The aviation and aerospace industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the global climate crisis. However, the industry is now exploring the potential of green energy to reduce its carbon footprint and become more sustainable.
One of the most promising sources of green energy for aviation is biofuels. Biofuels are made from renewable sources such as algae, plants, and waste materials. They can be blended with traditional jet fuel and used in existing aircraft engines without any modifications. Biofuels have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel.
Several airlines have already started using biofuels on commercial flights. In 2011, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines became the first airline to operate a commercial flight using biofuels. Since then, several other airlines, including United Airlines and British Airways, have also conducted biofuel-powered flights. However, the use of biofuels is still limited due to their high cost and limited availability.
Another source of green energy for aviation is electric propulsion. Electric aircraft use batteries or fuel cells to power their engines, eliminating the need for traditional jet fuel. Electric aircraft have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution. However, the technology is still in its early stages, and electric aircraft are currently limited in terms of range and payload capacity.
Several companies are working on developing electric aircraft. In 2019, the world’s first fully-electric commercial aircraft, the Harbour Air ePlane, completed its first test flight in Canada. The ePlane is a seaplane that can carry up to six passengers and has a range of 160 kilometers. Other companies, such as Airbus and Boeing, are also working on developing electric aircraft for commercial use.
Solar power is another potential source of green energy for aviation. Solar-powered aircraft use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity, which powers the aircraft’s engines. Solar-powered aircraft have the potential to fly indefinitely without the need for refueling, making them ideal for long-duration flights. However, solar-powered aircraft are currently limited in terms of speed and payload capacity.
Several companies have developed solar-powered aircraft for various applications. In 2016, Solar Impulse 2 completed a round-the-world flight using only solar power. The aircraft had a wingspan of 72 meters and was powered by 17,248 solar cells. Other companies, such as NASA and Boeing, are also working on developing solar-powered aircraft for various applications.
In conclusion, the aviation and aerospace industry is exploring the potential of green energy to reduce its carbon footprint and become more sustainable. Biofuels, electric propulsion, and solar power are all potential sources of green energy for aviation. While the technology is still in its early stages, several companies have already made significant progress in developing green energy solutions for aviation. As the industry continues to prioritize sustainability, we can expect to see more green energy solutions being developed and implemented in the future.