Our feature on p9 of t his supplement gives a detailed overview of the interesting developments in electric propulsion, but the nearer term solution to reducing aircraft emissions is greater use of biofuels, or SAFs.
According to Ilkka Räsänen, director of public affairs at renewable diesel producer Neste, quoted in biofuels-news.com: “Air traffic is predicted to double during the next 15 years. The aviation industry has committed to carbon neutral growth starting from 2020, all while reducing net carbon emissions by 50% by 2050 [from 2005 levels]. Currently, renewable jet fuel offers the only viable alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering aircrafts.” That’s not hard to understand. With the average service-life of passenger and freight aircraft around 21 and 33 years respectively, were all new aircraft manufactured from tomorrow fully electric, the transition would take two to three decades. But SAFs are not a new area; Virgin Atlantic undertook the very first biofuel flight in 2008.