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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Nov 1, 2021
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Seven of the world’s major aviation manufacturers have strengthened their stance on sustainable aviation, having committed to investigating hydrogen as a fuel of the future for aircraft, among other promises.

Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, GE Aviation, Rolls Royce, Safran and Go Beyond are the seven parties that on Tuesday (Oct 26) renewed a shared commitment as they work to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Under such promises, the companies said they will deliver the technical solutions required to decarbonise aviation through three key areas:

  1. Advancing the state-of-the-art in aircraft and engine design and technology.
  2. Supporting increased availability and adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and investigating hydrogen as a fuel of the future.
  3. Continuing to mature novel technologies that will eventually enable net-zero carbon aviation while maintain the safety and quality standards of the industry.

Join me and key stakeholder at the Hydrogen Aviation: https://bit.ly/32dolZb Professionals Group 

 

Discussions
Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Nov 12, 2021

Charlie, the process of decarbonizing aviation can be expected to follow a prediction evolution in the talking points, as the industry gets increasingly serious about taking action:

1) Claims that the existing fleet can be decarbonized simply by addition of a magical biofuel.

2) Claims that they are studying battery and hydrogen power.

3) Admission that battery and hydrogen power can only work on the very shortest of routes.

4) Claims to be looking at ammonia fuel (see this and this recent ammonia aviation announcement).

5) Admission that ammonia fuel will work for medium length routes, perhaps all but the very long trans-Pacific routes, and the fuel cost will be initially higher than for fossil fuel.

6) Admission that the very long trans-Pacific routes will always require hydrocarbon fuel, which could come from dirty fossil fuel, some very expensive and land-intensive biofuel (e.g. gasifier FT diesel), or possibly an e-fuel using captured CO2.

 

This is a generic, energy-density based list.  The automotive industry only needed to go to step 2 before the technology was acceptable.  The maritime industry needed to go to step 4 to get a viable solution.  Unfortunately, aviation requires much greater energy storage than other transportation systems, so it must progress all the way to steps 5&6. 

 

The mainstream aviation companies seem to be only at step 2.  Not great progress, but that's ok; we should focus deployment on the low-hanging fruit anyway (decarbonization of electricity, land-transportation, and heating).  The other sectors are at the research & demo phases.

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