DISCUSSION – Despite the ongoing pandemic it appears that world travel whether for pleasure or business has failed to cease. It is also no surprise that within over 100 years of aviation there are increasing concerns regarding emissions due to increased commercial use. On December 6th, 2021, the UK showcased a new technology that could potentially allow for non-stop zero emission transatlantic flights. FlyZero was developed in efforts to eliminate the carbon footprint that aircraft provide for a full zero-emission design in the future. FlyZero indicated that the UK goal is to decrease carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 (compared to 1990 levels) with a target of net zero by 2050.
FlyZero illustrates a concept aircraft utilizing green liquid hydrogen. What is particularly useful about liquid hydrogen, is its lightweight capability, increased energy, and above all offers no emission of CO2. Long-haul flights are particularly targeted as they are the future of air travel. However, liquid hydrogen isn’t solely the answer for limiting emissions. FlyZero seeks to develop cryogenic fuel systems, fuel cells, hydrogen turbines, wings without fuel tanks, and new airport/aviation infrastructure. 2022 is targeted for research to unfold on a regional, narrowbody and midsize aircraft concepts.
The population of Earth nears 8 billion persons, many of the emissions of concern for CO2 have been attributed to the burning of fossil fuels and other chemical reactions entering the atmosphere contributing to an increase in greenhouse gases. Much of these gases can stay in the atmosphere for several years to hundreds and even thousands of years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a 2019 estimate of emissions by source indicate transportation as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as a staggering 35%. Transportation includes: personal vehicles, marine vehicles, rail, and aviation related means. The EPA details various methods for reducing carbon dioxide emissions which include: energy efficiency, energy conservation, fuel switching, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), and changes in uses of land and land management practices. Here, fuel switching being a way to develop additional energy by using fuels which could reduce emissions, such as liquid hydrogen.
© 2022 Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
For more information on this emerging aviation technology and original posting visit FlyZero.
For information on an overview of greenhouse gas emissions visit the EPA