The Aviation Blog

It is set to be a critical year for the world’s commercial aviation sector. By the end of 2016, the International civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN agency, will endorse a global standard for CO2 that all new aircraft will have to meet. This year, the ICAO will also approve the industry’s first worldwide carbon-offsetting scheme.

“All the new regulatory frameworks are going towards reducing emissions and potentially imposing higher costs for emitting carbon” Julie Felgar, head of environmental strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says. “The aviation industry has to respond to that reality”.

In the long term, by investing in new aircraft technologies, better fuel efficiency and enhanced in-flight operating procedures, the sector aspires to cut its net CO2 emissions to half of its 2005 levels by 2050.

julie felgarQ: What technology has the greatest potential to make aviation more sustainable?

A: Sustainable aviation biofuel is by far the most disruptive thing that can happen to help us achieve our environmental goals. When it’s produced under optimum conditions – reducing net CO2 emissions while meeting other socioeconomic and green criteria – sustainable aviation biofuel reduces CO2 emissions by 50 to 80% on a gallon for gallon basis compared to petroleum jet fuel. The level of emission reduction is staggering.

Q: How are airlines preparing for biofuels?

A: Aviation biofuel is not a science experiment – it is real and it is a genuine alternative to fossil fuel. Three types of aviation biofuel have been approved so far. Approved biofuel is blended directly with petroleum jet fuel and used in airplanes. Biofuel is safe and has been used in as many as 2000 flights already. Aviation biofuel can safely power any commercial airplane flying today. Biofuel is happening much faster than other alternative energy sources.

The original article can be found in the Time printed edition of the 18th January 2016


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