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Zero-emissions flying

  • by JW

Emissions from the transport sector account for around 14% of global emissions.


Here’s a very important question:


How can long-haul transport lower its carbon footprint?

Emissions from the transport sector account for around 14% of global emissions.1 Passenger vehicles account for around half of these carbon emissions from transportation and are therefore a key focus of climate policies, including through vehicle electrification. However, while such personal transport accounts for half of transport emission, long-haul movement is responsible for the remainder, with aviation registering at 12%, trucks 29% and shipping at 11% of overall transport emissions. Finding solutions to reduce emissions from these activities is therefore essential to ensure the decarbonisation of the transport sector as a whole.

Although the goalposts are clear — to stick to the guidelines of the 2015 Paris Agreement greenhouse gases (GHG) related to transport must be halved by 2050 — heavy duty transport emissions continue to rise. The aviation industry has seen fuel burn per passenger-kilometre drop by half since 1990 but absolute emissions have risen 70% since 2005 and are not on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Net-zero means any emissions released must be met by an equal amount taken from the atmosphere…

How to lower carbon emissions for long-haul travel | Lombard Odier


And here’s a possible answer:


Zero-emissions aeroplanes that use AMMONIA as jet fuel rather than kerosene could take to the skies ‘within years’, British scientists claim

  • Ammonia burns less easily than kerosene-based fuels and so could be safer
  • To be used to power an engine, ammonia needs to be burnt along with hydrogen 
  • This can be released from ammonia itself by applying heat and a special catalyst 
  • Heat exchangers and catalytic reactors could be added to a jet with few changes
  • The ammonia-based fuel would only produce water vapour and nitrogen waste 

Zero-emissions aeroplanes could take to the skies ‘within years’ thanks to British scientists who are developing technology that will allow them to run on ammonia. The collaboration between Oxford-based Reaction Engines and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council could see ammonia replace kerosene as jet fuel. Unlike kerosene-based jet fuel, ammonia is less of a fire hazard and burns without releasing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change.

Aeroplanes could be fuelled by ammonia with zero emissions | Daily Mail Online


And both the mainstream and professional press seem quite excited:

‘Zero emissions planes’ a step closer after ammonia breakthrough

UK Scientists Develop Ammonia-Run Airplanes that Has Zero Emissions | Tech Times


With some more ideas for the future here:

The Future of Flight – Three energy futures (Electric, Hydrogen or just less?) | Energy Central


photo: Page 53 | Royalty free shows photos | Pikist