Two realities have emerged as the aviation sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic: it must reduce its environmental impact while boosting revenues. These objectives may appear at odds with one another, but the aviation industry is starting to figure out that what’s good for the environment is also suitable for aviation.
A cleaner and more sustainable future can be achieved through increased fuel economy, employing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and investigating electric and hydrogen propulsion. 3% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to aviation, which may be similar to emissions from vehicles or air conditioning. However, if sustainability initiatives are not made, aviation’s environmental effect might quadruple by 2050.
Airlines are ready to adopt sustainability in response to pressure from shareholders, staff, customers, and government authorities. The primary driver of increased aviation sector efficiency and safety is economics.
Aerospace industries have been striving for decades to lessen the effects of flying on the environment, and they have discovered that sustainability also makes good financial sense. The aviation industry is constantly developing more fuel-efficient airplanes and engines and cutting-edge operating techniques that allow planes to go farther on a single gasoline tank.
But this is just the start. As a sector, we must produce incremental improvements and game-changing discoveries that help reverse the trend and address how aviation affects global warming.
The Aviation Sector Has Complete Support
To comply with the Paris Agreement, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, business groups, and technology firms are dedicated to attaining net-zero emissions. The goal is achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 has been taken up by over 300 airlines. Fuel economy is a primary consideration for Boeing, Airbus, and other airframe manufacturers when designing new aircraft and updating the current fleet.
In addition to continuing to create and produce goods, services, and software solutions that assist clients in reaching their financial and sustainability objectives,
To meet its sustainability and fuel efficiency goals, the aviation industry will need to combine current, emerging, and future technologies. These include SAF, advanced operational and airspace-management capabilities, cutting-edge propulsion and auxiliary power systems, and more.
How SAF Can Help Airlines Reduce Emissions
SAF can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 85% compared to conventional fuels since it is made from renewable feedstocks that do not threaten the world’s food supply. SAF is crucial to airlines’ efforts to achieve their 2050 net-zero carbon emission targets.
SAF mixes are already used by several airlines. As manufacturing volume increases, it will be used more frequently, lowering the price. SAF now costs around 2.5 times as much as regular jet fuel. Extensive government programs and incentives are required to boost production and promote quicker adoption. The Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions enabling SAF’s tax credits are a great place to start.
New Power Sources Increase Efficiency
The most encouraging trend for the sustainability of the airline sector is the shift toward more electric planes. The bleed air system of today’s propulsion engines, or APUs, generates a significant amount of energy used by aircraft. The aircraft is powered by compressed air, which also cools and pressurizes the interior. We can increase the fuel efficiency of the turbines by utilizing new technologies to transfer those operations to highly efficient electric motors.
Using more efficient operations to save fuel
Finding the quickest, most effective route is the only way to reduce gasoline usage. Therefore, before, during, and after every trip, airlines increasingly utilize sophisticated flight planning engines, linked aircraft technology, and prescriptive analytics platforms.
It will be a complex technological challenge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, even for an industry with an unrivaled history of invention.
The time has come for the aviation community to work together to develop solutions to benefit the sector and the environment.