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Case Study

Baby Steps Move us forward when Walking on Air

image credit: ge.com
John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

  • Member since 2013
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  • Jul 29, 2021
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One of the toughest challenges in moving to GHG-free mobility will be long-haul aviation. Initially we may need to be satisfied with “lower GHG”, and offset the remaining GHG.

This post will be on a program that GE Aviation and Safran are creating to produce more sustainable aviation. It should be noted that these companies and a consortium they created many years ago are industry leaders in large jet transport powerplants (read: aviation combustion turbo-fans).

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 29, 2021

Initially we may need to be satisfied with “lower GHG”, and offset the remaining GHG.

Indeed well put, John. It's a fine line to walk, but it's not always an all or nothing endeavor-- and it's important not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. That said, we need to be wary of anything that looks like the 'bridge fuel' that natural gas was sold as that will simply entrench itself and undercut any attempts to ultimately go further with it. But with aviation companies having every incentive to pursue lower and lower carbon, I think the progress will be coming. Really interesting to see the GE progress-- thanks for sharing these examples

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jul 29, 2021

Thanks for the comment, Matt.

There are several "green fuels" that can potentially be used in the future. from the last bullet at the top of page 2 of this post.

100 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Hydrogen capability in scope

However I'm guessing green or blue ammonia (ammonia made from green or blue hydrogen) might be a good fit. It has been burned directly in combustion gas turbines (go through link below), and only emits water vapor and nitrogen.

https://power.mhi.com/news/20210301.html

Although sustainable aviation fuels are currently available, I doubt that they are "100%..."  Hydrogen (even liquid hydrogen) takes up too much volume for current airframes. Ammonia is the highest density carrier of hydrogen. Assuming it is burned directly, no cracking is required.

-John

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