by research partners Chalmers University of Technology and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, these carbon fibre composites generate electricity and can be directly integrated in the walls of passenger service units or even the cabin wall as part of an aircraft’s load-bearing structure. In collaboration with Airbus, Nasiri evaluated these weight-saving energy sources. The integration of electrical energy storage in lightweight composite materials, reducing fuel consumption, also brought Awista Nasiri a trophy for the special “Green Aviation” category, making its debut in 2020. She shared this prize with Masters graduate Sabine Derboven of Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. Derboven, also working together with Airbus, developed a concept for promoting sustainable innovations in aviation companies. With the help of an online tool, Airbus personnel can study the UN’s “sustainable development goals” and check to see if their own innovative ideas are compatible.

Plastics company Krüger Aviation of Barsbuettel initiated the special category and is sponsoring not only the 800 euro prize money but also, once more, the trophies for the Young Talent Prize winners.

“Even before the current crisis, Hamburg’s aviation industry had already understood that a “New Normal” is impossible without sustainable solutions. As a family business, we also think in terms of generations. So today we are not just re-thinking, but also beginning to change how we act. The special category is our way of promoting concrete ideas that provide aviation with a perspective that can survive the future,” says Nils Stoll, Managing Director of Krüger Aviation, about the idea behind the “green” award.

Jury member Dr Florian Linke of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) underlines the importance of the Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Prize in view of the challenges currently facing the aviation industry: “This year’s winning theses demonstrate once again what potential for innovation we have here. Now more than ever, we are forced to depend on excellent teaching and reliable cooperative partners in the industry if we are to support the people that will shape tomorrow’s aviation industry. Without a motivated next generation, we will not be able to satisfy the recurrent demand and the challenges of sustainable aviation.”

The winners of the Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Prize enjoy prize money of 1,500 euros along with free participation in the Hamburg Aviation Forum next year. The Hamburg Aviation Young Talent Prize is presented by Hamburg Aviation and sponsored by Airbus and Krueger Aviation.

Routes out of the crisis: Hamburg Aviation’s “hybrid” approach brings the regional industry together

The Young Talent Prize was presented at the 59th Hamburg Aviation Forum, a hybrid event that pointed to the future. Addressing the subject of progress in the fields of hydrogen technology and urban air mobility, Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Innovation, Senator Michael Westhagemann, appealed to the forward-looking, futuristic potential of the region, the global civil aviation industry’s third-largest location. Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of Hamburg Airport, reported on the impact of travel restrictions on the airport, and on how the airport quickly adapted to make safe travel possible. Max Oldorf, co-founder of ch-aviation, one of the world’s leading data analysis service providers for the aviation sector, delivered insights into developments regarding the world’s routes, fleets and capacities.

Three Hamburg Aviation member companies presented pathways for dealing positively with the current crisis, drawing on their own examples. Jan Heinze of the Heinze Akademie, for example, went completely digital with his Europe-wide training programme just a few days after the lockdown began. Mathias Schulze of BeOne took his antimicrobial surface coating, developed in collaboration with Airdal of Ahrensburg for use on escalator handrails in shopping centres, and adapted it for deployment in aircraft cabins.