Дата: 01-07-22 09:51

Airbus: The Future Of Aviation Is Renewable Energy

...and why the OEM is like the Tesla of sustainable aviation.

Airbus: The Future Of Aviation Is Renewable Energy
Photo by Simple Flying

During the Connecting Europe by Air – the Green Transformation event at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport earlier this week, Airbus' Vice President for Zero-Emission Aircraft, Glenn Llewellyn, participated in a panel with the European Union Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, on the future of aviation. Writes Simple Flying

Commissioner Vălean stated that she has high hopes that the industry will reach the net-zero by 2050 target it has set for itself. Especially with the 'disruptive moment' of the arrival of zero-emission technology by 2035 "as it was promised," she said, alluding to Airbus' timeline for bringing a hydrogen-powered aircraft to market.

Meanwhile, before the advent of such technological leaps, one of the most potent tools the industry has at its disposal in terms of reducing CO2 emissions is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Airbus has been operating several test flights with the goal of having all Airbus aircraft certified to fly on pure SAF before the end of the decade.

Read more:  Southwest makes “first-of-its-kind” investment in DOE-backed SAF project

The Tesla of sustainable aviation

However, the certification for 100% will not mean much if the volumes of SAF production do not scale substantially over the coming years. Even 50%, the maximum allowed volume of SAF in commercial operations today, would be a stretch for any airline to get its hands on, even when paying the necessary premium.

"This is definitely a topic that we as an ecosystem need to address. Sustainable aviation fuel can be made available. We need incentives, we need help for airlines to be increasing the uptake of sustainable aviation fuel. Our job is to make sure the technology is compatible. So similar to what Tesla has done in providing an electric car, we're providing aircraft that are compatible with, let's say, renewable and green energy sources."

Llewellyn said that SAF will be what powers long-haul flights even when hydrogen aircraft become available and emphasized the importance of transitioning towards Power-to-Liquid fuels produced using renewable electricity. He stated,

"In the medium term, we need to be getting to what we call power-to-liquid synthetic fuels. Essentially, that means that aircraft are being powered by renewable energy because it's through electrolysis, that we're creating hydrogen. That hydrogen is then transformed, in this case into a sustainable aviation field. Our view is that the future of aviation is going to be powered by renewable energy, and we need to create the ecosystem and the technologies that allow for that to happen."

Committed to delivering on fleet renewal

Meanwhile, coupled with the use of SAF, one of the most powerful levers airlines currently have to reduce emissions is fleet renewal. According to Airbus, the A320neo is the most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft on the market, delivering a fuel consumption reduction of 20% compared to previous generation aircraft.

Despite delays hitting the A321XLR program due to fire safety concerns from EASA, Llewellyn affirmed that Airbus is dedicated to getting the airlines the aircraft they need to reduce emissions. The VP stated,

"At the moment, we're committed to delivering on all of our promises in terms of what the airlines are requiring for fleet renewal. And we see fleet renewal as a hugely important step. (...) The energy we don't use is the best energy. And that's certainly a strong lever - improving the efficiency of our products and the efficiency of our flights through air traffic management improvements."

Since the A320neo family entered service in 2016, Airbus has delivered over 2,200 of the 'new engine option,' resulting in over 10 million tons of CO2 savings compared to previous generations. And there are orders for over 6,000 more, including 100 for KLM and Transavia, intended to replace the carriers' aging fleets of Boeing 737s.

Джерело інформації: Український Авіаційний Портал

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