De-carbonisation of air transport is ON

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 20, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week was a game-changing week for air transport. Three events synchronized to trigger it.

EU presented 13 policies to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with concrete steps in-between. On the same day, the airframe and engine OEM’s CTOs said in a Farnborough Connect webcast: “It’s a commitment problem, not a technical problem to achieve the EU goals.”

This happened against a backdrop of European floodings, which made all discussions about climate change or not moot. Super-organized Germany lost over 100 persons to typhoon like rains, never seen before, that produced scenes like these:

Figure 1. Farnborough Connect, from top-left: Moderator Johnson, Boeing’s Hussein, GE’s Lorence, Rolls-Royce’s Stein, SAFRAN’s Dalbier, Raytheon Technologies’  Russel, and Airbus’ Klauke.

EU’s plan to achieve net-zero by 2050

The presented EU policies encompass all sectors of the economy and trade. Air transport is just one area that gets concrete targets. The centerpiece of the EU scheme is that companies pay for their pollution. We can, therefore, expect CO2 taxes and other means to increase the cost of using carbon-based fuels for all industries.

Concrete for air transport is a demand for increased use of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel, a CO2 neutral jet fuel). The SAF share at EU airports must reach 2% by 2025, 5% by 2030, 32% by 2040, and 63% BY 2050.

The CTO panel at Farnborough Connect (Figure 1) all agreed this is not a technical problem. It’s a supply ramp-up challenge, as all OEM’s have their new aircraft cleared for a 50% SAF blend now and expect 100% certification within short.

CTO panel on countering Climate Change

The CTOs from Airbus (Sabine Klauke), Boeing (Naveed Hussein), GE (Chris Lorence), Raytheon Technologies (Mark Russel), Rolls-Royce (Paul Stein), and  SAFRAN (Eric Dalbier) all agreed on the immediate solutions to lower the carbon footprint:

  • More efficient air traffic routing. It’s the fastest way to lower greenhouse gas emissions with a potential for an immediate 10% reduction, affecting 100% of the worldwide fleet, young and old. The blockings of ATC change in Europe or other places are no longer acceptable.
  • The introduction of new, more efficient airliners. The relationship between fuel burn and CO2 emissions is one to one, so a 20% efficiency gain for a next-generation aircraft is a 20% CO2 emission gain.
  • Use SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) to reach short-term goals. It’s not a technical problem (all the new aircraft and engines accept a 50% blend today and 100% tomorrow); it’s a supply problem. To secure supply, massive investments are necessary. We are at 0.4% SAF share today and need to reach 2% for intra-EU flights by 2025.
  • As the cost of producing SAF is high, it will not reach today’s Jet fuel levels, even in the longer term. Hydrogen promises lower cost once it scales. It’s why some CTOs see hydrogen as a longer-term complement, with Airbus as the main proponent of this complementary technology.

Rolls-Royce’s Stein said: “We fully support a blend mandate. It provides the certainty for the Oil and Gas industry to invest to the scale required. Can the scale-up be done? Of course, it can be done! Just look at how the World has re-industrialized to produce billions of doses of vaccine.”

Boeing’s Hussein added, “What we need is political certainty and stability. The industry is prepared to invest if it knows the regulations stay stable. With stability, this kind of investment is possible.”

What a difference in just a few years

Listening to the CTOs, I was amazed by the change of tone I experienced. They all agreed, and no one had a diverting meaning.

I started writing about Greener air transport at the Le Bourget Air show 2017, where Siemens presented its ambitious electric aircraft program. At the time, airlines and OEMs debated the urgency of making changes for lower emission, beyond what lower fuel burn for next-generation aircraft would give. And, if changes were necessary, what do to was all over the place.

Now, four years later, we have a 180° change in attitudes. Air Transport has a 100 years history, and in the last four of these, airlines and the rest of the industry go from “Is change necessary, and what then to do?” to “It’s now, it’s SAF, and we better get going!

No doubt, the last years’ pictures of devastating fires in Australia and the US West coast, and now the floodings in Germany have made climate change clear to everyone.

As long as icebergs broke loose from the Arctic or Glaciers gradually disappeared, it concerned us, but it was far away. Now, if climate devastation can hit “Super-organized Germany,” then it can strike anyone.

Politicians no longer risk re-election by diverting funds to fight climate change. It’s the key change. The grand public gets it (some never will, but who cares any longer…), and change must happen now. It can get gruesome before it gets better.

192 Comments on “De-carbonisation of air transport is ON

  1. Luckily, in addition to discussions on emission reduction, there is now also additional discussion of industrial carbon capture:

    On another note: the oceanic depression that caused last week’s heavy rainfall in central Europe is a very common summer occurrence in Ireland. A deformation of the jet stream has been deflecting wet weather from its normal Irish course and re-directing it toward central Europe — giving the Irish an uncommonly pleasant summer and the central Europeans an uncommonly wet one. Jet stream deformation is nothing new: it occurs at various places at different times and to different extents. Hence, pointing a finger at climate change is, in this particular case, somewhat “trigger-happy”.

    In contrast: increasing drought worldwide is far more systemic, and a far more probable indicator of climate change.

    • The change of the jet stream was discussed by a German climate expert, it’s not a new thing. It’s the amount of humidity that the air can carry that is new, this makes the rainfall more intense than it ever had been and caused unprecedented flooding. The German flooding system could see the change of the jetstream, it could not predict the unprecedented intensity of the rain, however. It’s never been this intense before. The humidity change is due to a warmer climate.

      • I don’t doubt that the air can now carry greater humidity due to climate change, and that heavier rainfall is becoming more concentrated in shorter time periods, but a single event like this can have other, more-regular causes.

        I have friends living in southwestern Ireland, and they regularly get Atlantic depressions in summer, with as much rainfall as this. The depression that caused the flooding in Europe veered from Ireland, and then remained stationary above the Benelux / west Germany for several days because it was pinned in place by large high-pressure areas above Scandinavia / eastern Europe. Some meteorologists are pointing to climate change, but others point out that there are other explanations in this particular case.

        However, there’s no point in arguing about it. If this particular occurrence has served to put climate change more firmly on the agenda, then that’s a good thing.

      • In the early 2010s, climate scientists began observing a pattern of a weakening in the jet stream leading to what is termed “blocking”. The weakening is characterized by deep loops in the the jet stream which permits weather patterns to dwell on a particular location. The result is events like the polar vortex, European heat waves of a couple years ago, and this flooding event arguably. As Science magazine wrote in 2020:

        “Few weather phenomena are as widely experienced—but poorly understood—as an atmospheric block. When a block arises, typically at the western edge of a continent, the jet stream splits, trapping a blob of seemingly static air thousands of kilometers across. Such blocks can last for weeks, and drive heat waves, drought, and winter cold snaps. At the same time, the persistent flows around the edges of a block can route storm after storm to the same spot.”
        — “Why does the weather stall? New theories explain enigmatic ‘blocks’ in the jet stream” Paul Voosen, Science, Mar. 5, 2020.

        Climatologist Katherine Hayhoe of University of Texas, who was lead author of the US National Climate Assessment, argues that we should change the language from “Global Warming” to “Global Weirding” as weather patterns will be dramatically changing worldwide.

        • Global Catestrophic Climate De-stabilization seems all encompassing to me…

    • I don’t know if you noticed but if you went to the opening page lead article is “Power to Liquids Explained” . Here is a permalink.

      The link you provided discusses a very specific form of carbon capture that is of no use in PtL. (Power to Liquids) and I think the article is poor in that it clumsily conflates several different technologies and condemns them all on the basis of only one specific type used in enhanced oil recovery.

      That system uses lime water (Calcium Hydroxide) to capture atmospheric CO2 and then releases the CO2 from the resulting calcium carbonate solution by heating with natural gas in the calcination reaction using cement kilns. It was developed to provide CO2 for enhanced oil recovery in remote locations where water was not practical. The amount of energy used in the natural gas renders it pointless to use for PtL which is designed around renewable or nuclear energy. I think the purveyors of this technology would like to use it to sell carbon credits (to airlines for instance) by using it to sequester CO2 geologically. That will certainly work.

      PtL Power to Liquids uses a number of efficient methods to capture CO2.

      It can use either Potassium or Sodium Hydroxide solution to capture the CO2 and then can release the CO2 either by electrodialysis (which recovers the hydroxide as well) or reaction with a acid and then conversion of the salt back into the alkali. Its been used at a significant scale since the 1970s. ZSW made large amounts of methanol this way.

      Alternatively the CO2 is absorbed onto amines in a ceramic matrix and recovered with mild heating (80C-100C). Proven and in production by the swiss company climeworks.

      I’ve been tracking this technology since 1990 and it goes back to 1970.

      The reason PtL is not in use is because there is no source of energy available to make it cheaper than oil. The EU and Germany will be mugged by reality as energy costs sky rocket. Already some industries are leaving Germany.

      During the Vietnam War the USAF noticed a problem called ‘target fixation’ where pilots became so fixated on the target that they forgot to fly the aircraft and crashed. Perhaps its a form of confirmation bias or the tendency to polarise but there is trend to morally condemn anything that doesn’t use batteries as impure.

      • The point I was trying to make is that industrial carbon capture is starting to get attention on mainstream media — even if that is currently in a manner that is sub-optimal. The CNBC article was from just this morning, so it was an apt illustration of that fact. Two days ago I saw an AlJazeera interview with a climate scientist at the Dutch KNMI: the man calmly and clearly pointed out that reducing emissions is great, but that it does absolutely nothing to address the *current* climate problem — I think an awful lot of people aren’t yet aware of that fact.

        I construe industrial capture broadly to include storage underground and/or conversion into useful carbon-containing materials such as fuel.

        • I see your point. I reread the article. It does try to be balanced but the writer misses some distinctions in CCS, CCUS. and DAC.

          It’s almost impossible to discern the real people (founding donors) behind groups such as CIEL as they are hidden behind a wall of Trustees and professional executives in the NGO Activist Charity area and eventually become ideologically captured. Who knows what really goes on in these peoples heads but they have time and money to lobby.

          The funding of offsets whereby CO2 is captured and geosequestered is clearly a way that a SAF type fuel can be created.

          It’s clear is that CCS geosequestraion despite being effective is an interim process and one of many solutions that will work together. I couldn’t find anyone who seriously says otherwise in the CCS business. The industry and technology has made many advances and can make a big impact. I think the problem is primarily purist ideological rather than driven by a desire to achieve net zero emissions. A sort of cut of the nose to spite the face over reaction.

          • C’est bon!
            The important thing is that policy makers adequately realize that carbon capture is the only solution to *today’s* problem, and that emissions reduction only serves to (somewhat) reduce a future worsening of today’s problem.
            Of critical relevance: every dollar spent on one of these approaches is a dollar that is not available to spend on the other approach.
            My experience is that climate activists resist industrial carbon capture because they (like to) believe that it’s just a “lazy man’s” excuse to avoid emissions reduction.

  2. I suspect that the EU’s demonstrated willingness to force automakers to change with the threat of multi-billion-€ fines has also played a part…

    • Just look at the weight and power of the average car these days and you will see that the EU has no serious interest in reducing vehicle emissions

      • VW Golf Mk 1 weighed 750kg(1650lbs). The current Mk 8 is 1,255–1,465 kg (2,767–3,230 lbs. They did still improve fuel consumption a lot, around 35% less on a Mk 8 TSI golf Ofcourse cars are now much bigger than the golf.

        One could argue that the Polo Mk 6 is the successor at a mere 1,105–1,355 kg (2,436.1–2,987.3 lb)

        • One could equally argue that the true successor is an SUV, the tiguan. 1500kg – 2000 kg. Brick shaped and powered by 150 ps – 300ps.

          • The true successor of the Golf is the ID.3


            I got mine last November. It’s a fantastic car and reminds me of the day when my parents got one of the earliest Golf back in 1974. It was orange!
            Because of the battery it is a lot heavier than any other Golf, and also offers more space inside, more like a Passat, but I can live with both, as it runs on 20 kWh per 100 km. Compared to Gasoline that is 1/3 of the energy, and if you include the energy it takes to produce oil and transport and refine it, it’s 1/6.

            In Germany we are at 50% regenerative electricity this year, by the way.

          • @Gundolf

            I read that EVs have to be driven further, owned longer to offset embedded carbon.

          • In 2000, we virtually-designed with two European Tier One engineering firms a competitive (<2y retail payback) midsize SUV getting 2.06 L/100 km (114 mpge) with hydrogen or 3.56 L/100 km (67 mpg) with a Prius-style but 1-L hybrid powertrain. Met or exceeded all attributes of the base vehicle (Audi SUV) except towing. Curb mass was 873 kg, and would be <700–740 with today's technology. Details at

          • Modern airliners with a high load factor are able to deliver about 2.36 L per 100km per seat.
            That beats the socks off of most current single-occupancy (and even double-occupancy) vehicles using IC engines.
            So, when considering a ski weekend, John and Jane will be more fuel-efficient if they fly rather than drive.

          • VW ID.3, surely one of the most practical EV because of its more affordable steel body and VW know how in mass production still required 9000 Euro to make it attractive. That’s not to mention the whip hand on VW forcing them to sell cheap or under cost. EV have a long way to go and so do the batteries. Some say 5 years, I suspect more like 10. For one they will need a reluctance motor to get rid of the rare earth magnets.

        • Then again, Toyota’s concept 1/X in 2007 had the interior volume of a Prius but weighed 420 kg, and would have weighed 400 kg with a Prius powertrain rather than PHEV. Such carbon-fiber vehicles can be mass-produced at competitive cost with ~2013 technology, as BMW proved (see my 2020 SAE paper at Indeed, same for airplanes: DARPA’s affordable-composites program in the early ’90s developed a JSF airframe design that was 95% carbon composite, ⅓ lighter, but ⅔ cheaper (at T100) than the 72%-metal base design. The production machines have been available from Dieffenbacher (Fiberforge line) since 2013, offering 3x3m complex structural parts with 1-minute cycle time. What are we waiting for?

          • I think @Pedro was referring to the carbon footprint associated with mining the raw materials needed to produce the EV’s batteries.
            And, of course, there’s the fact that — in most countries — the electricity used to charge the EV is far from 100% green.

            Accusations of “a simplified propaganda lie of the oil industry” can always easily be countered by accusations of “a simplified propaganda lie of the activist green movement”, so it’s best not to go down that road.


          • William, FWIW, the marginal sticker price of BMW’s electric 2013 i3 was ~$6,275 (2014 $) for 124 mpge. A steel body is not actually “more affordable” on a whole-car basis: as explained in my 2020 SAE paper at, the i3 paid for its carbon-fiber body (which offset both the weight and the cost if its batteries) by needing fewer batteries and by radically simpler manufacturing. VW, whose CEO supported that project when at BMW, could do likewise.

            I agree about reluctance motors, and am pleased to see one—actually including small embedded magnets in an unusual geometry to form a unique hybrid motor—paired with an induction motor in Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y. Very clever motor. But the magnets are not actually necessary for high performance, and Tesla only recently started using them.

            No reputable EV maker would risk needing new batteries in 5–10 y; they must outlast not just the warranty but generally a nominal ~15-y ownership, or the business model goes sour. That’s why they use extremely sophisticated sensors and software to monitor charge, current, voltage, temperature, and other status indicators to keep them well within ranges that don’t degrade life. Your suspicions are not supported by the abundant data.
            – ABL

          • @Gundolf, The NY Times article you pointed to provides an unreferenced graph that claims 17 tons of emissions for a Tesla 3 and 30 tons for a Toyota Camry (a larger car) after 5 years with a cross over point at 3 years.

            No annual distance driven is given for the 5 year period, the variant of the Camry used is not given (bigger motor worse for Camry), the battery size of the Tesla model 3 is not given (smaller better for Tesla 3) nor is the component of nuclear electricity and renewables is given.

            Looking a the graph at the end of the article showing emission of the “Camry” versus “Tesla 3”

            If the Camry were the hybrid type its emissions would nearly halve along with its fuel consumption and the slope of the Tesla and Camry curve would be the same. The camry would never excede the Tesla. The emissions from the additional cost of the electric motors and battery would be very small since both the battery and motor on the Camry are small (about 1/4th the size of the Tesla. The Hybrid Camry would win.

            Toyota had very carefully analysed the life costs of conventional cars, hybrid and electric and had concluded that hybrid was by far the best given the realities. Perhaps in Iceland, full of hydro and geothermal power its different.

            I think the simplified propaganda of the NYT obscures that.

            I should add that the responsible thing to do is to drive a smaller car than a a Camry or Tesla 3. A Corrola (would probably beat a Tesla 3) or a Hybrid Corolla or best a Prius which would blow the Tesla out of the water.

          • MIT has an interactive tool, called CarbonCounter, which looks at lifecycle CO2 emissions and lifecycle costs for Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, and ICE vehicles. See here:

            The tool uses methodology published in this paper:

            Personal Vehicles Evaluated against Climate Change Mitigation Targets, Miotti. et al, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2016, 50, 20, 10795–10804

            This Youtube video from 2016 explains the tool:
            CarbonCounter: Online app allows consumers to research low-emissions vehicles

            The tool is updated on a yearly basis. It also has the capability to conduct parametric studies to estimate the effect of technological advances.

            It is a nifty tool which lets one compare different vehicles. For example, in terms of lifecycle cost the Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV and Volkswagen Passat currently have similar total cost of ownership of Chevy Bolt, BMW i3 and Tesla Model 3. And note the cost for the Model 3 is without tax incentives.

            This tool would be a good one to reference rather than the speculation which is being made here.

          • @Amory Lovins In respect of the 5-10 year time line I was referring to the time it would take batteries to become affordable not battery life.

            In regards to carbon fibre bodies. They may well be justify themselves but I would note the following: As battery prices drop and battery performance increases carbon fibre bodies provide less of an advantage in terms achieving acceptable EV range performance and probably increase initial purchase costs even while reducing overall running costs in the long term.

            In addition VW is faced with achieving a rapid rollout and mass production without building new types of factories, developing a new supply chain, new skills and new system of crash damage repair with a newly trained population and dealing with the fallout of the damage to the existing supply chain. That would take at least a decade and squander existing investment. The CFRP can come latter and the money saved on retooling best put elsewhere.

            @Jeff Brenner. Thanks for the link to the carbon counter. The Tesla model 3 shows a spectacular efficiency advantage (KWHr per distance) over other EV over similar size but it is also more expensive to run and purchase suggesting it is heavy investment in expensive technology that achieves this.

            Nevertheless the hybrid cars perform as well as EV according to the chart in many cases better.

            Key will be making EV affordable and that means low initial purchase price not life time costs predicated on certain usage patterns. Finance ore large up front cahs is just not an option for many people.

            EV often escape fuel taxes that fund roads and that will increasingly become an issue, a very major one.

            Noteworthy is how much the USA relies on nuclear (nearly 20%) and how Green California has really used natural gas as much as renewables to replace nuclear.

          • Both Airbus and Boeing have had expensive lessons learned by incorporating new composite materials and production methods before sufficient characterization and testing had occurred. Fortunately, these past lessons learned did not result in any accidents or loss of life, but in the case of Airbus it was very close. For Boeing, the 767 introduced aramid (kevlar) fibers on its secondary structure sandwich panels which were found to be susceptible to the ground-air-ground thermal cycling resulting in absorption of water in the sandwich core. Airbus had a similar problem on the early A300/A310 rudders with the result being an inner facesheet delamination precipitating a flutter event where the rudder departed the airplane.

            In my own 35 year career at Boeing Commercial, I worked on one particular composite material development program in the early 2000s that had completed all specification and allowables tests, costing several million dollars, when the material failed a critical fluid sensitivity test.

            The delay is frustrating to outsiders (and insiders alike I might add) but much of that is due to the expense of testing the materials and the manufacturing processes, including characterizing any specification permitted manufacturing anomalies (like wrinkles which would be seen in a formed/pressed part).

            Composite materials have the capability to provide lightweight and low-cost structure through the ability to integrate small parts into larger components. Importantly when integration occurs the components still need to provide a degree of fail-safety and damage tolerance equivalent to heritage metallic designs. Bonding and structural repair is process critical. Structural bonding should it be used to integrate parts must maintain fail safety should the bondline fail.

          • “No reputable EV maker would risk needing new batteries in 5–10 y;[sic]”

            Not true. According to Renault, its est. battery life is between 8 to 10 years.

  3. This is the perfect moment to act Unfortunately politics doesn’t work like that. Airliners are flying around half empty, American airlines are planning huge expansion and my local airport at Southampton actually used the pandemic as a reason to push through a runway extension!
    Growth is going to have to be constrained,but the 2050 date is a conveniently long way off.

  4. SAF is the wrong good idea. Not only it is not sustainable for the planet, it is an old idea applied to the wrong problem with bad mathematics.

    Hydrogen is a better idea in the long run but not as it is currently done.
    Carbon (CO2) capture and its usage to make SPK (the best SAF) using cleanly-produced hydrogen is the future of the planet.

    To do so fossil fuels must get a recycling tax and all efforts must go in that direction.

    Commercial electric aircraft are a ecological scam when you start to do proper mathematics.

    • The fossil fuels are energy sources. ( beyond their carbon freight and the fact they are not replenishable 🙂

      Anything carbon neutral for the future will have to be a type of energy storage “thing” used in a closed loop.
      Hydrogen as an energy storage “thing” comes with abysmal system efficiency and at the moment no outlook for major improvements.
      The only advantage hydrogen has today is higher power density
      and faster “charging”.

  5. This article doesn’t say that the EU have agreed the use of more modern, fuel efficient airliners, a panel of representatives of those aircraft’s manufacturers have ‘agreed that’. They would. But they have no authority over that issue, nor the one about ATC.
    It would be interesting to know the likely price hike of a tonne of fuel with 2% SAF and 5% SAF blends. That would serve as a mild incentive to operators to get rid of inefficient aircraft, but if better ATC came along the incentive would reverse – it would encourage the retention of older equipment.

  6. It has been long acknowledged that the greatest uncertainty in climate modeling has been the effect of clouds and the projection on how cloud covering might change in a warmer world. Climatologists who argue for low climate sensitivity have postulated that cloud formation might limit warming to the lower bounds of the projected range of 1.5C to 4.5C for a doubling of CO2.

    New research is showing that a particular type of cloud formation, contrails from aviation, are a particularly nasty form of clouds with the result that the direct CO2 from aviation is multiplied by a factor of 2x when contrails are taken into consideration.

    How Airplane Contrails Are Helping Make the Planet Warmer
    “Civilian aircraft currently emit about 2 percent of anthropogenic CO2 and, once the effects of contrails are included, cause 5 percent of warming.”

    Sustainable Aviation Fuels, however, have the characteristic of higher purity, without the low vapor aromatics, and longer molecular chains which result in a cleaner fuel with fewer soot particles which serve as nucleation for ice crystal formation.

    NASA-DLR Study Finds Sustainable Aviation Fuel Can Reduce Contrails
    “Cleaner-burning jet fuels made from sustainable sources can produce 50%-70% fewer ice crystal contrails at cruising altitude, reducing aviation’s impact on the environment, according to research conducted by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).”

    So if the EU properly assigns a higher cost to aviation fuels for the cumulative impact to global warming, we would see the economic incentives for the massive investment in sustainable aviation fuels.

    And it would be massive investment as we would need to build 170-270 SAF production facilities every year between 2020 and 2050, amounting to $60 – $87 billion per year, to meet the industry’s stated decarbonization goals.

    • All of this is pure speculative BS with a pseudo-scientific base

    • With the absence of aviation from the sky’s for so long the so called ‘climatologists’ will have extremely good data regarding the effect of contrails hence the articles you posted will be out of date.

      Of course we are also may be getting the long awaited reduction in solar activity which may be more to be feared.

      It is interesting to know that synthetic aviation fuels produce 70% less condensation contrails. That is enormous. Synthetic fuel can come from waste oils, biogas and PtL. Synthetics benefit everything soot, NOX, condensation etc.

      • More BS. Contrails are the water vapor that is produced by burning CmHn with O2, and their mass/volume is a result of the energy released. To put it simple: Same plane, same contrail, no matter which fuel.

        Besides, Contrails are NOT our biggest problems. Not by a wide margin.

        • Water vapor is invisible: it only becomes visible when it has a nucleation site to allow it to condense as droplets. Mr. Berner’s comment was (partially) directed to that point.

          More rude, auto-dismissive proselytizing by “our way or the highway” green activists.

          • Indeed Synthetic jet fuels and diesels are produced by catalytic Fischer-Tropsch reaction and contain much more of the open long linear chains of hydrocarbons and few of the heavy closed up cyclic hydrocarbons found in mineral oils. This means they burn more evenly and completely and produce less soot. I’m pretty sure that the soot is a nucleation point for the superheated water molecules.

          • @William
            Did you notice the vehement resistance to anything that is not on the “approved list” of the environmental activist movement? Any discussion of nuclear power meets with a similar response.

            Synthetic fuels are part of a closed cycle as referred to by @Uwe above, whereby the fuel is merely an energy carrier: the fuel is produced by an endoergic process, and its subsequent combustion is an exoergic process that releases usable (e.g. motional) energy.
            Analogously, at a basic level, atmospheric carbon capture closes the loop on fossil fuels — though in a reverse direction, whereby the exoergic release came first and the endoergic capture comes subsequently.

            Very inconvenient to the activists, who like to use aviation as a scapegoat on which to pin the world’s woes.

          • Discussion of nuclear power serves as a sort of litmus test that gives an indication of whether one is serious about truly solving the long term CO2 emissions problem, or more interested in virtue signalling. Nuclear power has it’s pros and cons, just like any other technology. It should be given serious consideration in any realistic long term plan to reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions. When it is dismissed out of hand, it speaks volumes.

          • @Mike: Nuclear power plants have been built with the main intention of producing nuclear bombs, plutonium to be precise. The electricity they have produced has always been the most expensive form of energy and still is. And that has been the case without even including the cost for several thousand years of storing the waste.



            Besides, nuclear waste repository is a huge problem. As far as I know there is not one in operation on this beautiful little planet. In Germany we are trying to find one for decades but so far this search has come to no results partly because of problems with the geology, partly because the people in that area were not pleased at all. But then there is the problem how do you make sure that any repository is safe for a longer period that civilization exist? I have not seen a convincing proposal to that problem yet.

          • @ Gundolf
            Nuclear waste repositories worldwide, from the World Nuclear Association website:

            “Most LLW and short-lived ILW are typically sent to land-based disposal immediately following packaging. This means that for the majority (>90% by volume) of all of the waste types, a satisfactory disposal means has been developed and is being implemented around the world.

            Near-surface disposal facilities are currently in operation in many countries, including:

            UK – LLW Repository at Drigg in Cumbria operated by UK Nuclear Waste Management (a consortium led by Washington Group International with Studsvik UK, Serco, and Areva) on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
            Spain – El Cabril LLW and ILW disposal facility operated by ENRESA.
            France – Centre de l’Aube and Morvilliers operated by ANDRA.
            Sweden – SFR at Forsmark operated by SKB.
            Finland – Olkiluoto and Loviisa, operated by TVO and Fortum.
            Russia – Ozersk, Tomsk, Novouralsk, Sosnovy Bor, operated by NO RAO.
            South Korea – Wolseong, operated by KORAD.
            Japan – LLW Disposal Center at Rokkasho-Mura operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited.
            USA – five LLW disposal facilities: Texas Compact facility near the New Mexico border, operated by Waste Control Specialists; Barnwell, South Carolina; Clive, Utah; Oak Ridge, Tennessee – all operated by Energy Solutions; and Richland, Washington – operated by American Ecology Corporation.

          • @Bryce, of course I meant a repository for highly radioactive waste, not low level waste as you have listed.

          • @Gundolf. You said “ Nuclear power plants have been built with the main intention of producing nuclear bombs, plutonium to be precise.”

            Commercial reactors produce not only Pu 239 but Pu 238, about 40%. The presence of Pu 238 makes it impossible to create an atomic bomb because it predetonates the subcritical masses before assembly into a supercritical mass. The P238 is very radioactive and makes it extremely difficult, effectively impossible, to work with. Separation of the Pu 239 from the Pu 238 is far more difficult than separation of U235 from U238 not only because the atomic weights are so close but because of the radiation from the Pu 238. It’s easier to enrich natural uranium. Longer burns and heavy water reactors can slightly reduce the amount of Pu 238 but its still not enough. Weapons grade plutonium has always been produced in specialist reactors that are not commercial.

    • i have extreme scepticism to the wind power the ‘green’ revolution claims to be built on. Wind power is extremely expensive. The industry is built on subsidies, hidden costs that are shifted.

      The CEO of the wind turbine power company or activist will make the claim that “wind power has the lowest load levelized cost of production”.

      This is where a lie by omission begins. “load levelized cost of production” is simply the NPW (Nett Present Worth) of including capital costs, interest, tax, operating costs, spare parts, maintenance etc divided by the amount of KWhr the wind farm produces. over its lifetime.

      Sounds honest right?

      It isn’t because twice as much cost as production is associated with the transmission and delivery of the power for wind turbines again which is much higher than nuclear or fossil fuel. Network costs treble the cost of ‘green’ power.

      A wind turbine probably operates at 30-33% capacity factor and a well site wind turbine might only be producing 50% to 60% of the time. Wind turbines are remote.

      As a result wind turbine power lines are very long and have to be oversized to deal with peak supplies rather than being optimised.

      This make renewables very expensive quite apart from the lack of energy storage.

      Traditional gas turbine and steam turbine networks had about 20% ‘spinning reserve’. If there was a fault on a transmission line they could deliver current to it till it was cleared by the circuit protection, if there was surges in power demand, harmonics or power factor issues they could compensate if there was a failure of an adjacent power station they could deliver more power instantly.

      Wind turbines and solar can’t do this and rely on conventional backup to do this. Some now add very expensive batteries but not so much as energy storage but to allow them to stabilize the network. Furthermore the switchgear (circuit breakers) of a wind turbine network has to be expensive and very fast and coordinated (by optical fibres) which adds more expense if it is to have a chance at stabillity.

      Its an enormous amount of money, a doubling to consumers. Real poverty.

      When back up power kicks in the gas turbine supplier charges a large amount of money because 1 it causes wear to the turbine to start up, 2 the turbine is not efficient in the first 10-30 minutes and 3 the low usage of the turbine means the capital costs have to be amortized.

      The double lie the green energy providers often participate in is that the compare their supposed ‘low costs’ compared to the peaking backup power provided by gas turbines. Even the base load gas turbines provide spinning reserve that makes wind power possible.

      There are two tragedies these lies have produced.

      The combined cycle gas turbine industry eg GE and Siemens is dead. These combined cycle systems were at 60% thermal efficiency and heading toward 70% thermal efficiency. Even at 60% efficiency they are more efficient alone than wind plus gas turbine backup. The 70% efficient versions would have worked nicely with a electrotyper hydrogen storage system.

      The other effect of this misrepresentation is that it means the true cost of ‘renewables’ versus nuclear is not appreciated. A world of renewable energy will be a cruel one of austerity, elites, measures to deny couples forming and having children.

      Consider powering the electrolysers that will be needed to make carbon neutral steal, concrete, materials, SAF and PtL. They will be operating perhaps 1/3rd of the time.

      • William, much of your anti-wind post is ill-informed, and its conclusion is absurd, but there’s no point replying to it here (which would take even longer than your post) because it’s all entirely irrelevant to this thread about aviation.

        • I can’t see how you consider William’s post to be irrelevant.
          The article above is about SAF, and it’s very prudent to discuss the environmental sustainability of SAF. Wind power is generally sold as being one of the “go-to” ways to generate SAF, so it’s very necessary to discuss wind energy’s full “deck of cards” in order to reveal its true environmental footprint/efficiency.

          The real elephant in the wind power room is: what do network managers do on dull windstill periods during a prolonged big freeze? At the moment, the European ones just revert to Russian gas (for example) — but that’s not “sustainable”, is it? The French don’t have this problem because they have a huge nuclear backbone, but activists don’t like nuclear.

          • Bryce, you are also ill informed. France is building wind power like crazy as nuclear power is getting far too expensive, while wind and solar energy are getting cheaper every year. Of course you over-build wind power, as it is variable, but even then it is the cheapest electrical energy ever produced. France is a large enough country so that if there is no wind in the North, there is in the South. Then there’s solar power and to even out peaks and troughs you use water pump reservoirs, bio mass (methane) and batteries like Tesla has built in Australia.
            Not only activists don’t like nuclear. No sane person likes nuclear, except those who strive to produce fissile material for nuclear warheads, those inside the nuclear industry and those who can’t admit that they have been lead along all those years. It’s by far the most expensive and the most dangerous way of producing energy. That’s why it is dying.

          • Gundolf, you are ill informed. That’s my argument.

          • @Gundolf.

            1 The fact that France is building wind turbines in response to a EU dictate means that win turbines are cost effective. It just means that France is offering subsidies to promote the construction of wind farm while at the same time threatening penalties.

            2 Wind Turbines work reasonably well when they are 10% of energy production because at that time the spinning reserve of turbine based systems covers for their unstable power and lack of spinning reserve. Furthermore at this phase there are usually near established over dimensioned power lines that the Wind Farms can exploit without paying for.

            3 The article you linked to shows graphs that are misleading. Wind Turbines have a a capacity when installed a capacity factor that seldom exceeds 33% much even in good sites. In other words when a wind turbine is rated at 3MW it likely will produce an average of 1MW. It will be hard to get to 40% (1.2MW) so the chart is misleading. The axis is labelled ‘capcity’. On the other hand nuclear and turbine plans have capacity factors of nearly 90%.
            So the wind turbines in those graphs may well have a capacity as much as nuclear in 20 year but you need to reduced the height of those ‘renewables’ bar graphs by a whopping 1/3rd.

            This is all quite tragic. Look at Germany. Its power is now so expensive it is causing hardship for some people and deindustrialising industries. Those industries are moving (likely China) and Germany is actually not reducing emissions but exporting them to other countries. Meanwhile the German birth rate continues to decline as Germans can not afford children or to form families. It seems EV are cheaper and more important than children. 1.3 children per woman means 1-1.3/2 = 35% decline every year of fertile woman. It goes like this 0.65 x 0.65 x 0.65 = 27%. Deutshland Schaft Sich Ab. Bad renewable energy economics is tragic.

            In terms of nuclear waste: there are three types:
            1 Short term waste that must be isolated for 40 years.
            2 Medium term waste that must be isolated for 300-800 years. It consists of items such as the reactor vessel and in some cases the fuel cladding.
            3 Long term wastes. These are transuranic elements with long half lives. They constitute a small component of waste.

            Long term waste has a disposal solution that works. It can be converted to a glass, ceramic or embedded in copper cladding and deep buried. It works but indecision by governments and fear mongering by anti nuclear zealots often delays decision making.

            Certain types of reactor can destroy long term waste and turn it into medium term waste by isolating the transuranic and exposing them to fast neutrons in the outside of the reactor. These include the molten salt reactor and IFR (integral Fuel Reactor). Even the Canadian CANDU heavy water reactors can destroy 60% of long term waste this way. Reprocessing reduces waste volume as well.

            The ideal reactor, the molten salt type can easily reprocess waste and destroy long term waste. HTGCR can also do so. All of these high temperature reactors can very efficiently produce hydrogen via thermochemical water splitting.

            They also don’t suffer from low capacity factors meansing and hydrogen/PtL production facility is efficiently utlised.

          • @William:
            It appears you deliberately mix half-truths with full lies. Let’s start with an easy one: Birth rate in Germany is at 1.57 not 1.3, as you stated.
            It is very easy to find, so why would you put in plainly false information into your ramblings?

            Next one up: There is no molten salt reactor on this planet, and probably never will be. Corrosion, U-233, Tritium,…I really have no time to sort this out, but here’s a good start to read:

            The same is true for high temperature reactors. There is not a single one in operation. One reason is that it produces Plutonium and U-233 besides a lot of really dangerous nuclear waste. Not something you want to have in too many hands, would you?

            EU dictate? Goodness me, where did you get that idea from into your brain? Did you make it up yourself or a you a victim of some propaganda guru? Can you provide any reliable source for that freakish claim? The EU is not a dictatorship. Together with Germany France is the most influential and powerful country in the EU? You should not think they can be forced into anything.

            I find your posts very strange indeed and wonder what your background is that you seem to prefer such a weird mix of unsubstantiated fantasies over science and facts.

          • @Gundolf. The defining thing about you is “ad hominem” you attack the person rather than the engage with rhe argument. Ad hominem apart from being unpleasant usually indicates a lack of facts, lack of reasoning and sometimes a hateful personality. I know it’s not just me.

            Let me now deal with your arguments.
            1 reactors. Molten salt reactors use a Thorium/ U232 cycle. There is little plutonium and it is burned up by the reactor as a fuel. The molten salt is a solid basis for separation of transuranics and fission products for reprocessing, reuse and destruction by transmutation of the waste. The small amounts of Pu is a fuel that is destroyed not a waste to be buried. The engineers who worked on the molten salt reactor all said they regarded the pump corrosion issue as a minor one they would solve.

            Nuclear electricity costs, which includes set asides for decommioning and waste disposal in the US is 3c/KWHr which is about 1/5th of the cost of wind power backed by gas turbine.

            2 German birth rates dipped down to 1.24 in 1990
            There is a widget here from the world bank.

            It has seldom gone far above 1.32. The 1.55 you write about occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in the last years.

            It is attributed to “Kindergeld” ie a monetary subsidy.
            In fact is as follows:

            “Experts say Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow immigrants to enter the country six years ago also helped to boost the population in subsequent years.”
            (See link from an Indian news agency below)

            I’ve seen this in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990 when I lived as a child in Germany and latter worked in Germany. There is a huge influx of Gastarbeiter, refugees etc at times provided generous subsidised housing, medical etc and access to Kindergeld and as they often also are from countries which have a cultural tradition of large family this is where the boost in population occurs. It dies of until the next upsurge in immigration.


            Meanwhile the average German labours under high taxes, high fees, high electricity bills, high and expensive home building codes and seems to take 8 years to Finnish a diploma. The result is a fertility rate of about 1.35.

            High regulation has contributed to this “fertility stress” and expensive wind power is yet another stressor.

        • @ Gundolf
          Your posts always sound like marketing campaigns…or, worse still, like sermons.
          We’ve discussed nuclear before: it’s actually undergoing a revival…not dying. It’s a simple matter of choosing between two evils. And spare us the conspiracy-theory talk about “bogey-man” nuclear weapons programs: Japan (for example) uses nuclear power, but doesn’t have a weapons program.


          If you really believe that wind power is the cheapest form of energy, then you surely won’t mind any analysis of such claims…right? After all, if you’re correct, then those analyses will only serve to reinforce your point…right?

          As regards battery farms to store excess energy for the grid: there isn’t even enough readily available lithium for the projected EV industry, not to mind adding huge battery farms to the list. If you want to try extracting the harder-to-get lithium, first calculate its gigantic environmental footprint.

          • @Bryce

            The flood of severe admonitions and commandments the surety of absolute righteousness which perfuses discussions of this subject

            Almost make one long for the silky meander of corporate PR in defending Boeing, for example in the case of the deferred prosecution agreement, or when slyly implying that to posit/prefer a more efficient governance is to adhere to a ‘foreign’ ideology

            Much use of biblical language can be attributed to the need for certainty at any cost to the possible exercise of reason, much to the so called Stockholm syndrome, in which the victim fervently embraces TINA

            Imagine Lubach on this subject!

          • I thought this site was about aviation. Nonetheless:
            – Nuclear power added <6 GW of gross and 0.3 GW of net-of-retirements capacity in 2020. Renewables added 278 GW. Some revival.
            – I hadn't noticed a discussion of proliferation on this site, but to understand the connections, please start with
            – The Japanese case is actually more ambiguous than you suppose, but there are many other countries that cloaked military programs with civilian ones. Decloaking is vital to effective nonproliferation, and would result from energy policies that take economics seriously. See
            – For a factual antidote to the World Nuclear Association's claims, try the annual
            – Windpower analysis is indeed worthwhile, and I'll post some here presently in reply to errors.
            – Utility-scale batteries are the costliest of ≥9 carbon-free grid flexibility resources (sketched at We needn't and won't wait for a storage miracle (though some are emerging).
            – Careful lithium mining, productive use and reuse, and substitution make battery materials implications entirely manageable.

          • Bryce, et al: Careful with your language. Refresh your memories about Reader Comment Rules.


        • “it’s all entirely irrelevant to this thread about aviation.”

          No its actually highly relevant. I also note you are hardly ever on topic. I regard you somewhat as an activist and stage performer that uses the scientific press.

          Aviation will rely on cryogenic hydrogen or carbon neutral PtL fuels.
          They will need to be produced by electrolyzers if powered by wind.

          As the costs of wind power were grossly mispresented it means the cost of hydrogen produced in this manner would also be misrepresented and wind can not power the future.

          The EIA estimates the cost of natural gas production as 6.3 cents/kW.Hr. The EIA Also claims the cost of wind power at 8.2 cents per kW.Hr

          The starting levelized cost was 8.2 cents per kilowatt hour that reflects installation costs of $2,000 per kilowatt of capacity and is based on information from EIA and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. Then, assuming a 20-year life of a turbine rather than the optimistic 30-year life assumed increases the levelized cost to 9.3 cents per kilowatt hour (a recent study using empirical information from the U.K. found that the useful life of wind turbines is actually lower—only 10 to 15 years). After backing out the effect of accelerated depreciation for wind investments the levelized cost increases to 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour. To that is added the cost of keeping gas-fired or coal-fired plants available at reduced capacity to balance the variable performance of wind, adding an extra 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour for natural gas and 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour for coal. Extra fuel for natural-gas fired plants adds 0.6 cents, and for coal-fired plants adds 0.9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Lastly, transmission line investment costs to get new wind power to the electricity grid add 2.7 cents per kilowatt hour. Thus, the total cost for wind power, including the hidden costs, averages 15.1 cents per kilowatt hour for natural-gas fired back-up and 19.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for coal-fired back-up. .

          The Generation of both hydrogen and PtL Fuels for aviation (which makes it relevant) when provided by renewables suffers from the same problems that electrical power costs does: the low utilization factors of the wind power effects an equipment dependent upon it electrolysis, compression, liquefaction and DAC/PtL investment dependent upon it..

          Hydrogen will be needed to drive manufacturing. Iron and Steel smelting, cement calcination, aluminum, nitrate fertilizer, welding and carbon fibre and plastics production.

          Then there is agriculture (tractors and harvesters) which can not be electrical.

          Road Transport is only 27% of emissions and of that less than 2/3rds automobiles. (less than 18% can be saved by the Electric Vehicle).

          Electric cars will make little difference.

          The automobile is actually highly suited to wind power if it is charged not by fast charging but slowly when connected to the grid most of he time during day and night parking.

  7. De – carbonisation is on!
    How long have you been writing about air traffic control reform Bjorn?

  8. John Kerry tells other countries to cut carbon emission “by at least 45 per cent by 2030”.

    I wonder if the U.S. aviation industry is on the right track??

  9. The bad news is that as long as air transport is not CO2 neutral (probably going Hydrogen), it will not come back to pre-pandemic levels or even growing. Taxes/CO2-duties on Kerosene are in the pipeline and will make flying a lot more expensive. To be fair, it will only bring it to a level field with other gas guzzlers. Not sure about the US but certainly in Europe, China and many other key markets you will see massive growth in (electric) high speed rail traffic as a consequence.

    • Electric rail transport is also not CO2 neutral if it is employed in a country that doesn’t use 100% green energy production.
      It certainly isn’t CO2 neutral when you take into account the thousands of kilometers of concrete and steel required to lay down (and regularly refresh) physical infrastructure — something not required by air transport. The carbon footprint associated with all that infrastructure has to be amortized.
      And there are no rail connections to most of the world’s islands: in Europe alone, there are quite a few big ones, such as Ireland, Corsica, Sardinia and Crete, for example. Australia is an island. So are Japan, Taiwan and Borneo. Anyone planning on building a rail link between Singapore and Australia?

      • Wait a second! I thought that economy saving, shovel ready, trans-pacific bridge-tunnel project from California to Hawaii was already under construction!😀

        Seriously though, you make a great point that any fair comparison of the environmental effects between different technologies must be done from cradle to grave. This has been widely publicized for nuclear power for a long time now. Not so much for the “approved” green technologies.

      • @Bryce

        Points well taken

        But, in general, it is widely asserted that continental rail is best both for pax and freight and for the geosphere

        Ovcr cars and planes – let’s not forget boats

        Plus such socially useful means of travel involve creation of such solid infrastructure, and industrial efficiency, not to speak of well measured administrative organisation, that society benefits from this, too

        Put it the other way round – it is in efficiency on display from the privatisation of travel that has brought us to this point

    • For travel times >4h you’d have to tax the hell out of the airline folks to allow railways even get a glimpse of an level playing field. At least thats the situation in europe.

      • Indeed.
        It was “fashionable” to take the train to the climate conference in Madrid (in 2018?), but the trip from typical northern European countries took about 14 hours one-way. A flight, on the other hand, took 2-3 hours.

        More severely: a Dutch student went to China by train 2 years ago, because he felt guilty about flying. It took him 2 weeks, and cost several times as much as a flight. Whether the dated diesel trans-Siberian train had much lower CO2 output than a plane is doubtful.

        • @Bryce

          The new trains are much quicker

          I hate to say this but the new maglevs in China seem to indicate that 600kph is not far off

          Add in – Assuming the ‘authorities’ do not get panicky- the lack of long winded security checks and waits, plus the close to city centre advantage of rail stations

          • @Gerrard
            I think trains are great! The Netherlands has the busiest train network in the EU (and the third busiest in the world, after Japan and Switzerland). However, it has only one high-speed rail line (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp-Brussels-Paris).

            I’m just pointing out that trains are not ideal (nothing ever is). Sure, the high-speed networks connect certain major cities, but outside of that one has to make do with regular rail and/or time-consuming transfers. And when considering *new* networks, it is fair to also look at the environmental footprint of the supporting infrastructure.

            I saw the new Chinese maglev on the web this morning — though there is currently no rail network for it. Very impressive! However, I’m even more impressed by the trans-Tibetan railway that has connected Llasa to Qinghai in China.

            On another note: regular and increasing use is being made of rail links for freight transport between Europe and China. The journey is much faster than ship routes (about 2 weeks), and less expensive than air freight. Unfortunately, because Europe, Russia and China all used different rail gauges, containers have to switch trains at two points along the route.

          • @Bryce

            The freight trains into Germany ex China, mostly I think, are a useful alternative to ships, and air, and rapidly growing in volume

            I think I read somewhere that the next step is a one gauge route, or the use of variable gauges

            I think any decision to institute a decisive move away from air and road, to a concerted upgrade of the high speed network will involves upgrades to the secondary routes, and an overall repositioning of transport policies

            Overall and over time the benefits are multiple of such a system; slowly to replace or displace both plane car and truck as well as the accompanying reformation of social transport and purpose

            Leave the car to the Americans…..they always say they can not build high speed trains, anyway

          • @ Gerrard
            The freight trains from China run into Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK. Pre-CoViD, I think we were up to 14 trains per week, each way.
            They’re an excellent idea, and are heavily used in both directions. However, being realistic, they can’t compete with ships for large-scale freight transport.

            The lack of a decent passenger rail network in the US is striking. The railways there are heavily used for freight, but passenger services are insignificant in most of the country. An awful pity: as you allude to, if you don’t have a car, there often is no other decent option available. The usual argument is that there is little demand for passenger rail services, but I suspect that that may be a “chicken and egg” phenomenon: here in NL, when you provide a new rail service, the demand comes flocking to it.


          • @bryce
            Passenger trains don’t work at all without population density. Population density in the US is 36/sqkm while in the Netherlands it is 510/sqkm. We have states that are eight times as big as your whole country, with fewer people than live in Rotterdam. Even where there is density, trains only work for people who don’t leave the city. This is not most people.

          • @ Peter
            I understand your point, but the population density of Europe as a whole is comparable to that of the US, and yet most of Europe has an extensive passenger rail network.

            Southern California would be an excellent location for an extensive passenger rail network, as would the Bay Area. The passenger services in both of those areas are currently essentially zero.

          • I quite like fast rail. A triumph of rail in the US is its excellent use of rail transport which helps keeps the roads clearer of heavy trucks.

            Spain with massively subsidized high speed passenger rail of a scale exceeding Japan and France can not get enough money from the ticket sales to even pay for running and maintenance let alone pay of the loans. The trains are often unaffordable. Yet it has among the lowest utilization of freight rail.

            High Speed rail is for connecting two large wealthy towns which can support the utilization factors required not rural towns. A High Speed rail link is being developed between LA and Los Vegas. Likely to be successful.

            1 Freight rail is more important
            2 There must be a business case for fast rail, one not built on subsidies or pork barreling. Fast rains are very expensive.

          • Bryce,
            In 2018 the average population density of the United States was 35.73 people/km^2

            The European Union was 111.74 people/km^2, more than 3 times that of the US. So, comparable is not a word I would use.

          • @William

            Your post is US centric to a fault

            ‘there must be a business case for fast rail’ – well…. there must be a long term not simply a short term economic, social and political case, let’s not mention climate change case for once, one not restricted to the merely narrowly defined financial (‘business’)

            The first US railroads were fragile financially despite land grants (what now are called subsidies) and massive capital inflow largely from the British and until industry consolidation late in the century

            Nonetheless the overall effects on economy and society were considerable, most would say beneficial

            Freight is more important than pax in the US, but hardly so in the rest of the world – less car centric, with greater support for social transport

            All infrastructure requires gvmt support planning and operation – read ASCE reports on the degraded state of US infrastructure

            The fact that California has wasted a great deal of money going fairly close to nowhere on an LA SF high speed route over 15 or so years is a poor indication of world wide usefulness and viability of HSR

            Well managed HSR is profitable in all ways, not merely financially, vide Asia and Europe : and in EU is already being played then required as an alternative to shorter distance airtravel – is this unfair interference or discrimination ?

            You could build a functional HSR network over the US for half the money wasted on the non functional and redundant F-35 –

            – if you wish to talk about what is expensive, if you could re learn how to build railroads, if priorities could be put in order

          • @ Mike Bohnet
            I said “Europe”…not “the EU”.
            The former includes much of western Russia, Georgia and Ukraine…aswell as Switzerland and Norway, for example.

            Apart from that: there are plenty of regions in the US with a high population density…even if much of the country is more sparsely populated.

            Here’s a map of the European rail network…pretty extensive!


          • @Mike Bohnet

            That’s an easy one – compare like to like – use contiguous states and do not include Alaska, the EU will not include Greenland or Iceland or…..

            Even without those two the pop dens are indeed comparable

            Your figure for Europe is pre Brexit, by the way

          • @bryce
            “The passenger services in both of those areas are currently essentially zero.”

            You don’t know what you are talking about. In NorCal prior to Covid, BART carried half a million passengers on the average weekday. LA Metro was carrying fewer, 10m a month. This is not the majority of commuters but it is far from “essentially zero”.

          • @ Peter
            BART is a (very dated) metro/subway system, within a specific metropolitan area. It has system-specific rail cars, and can’t be utilized by standard rolling stock. If you want to use that as as example, then compare it to the metro systems in London or Paris, for example (although the RER routes in Paris use rolling stock that is also usable on the national network).

            For comparison to European rail (or rail in other countries), you need to consider Amtrak or Caltrain services. These carry insignificant passenger numbers and have an insignificant route network compared to other countries.

            For example:
            LA-Las Vegas has only 4 trains per day.
            These take an average of 7h 24 m to cover just 368 km — which corresponds to a speed of 49 km/h. The fastest takes 5h 14m.

    • Excise taxes on automotive fuels for road traffic are there to pay for major roads not to fatten governments treasuries. There is usually a smaller consumption tax (GST, VAT etc) added on top of this. Aircraft do not use roads and their upkeep and construction is paid for by landing fees so they shouldn’t pay road fuel taxes. The same applies to shipping, mining trucks etc. Aviation generates revenue by consumption taxes levied on ticket sales and of course taxes on airline profits.

      The objective of some it seems is not to reduce emissions but primarily to self righteously demand punitive taxes by applied to demonstrate their moral superiority. This is human nature.

      If the objective is to reduce aviation emissions the process would be to mandate a percentage of SAF/PtL fuel in aviation fuel and apply taxes to that fuel that doesn’t achieve the mandate and rebates to those that do. Progressively the mandate and tax would be increased (say 2%/year) so that an industry developed. At a certain cross over point cryogenic hydrogen might work.

      • Thanks for raising these points.
        Since aviation doesn’t need linear infrastructure on the ground (roads, rails, canals), there is no need for a levy on aviation fuel to pay for such infrastructure.
        One of the reasons why air tickets can be so cheap compared to train/bus tickets (excluding price stunt campaigns) is that air tickets don’t have to include a contribution toward the huge infrastructure amortization costs associated with rail/roads. The Channel Tunnel between the UK and France is an example of a short length of rail with astronomical infrastructure costs.
        And then there’s the question of VAT on fuel. No commercial entity has to pay VAT on fuel — it’s purely a tax for end users. So private car drivers pay VAT, but commercial bus/trucking/taxi/rail/shipping/flight companies don’t — any VAT pre-paid is subsequently deducted from VAT intake on sales.

        Airlines would do well to start pre-publishing nominal fuel burn / CO2 emissions per 100km per seat for each flight offered, with comparison figures for other modes of transport (including amortization costs of infrastructure) — I think most (potential) passengers would be shocked by how relatively clean air travel is.

        • At this point the quickest way to reduce emissions is to get airlines and air cargo companies to move to more efficient aircraft. B787, B737 MAX, A32x-neo, A220 etc.

          A tax on non carbon neutral aviation fuel needs to be scheduled such that it doesn’t remove to airlines revenue to upgrade while developing SAF and PtL industry. Once the component of PtL is above 1% the chemical engineers in the industry will rapidly perfect its efficient production.

  10. An abject lesson in engineered consent.

    In 1957 Richard Marshall and Earl Kooi created the enzyme glucose isomerase. The enzyme rearranged the composition of glucose in corn syrup and made it into fructose. Later, Yoshiyuki Takasaki patented high-fructose corn syrup in 1971 while working for a government-affiliated laboratory in Japan. It was more expensive than natural sugar therefore the market rejected it.

    Following WW2 US agri policy discriminated against small farmers to favour “agri-industry” whose economy of scale demanded mono-crops such as maize. Prices, naturally collapsed.

    Following an intense lobbying campaign by agribusiness in the US to place limits on imports of cane sugar in the interest of “protecting” domestic sugar producers, in 1982 President Ronald Reagan signed off on legislation that imposed rigorous limits on sugar imports, and sales of high fructose corn syrup sky rocketed and subsequently, so did the waist lines of Americans with the majority obese or morbidly obese with concomitant chronic health issues as it is now an ingredient in almost every foodstuff.

    Thanks to federal “protection” of the domestic sugar industry this has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of “big-agri” annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or “protected” by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by “big-agri”costs consumers $10.

    How is this relevant to airliners? Dear reader, you might well ask! Legislation in most nations will outlaw ICE vehicles within the next 30 years to be replaced by battery powered ones. The biomass feedstock from which ethanol is derived will collapse in value. As with fructose, $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30. Conveniently, the quantity of biomass is roughly that required to substitute aviation fuel and by substituting ethanol for SAF the racket can be perpetuated, grown even. There is the equivalent racket in each country with “big-agri” and “pliant” governments.

    Who are the biggest investors in agricultural land these days? Beyond the Chinese government we find such as Bill Gates ditching his PC for a pitchfork and is now the US’s largest s farmer and also has sizeable chunks of Africa too where DNA modified seeds can be planted without the same scrutiny as elsewhere. The same people appear regularly on “it it bleeds it leads” msm telling us how the world is going to end if we don’t change, like it or not.

    And now new, even higher barriers to entry are erected in the form of “green” airliners to prevent new entrants into the airliner building business so that now only two such entities may be allowed to “compete”. Who benefits and who pays? Look at your fat relative with amputated toes from diabetes or the 13 year old kid next door who can’t climb stairs, the diminishing purchasing power of your wages gone to subsidise your benefactors in the agribusiness to see history repeating. The “Cobra effect”.

    But, the argument is made, the case is closed and no further discussion allowed. What is so fascinating, a masterclass, is just how easy it has been to engineer your consent. And utterly frightening.

    • In regards to the ill informed premature move at banning of ICE vehicles it’s worth looking at what has been happening in ICE.

      Formula 1 in recent years has converted to RCCI piston engines (Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition) engines. Its an idea from the 19030s. Instead of a spark plug these engines inject a easily ignited liquid (eg DME dimethyl ether). As a result they can operate at ultra lean air fuel ratios as low as lambda 2.5:1. F1 is a secretive world (the manufacturers will take the IP to the their mass production cars) but its looks like they’ve achieved 45% thermal efficiency and a 30% reduction in fuel burn on these F1 race engines throughout a race. Mazda is producing one it claims and engine that will be 56% efficient as part of its sky active program and modelling suggests efficiencies of 60% are practical. That is competitive with PEM fuel cells if not actually better.

      A simple calculations suggests the the fuel consumption of current hybrids (44% efficient motors) can be reduced another 25% just from replacing the engine with an RCCI unit. The fuel if PtL would be carbon neutral and produced in suitable regions and transported long distances. It wouldn’t require huge batteries to stabilise supply network wind power. The pluggable hybrid is also showing itself practical allowing about 22 km of electric driving.

      A ban on ICE would disrupt this practical technology that could in conjunction with hybrid technology more than halve fuel burn and make it practical to use PtL fuels. We will need ICE for our earth moving and agricultural machinery and in reality trucking.

      • 60% thermal efficiency for ICE would be approaching the Carnot theoretical limit. That would be a truly impressive feat, if Mazda can do so.

        It sounded like the point of that marketing was that if an ICE can approach the efficiency of an electrical generation plant, then the carbon footprint becomes similar to an EV. But if renewables are used for the EV, then it still has the lower footprint.

        It seems like the move to EV is inevitable, and only the timeline is really in question. ICE may become a niche market as EV once was, with the roles effectively being reversed. But that will require a huge change in infrastructure as well, which perhaps points to a longer timeline.

      • “Mazda is producing one it claims and [sic] engine that will be 56% efficient … ”

        1) The engine with an efficiency of 56% you referred to is *NOT* in production yet. Mazda is still in early research, no different than BA’s NSA/NMA/FSA alphabetical soup.

        2) Mazda has a history of big promise but fails to deliver. Mazda promoted its diesel engine for many years but it struggled to pass stringent U.S. emission requirement. In Australia, owners complained engine oil contamination problems.

        3) Its current most efficient gasoline engine is missing in U.S. market, possibly because of emission or warranty concerns.

        4) According to a UK long term test, the gas mileage of a Mazda3 with its much touted SCCI engine *barely exceeds* that of the same car with regular gas engine: 43 (Imp.) mpg vs. 42.2 mpg (roughly 35.8 U.S. mpg vs. 35.1 mpg)

        • The non SkyActive (Miller Cycle Petrol compression Ignition Engine) had 56 more bhp and the fuel economy test was a “feelings” test driven by a motoring journalists on approximately the same route.

          The numbers achieved in F1 don’t lie. Nor do the Mercedes Benz figures for a HCCI engine in a hybrid which achieved 50% thermal efficiency a decade ago. MB are now referring to these as DiesOtto engines.

          The technology will mature in the next few years.

          • Mercedes gave up development of ICE awhile ago. I guess their management made an informed decision, unlike those barking on the sideline.

          • Furthermore, the tester “found both engines needed to be kept on the boil, and inclines mean frequent downshifts. And, frankly, that’s not quite as pleasurable as it sounds, despite Mazda’s classically slick manual shift. Whereas the engine in, say, a Mazda MX-5 seems to actively encourage you to stretch it out, I found that the Skyactiv-X’s economy-biased gearing, occasional flat spots and so-so soundtrack didn’t make me relish reaching for the redline”
            and little difference in his medium-speed daily driving despite Mazda’s claimed 58 hp advantage.

          • Last but not least, even though Mazda joined an emission pool with Toyota in Europe, it told dealers it had to “slash” MX-5/Miata sales in order to reduce fleetwide CO2 emission and avoid paying EU’s fine. According to Bloomberg: “Mazda Plans Electric Push to Avoid EU Emission Penalties in 2021”

          • @Pedro, First of all the Mazdas with the engines you refer to are not RCCI engines so why are you trying to use them as a way to discredit the RCCI engine?

            It’s not logical. Likewise when you attack the Mazda’s diesels. They are not RCCI engines either.

            The article is from a motoring magazine published 12 months ago in 27 July 2020, its hardly a good source.

            Both “skyactive’ engines in the motoring article are fairly conventional engines. Both the SkyActive-G and the more advanced SkyActive-X use a pseudo miller cycle where the expansion stroke is greater than the compression stroke. This is achieved by manipulation of the aspiration valves, basically some of the intake air is expelled again to reduce the effective compression ratio, avoid suction losses and avoid preignition issues while benefiting from the larger expansion ratio. The more advanced SkyAcive-X is effectively is a stratified charge engine uses petrol with a diesel like compression injection and achieves 56 additional bhp and slightly better fuel consumption.

            Neither are RCCI engines which can achieved much leaner burns of 2.5:1

            The fact that a motoring journalist in a subjective article writes on about how it feels peaky to drive means nothing. Most people drive their cars at a constant speed in cruise control and then only demand power when they need burst of acceleration to overtake. They’re not interested in driving a windy narrow alpine or forest road at high speed changing through gears and endlessly braking and accelerating.
            The fuel economy

            Incidently that magazine voted the Mazda 3 as car of the year.

            EU mandates attack tail pipe emissions and not total emissions.

            The HCCI/RCCI engines can operate at extremely low lambda ratios and so can generate power very efficiently without suction losses. 55% will be achievable and cetainly 50%. Since the form of combustion is deflagration of a homogenous mixture there are non of the issues with diesel style compression ignition where incomplete combustion may develop causing soot and high peak temperatures causing NOX. and the low lamda means high partial load efficiencies.

            In any case the problems with diesel pollution were solved by Sandia Laboratories 2 yeas ago by addition of a Bunsen like shroud over the injectors that ensures vaporization of the fuel before initiation of combustion.


            Most of the problems with diesel and aviation fuels related to poor fuel which has large molecules of cyclic chains that often do not burn and form soot. It causes a qaundry of controlling soot versus NOX. That doesn’t happen in synthetics and could be stopped even in mineral fuels.

            The RCCI engine will achieve around 55% efficiency, it will do so cleanly.

            It’s fairly obvious that the RCCI engine will also work well in a hybrid arrangement since it is excellent at part load performance.

            Hybrids in terms of emissions in the US with 18% nuclear and 10% renewable already compete with the Tesla Model 3.

            As soon as RCCI engines become available and the fuel becomes a blend with carbo neutral PtL fuel, hybrid petrol cars will match the best EV. Incidentally 20kWHr, which will propel an ID3 100km will make about 1.6 Liters of carbon neutral fuel.

  11. Climate changes on a millennial time scale. Raising alarm over one season of rain is a political move, not a scientific one.

    • Last week I witnessed Charlie Munger lament the absence of a Chinese system of authoritarian government in the US, the present kind being an impediment to his personal wealth aspirations. Munger is 97 years old and one of the worlds richest men.

      • @Fastship

        Most people would say Munger has done pretty well in the US – and that those who have generally talk nonsense

        Or is he complaining, do you think

    • Hmpf.

      Her in Germany it has been an ongoing and accelerating process.
      Storms now travel further south and carry increasing amounts of precipitation.
      Apparently the lesser temp diff between arctic and the equatorial belt cause the jet streams to meander much more.

      The catastrophic outcome this year is due to a statistical outlier in precipitation and the continuous process of dereliction and “building housing everywhere”.

      The US is a strong forerunner in the domain of “dereliction of infrastructure” but other western nations follow. 🙂

      • @Uwe
        First of all: very sorry to hear/see what Germany (and Belgium) had to endure last week!
        The situation was greatly aggravated by the geography/topology in the affected areas, which were characterized by steep V-shaped valleys in mountainous terrain with a large catchment area for small rivers. Also, in many cases, housing was present on the valley floor at a bend in the river concerned. The unfortunate people in the affected areas have received a crude reminder that most of the erosion of V-shaped valleys occurs during relatively rare flash flood events.
        A similar depression dumped similar quantities of rain in northeast Germany just two weeks earlier, and it caused essentially no problems — the reason being that the terrain there is flatter, and the rivers broader and slower. That is also the reason why most of the Netherlands got off more lightly, despite record summer water levels in all three of the major rivers entering the country.

        I have absolutely zero doubt that climate change is a serious issue, but it is very difficult to ascribe specific events to climate change; sustained statistical trends are far more reliable indicators. For example, the worst summer storm in recorded Dutch history occurred on August 1, 1674, when a group of supercell thunderstorms spawned tornadoes and giant hail (“as big as cobbles”) over an area covering a large portion of central Europe — but this event obviously is not connected to any form of man-made climate change.

        However, regardless of what actually caused last week’s flooding, it has at least served to draw attention to the subject of climate change. Let’s hope that the subject isn’t hijacked by special interest groups.

        • “””The situation was greatly aggravated by the geography/topology in the affected areas, which were characterized by steep V-shaped valleys in mountainous terrain with a large catchment area for small rivers. Also, in many cases, housing was present on the valley floor”””

          There were floods before, but people did not take it as a warning and they will build and fix their houses till they get flooded again. There should not be housing at all.

          • Leon, you are not well informed. There were warnings in this areas of terrible flooding, but it was not taken really serious because this level of flooding has NEVER happened in Germany before. You understand the word NEVER?
            Of course the villages will be rebuilt. Most villages and cities are build along rivers or along shores. That is how civilization developed. Along rivers and along shores. And that is where climate change strikes. Next time it will be different rivers and different villages. And the intervals from one deadly flood to the next will become shorter and shorter.
            Besides, if you hadn’t noticed, the climate catastrophe that has already arrived is also causing heat waves and fires like have NEVER happened before.
            Those droughts and wildfires will accelerate in increase in size and duration.
            The next big thing coming for us is the rise of the oceans. That’s gonna be some big fun. Just check where the vast majority of the world largest cities are at.

          • @ Gundolf
            And how will wind farms prevent any of these cataclysms?
            Wind farms don’t remove CO2 already present in the atmosphere. Neither do solar panels.

            Off you go: this is the point where you can tell us again about your plan to green the entire interior of Australia with eucalyptus trees. Green-energy-powered desalination facilities on the coast will provide fresh water for irrigation, and this will then be diverted inland using tens/hundreds of thousands of kilometers of canals (which will have to be close-topped, to prevent evaporation losses). Forest fires will be prevented by a team of elves from Harry Potter, who will patrol the area to prevent lightning strikes.
            Have I missed anything?

          • @Gundolf

            The language you use is akin to the language of the Testament Prophets

            NEVER you say has mankind suffered the floods I have seen

            Never is a word you should use with prudence – especially about events in the past you can know nothing about

            Fires that NEVER have happened before?

            As for the rising oceans we do have the story of Noah to testify that this has happened at least once before

            The language of the apocalypse sits un well with the language of the reasoned solution

            You may berate or you may reason – never (it is said) never may one do both

          • Gundolf,

            I spent weeks in Altenahr before, was cycling the Ahr mountains up and down. There was/is the German school for catastrophies, must be karma.
            The state RLP is a joke. People were not seriously warned. Only experts with knowledge of the matter should do the appropiate warning, not clowns. Governments admitted that they made mistakes already.
            Because of so many deaths there now, houses which are completely gone should not be allowed to rebuild, otherwise the society will pay the bill next time again.

          • The Rhine in early medieval times was a meandering slow moving river with flood planes and swamps with animals living along the banks. The German landscape was changed, much as Holland was drained, by straightening rivers, thereby increasing their flow speed and providing no place for water to go but up. Swamps and wett lands were also drained. The rivers were once so slow alluvial gold could be found. Once in a while, every 1o0 years mother nature delivers the conditions to create a dramatic flood. It’s then forgotten until the next time and only the 60 and 70 year old remember.

      • Here on the central coast of California it’s been very humid
        for weeks; close to 70% RH most of the time, which I’ve never seen before here for more than a few days.

      • @Uwe

        Are these climate change ‘catastrophic outcomes’ globalised, i.e. observed in every part of the planet

        Or do they effect/occur in some parts of the planets worser/more often than others?

        Or is the very un eveness of outcome, ‘unpredictability’ , a measure of the catastrophe

        Is there a synthetic globalised recording and accredited (tried and tested) accurate measuring system fully functional and operated by a recognised international agency or authority?

  12. De-carbonisation of air transport is indeed ON and an A350F will improve de-carbonisation simply by replacing the 777F.
    Who believes that an A350F would not burn less fuel than the 777F.
    Bjorn’s conclusion that “An Airbus A350 freighter has to come close to the 104t payload of the 777F” makes me laugh. I would never come to such conclusion 🙂
    Is LNA the new SimpleFlying?

    A step forward is that fuel burn will be certified by EASA and then even LNA will notice that the A350family burns less fuel than the 777family.

    • Hi Leon,

      the question is not if it burns less fuel, which is obvious. Are the operating cost enough lower to motivate the investment in development and production? It’s a small market that doesn’t fly too many payload-km per year. The investment payoff dynamics are different from the passenger market. BTW, next week we look at A350f vs 777-8F, both future-oriented freighters, might suite your taste a bit better.

      • “””to motivate the investment in development and production”””

        As if LNA knows these Airbus numbers.
        If Airbus can find customers for a A350F (not Qatar), then Airbus might launch it.

        A 777-8F might never come, because it would cost additional money Boeing doesn’t have.
        I could imagine that the FAA is less strict to certify a 777-9P2F, because something will happen with these 777-9 whitetails Boeing already produced, if the 777-9 won’t be certified.

    • Dear Leon, If LNA were the new SimplyFlying I suspect you would be moderated out already, they’re zero tolerance. Lets stay productive, polite and positive in this little technical corner of the internet so it can stay that way.

  13. Greening – Given the involvement of many large scale companies, first up oil, given the scale of the restructuring being talked about, and the relentless support of the MSM, it would be necessary to follow the money

    Who, apart from the Bill Gates agro industry as pointed out here, stands to make more or the most money out of greening technologies and installations, plus the associated taxations?

    And who, as per Gilets Verts, will lose out the most

    It may be, perhaps, described as a profitable recycling business, an attempt to squeeze a little extra from an other wise moribund capital, political and social structure

    Otherwise from the WEF on down why should the most renowned of the most famous entrepreneurs all together without exception pimp for green ?

    (link is for the photograph)

    • @Pedro

      Great news – thanks for this link, enough to make you green with envy

      • If the same happened in the third world or in a developing country, we would call it “state capture”, wouldn’t we??

    • “..the case was settled with a deferred prosecution agreement — an agreement that Columbia Law Professor John Coffee at the time called — “one of the worst deferred prosecution agreements I have seen.”

      Boeing did not have to plead guilty to any of the allegations.

      No Boeing executive was charged.

      And the Boeing deferred prosecution agreement included an unusual provision finding that a compliance monitor was not necessary because “the misconduct was neither pervasive across the organization, nor undertaken by a large number of employees, nor facilitated by senior mismanagement.”..”

      Corporatist impunity yet again.. because they can. ;(

      “the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer what they must.”

      Rule of law? Sure, sure..

      • To clarify, Boeing did plead guilty to the single charge of fraud, and that counts as a conviction if there is further misbehavior, at the discretion of the court. This is the same language as the Airbus DPA for numerous counts of bribery and arms violations.

        No executive was charged because as stated, the fraud was not facilitated by senior management. No executive was charged at Airbus either, even though in that case the operation was sanctioned by senior management.

        The prosecutor extracted a penalty of $2.5B from Boeing, for a single count of fraud, as opposed to the $4B penalty at Airbus for their worldwide operation. That includes a roughly 100% increase in compensation for the accident families.

        The maximum fine for fraud for an individual is $1M. She got 2500 times that amount. So I’m guessing the law firm hired her because she’s good.

        • To clarify:

          “And the case was settled with a deferred prosecution agreement — an agreement that Columbia Law Professor John Coffee at the time called — “one of the worst deferred prosecution agreements I have seen.”

          Boeing did not have to plead guilty to any of the allegations.

          No Boeing executive was charged.

          And the Boeing deferred prosecution agreement included an unusual provision finding that a compliance monitor was not necessary because “the misconduct was neither pervasive across the organization, nor undertaken by a large number of employees, nor facilitated by senior mismanagement.”

          How did Cox and the federal prosecutors know that?

          Did they question senior management?

          “That is without precedent,” Coffee told Corporate Crime Reporter earlier this year. “I have not seen that anywhere else and I’ve looked at a number of deferred prosecution agreements. Prosecutors themselves are not conducting the investigation.”

          • The DPA involves admission of guilt for a crime for which prosecution is deferred, in return for financial penalties and good behavior. A conviction can occur without further proceedings, at the discretion of the court, since the admission of guilt is already present.

            No executive was charged because there was no evidence to do so, as stated in the DPA. Also the reason that there is no monitoring in this case.

            Cox knew this because she conducted a through investigation, with full power of discovery, but found no evidence of those crimes or behaviors. That result broadly agrees with the other authoritative investigation, by the IG.

            The outrage expressed by some is premised on their own personal convictions that more serious crimes occurred, but no evidence supports those allegations. So they can continue to believe those things if they wish, but they are not actionable.

            Also evident again here, is the tendency to select an outlier opinion, and hold it up as a mainstream opinion. In fact, the mainstream broadly accepted the DPA, with little objection, reaction or fanfare.

          • I think the world will be more inclined to heed the objective input of a seasoned expert like Law Professor John Coffee than a subjective opinion (presented as fact) from someone without a legal background.

            “Cox knew this because she conducted a through investigation”
            – How do you know this? Were you with Cox during the investigation? Coffee says that senior management wasn’t interviewed. Just because Cox had “broad power of discovery” doesn’t mean that she actually used it broadly.

            “In fact, the mainstream broadly accepted the DPA, with little objection, reaction or fanfare.”
            – How do you know this? Did you interview “the mainstream”? If so, can you provide us with your interview results, as evidence?

            Sweeping examples of “opinion presented as fact”.

            “The cover up attempted by some is premised on their own personal convictions that no serious crimes occurred, but no evidence supports those convictions. So they can continue to believe those things if they wish, but they are not demonstrable”.

            “Also evident again here, is the tendency to select an expert opinion, and hold it up as an outlier opinion”

          • Your premise is that an opinion of a person not involved in any way with the case, is correct, because it agrees with your own.

            And that this opinion has greater validity than the public statements of the DoJ, FBI, and IG, who spent two years investigating the case, with full powers of discovery.

            As further evidence of misinformed opinion, the allegation of no monitoring is not quite correct. In fact Boeing is required to meet with the DoJ quarterly and submit an annual report on compliance with the terms of the DPA.

            If you have evidence to the contrary, that the DoJ, FBI, and IG statements are not correct, and that in fact your expert opinion is correct, you should bring that forward as a public service.

          • @Bryce

            It’s like the voice in the elevator telling you which floor or the car gadget which beeps about the seat belt

            You can not argue you can only ignore

            And resolutely off topic – a distraction, nada mas

            To get back to de carb – is there any significant debate in Asia, say Comac, about this issue

            Does this debate, if any, share a commonality of approach with EU? One would have thought that Airbus must be up to scratch with China/Asia impending regulations and attitudes and taking them into account

            After all are their, AB’s, de carb plans not expensive?

            They may be required in EUUS, but are they required in China?

            They must be eyeing up COMAC decarb plans, if any

            If there is an independent or contrary decarb or other regulatory requirements, how might these be synthesised with general AB manufacture

          • One note, I understand that self-disclosure of wrong deeds is a criteria used by government people in deciding whether or not to offer ‘deferred prosecution’. May or may not be required in law in each jurisdiction.

            In the well publicized case of pressure the PM of Canada brought to bear on the Attorney General of the day to give ‘deferred prosecution’ to the SNC-company:
            – Canada’s law for whatever they call it excludes organizations that violated a different Canadian law against bribing foreign officials, the case in that prosecution of SNC-LavalinLavalin
            – SNC-Lavalin had not self disclosed

            Looked like the PM was buying votes.

            Of interest at least to me is that charities get caught too, many go bad. One founder of an outfit that built schools for girls in poor countries was granted ‘deferred prosecution’ by his state of residence, IIRC Idaho, with typical fine and probationary period. I doubt he self-disclosed. (He was sloppy with finances, had spent some organization funds on himself.)

          • @ Gerrard
            I’m not aware of any earth-shattering de-carb talk in Asia. Not surprising: Asia is the world’s largest aviation growth market, and it’s also undergoing a historic “upgrade” in development. The COMAC C919 will not be as fuel-efficient as the A320neo/737MAX (due to wing/fuselage design), but the CR929 will probably be much more efficient.
            You may have read that the authorities in China have recently clamped down on bitcoin “mining” operations in various provinces — which, of course, represent a huge waste of electricity. This may have had an environmental motivation, but was more likely a financial regulation matter. The Chinese seem to want to achieve a peak in emissions by 2030 (first link), but this may be just lip service (which is also probably the case in the USA). That having been said, China has many new nuclear power facilities planned (second link), so there may be a sincere desire to move away from fossil fuels.
            Vietnam is now one of the fastest booming economies in the world, and it won’t want to put that in jeopardy. It generates most of its power from coal, but has modest plans (lip service?) to increase the share of renewables.
            Where India and Indonesia are concerned, I’d say that de-carb is a LONG way away.

            What about Africa? The continent produces very low emissions anyway (except, perhaps, for countries like Egypt & South Africa) — and its tropical forests are (nominally) a huge CO2 sink, so I imagine the matter isn’t top of the agenda. That having been said, the third link lists Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Rwanda & Ethiopia as having nuclear power ambitions.




            p.s. The elevator is a good one! I was thinking more of a fortune cookie dispenser: you put in a coin, and you get out some vague and non-committal text.

          • @ KS
            Some background info on the Boeing DPA.
            Of particular interest (some emphasis added):

            “Boeing admits to criminal misconduct for misleading regulators about the safety of the troubled jetliner, *but the airplane manufacturer is not pleading guilty to the charge*. If Boeing complies with the terms of the settlement, *in three years the government will drop the criminal charge*. That’s important for Boeing, a huge federal defense contractor, because *a criminal conviction would prohibit the company from getting future government contracts.*”

            Based on new developments, one can be forgiven for thinking that the “prosecutor” may have been in the pocket of the entity being prosecuted. In view of the last sentence in the paragraph above, one can see how various parties might have had an incentive to create such a situation.


          • @Bryce

            Re CC – If EU is as serious as usually it is in priding itself on this kind of humanitarian regulatory skillwork, and exporting such, one must suppose that there are some discussions of this subject with China, if only in the context of the CAI

            Or else, as often said, USEU achieves decarbonisation with perfect alibi and clean conscience via off loading industry to China, which then appears to facilitate/justify (but not pay for) greener policies, at the cost of exporting jobs and wealth, and prohibiting any on shoring when it all goes sideways on the very first occasion that another miscalculation explodes – i.e. now with NEVER before seen logistics prices and delays, supply chain fragility fever and NEVER before seen FLOODS of inflation

            China is advised to impose it’s own designed regulatory framework as per Climate Change as per FAA : Airbus and every other EUUS industry will be happy to transfer all China/Asia market production to China/Asia

            As for Africa I believe the nuclear sales teams roaming the continent are a classic case of timao danaos, rather like Gates buying up land and promoting GM American style industrialised agriculture, or promising to wipe out the malaria mosquito (part of a chain with non ind ag that keeps the virus at bay)

            Some the offerings of the Russians, as per Kigali, in search of strategic footholds, some window shopping for new toys & bragging rights – All are untold un natural disasters in the making –

          • I conclude that you have no evidence for the allegations being made, since none is offered.

            The DPA makes clear that in event of breach, Boeing accepts the findings and conclusions of the investigation as accurate, true, and admissible in their criminal prosecution, and that such determination of breach and prosecution will be at the sole discretion of DoJ.

            Additionally that Boeing admits and accepts full responsibility for the charged actions, and will not dispute said actions or charges in any subsequent prosecution.

            We can debate the legal language and interpretations, but essentially this means that Boeing cannot oppose the charges if prosecuted, because they have already admitted to them in the DPA.

            Similar to Airbus, the DPA is intended to allow the company to continue operations without a criminal conviction, but with penalties consistent with the sentencing guidelines for said conviction. And with oversight and compliance requirements to ensure the behavior does not recur.

            In this case, the DoJ also required monetary awards to the accident families and the airlines, which are above and beyond the criminal sentencing guidelines.

          • Keith, voluntary disclosure is not required for a DPA, but credit is given for cooperation, and subtracted for non-cooperation or previous offenses.

            Boeing lost credit for not initially disclosing employee text messages, which the employee had copied to his corporate e-mail account. The e-mails were from himself, to himself, so apart from the two employees involved in the texts, Boeing had no awareness of their existence. When found, Boeing attempted to interview the two employees, who ultimately refused to cooperate with the investigation. The DoJ deemed this delay non-cooperative.

            Boeing gained credit for subsequent full cooperation and disclosure, and for voluntary efforts to institute remedial programs during the investigation.

            Boeing lost credit for previous offenses in 1989 and 2006. One was an unlawful conveyance of government documents, the other was the Druyun procurement fraud scandal.

            Boeing gained credit for the absence of any intent to defraud within management or the greater corporate structure, and the full disclosure of MCAS technical details to the FAA flight test and certification units. This is also why no independent compliance monitor was deemed necessary.

          • Gosh, I didn’t realize there such a short time limit on producing evidence. Did Ms. Cox also have such a short time limit, despite “full powers of discovery”? Might that be why she didn’t produce any evidence? Remember that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence…particularly with reasonable suspicion / probable cause in the equation. Perhaps her ill-timed move will catch the attention of Congress, which might then ask some inconvenient (and very public) questions…who knows? One way or another, the press is starting to smell unclean hands here…not a nice scenario for BA.

        • @Rob

          This is an unconscionably long off topic thread which is being spun out merely to re hash over yet again an already done to death subject irrelevant not only to the post but to any other subject

          Why avoid discussion of Decarb, Climate Change and so on, even Chair C has spoken out about these….er.. has he not?

          Use these as a starting point, por favor : commenting even the suggestion that under educated CC over enthusiasm sparked the ridiculous emissions reductions disasters of the Max

          • @ Gerrard
            I get your point. However, kudos to Pedro for drawing this very serious matter to a wider audience…and note that the Leeham Twitter feed also picked up on it very quickly. The desperate attempts to stamp out any possible spark of suspicion are all-too-familiar. Let’s just wait and see how this develops further: where there’s smoke, there’s fire 😉

            Returning to de-carb: if Mr. Biden wants to actually achieve his much-trumpeted C02 reductions (which seem to be VERY unrealistic), then his administration is going to have to engage with US industry. One could, for example, envisage a system whereby government contracts will only be awarded to corporations that meet certain environmental criteria — as regards operations AND products. However, will this realistically happen, in view of the huge industrial lobby in DC?

          • @Bryce

            As for decarb I was thinking more along the lines-

            Here re AB’s plans laid out, what about BA’s

            Do BA plans carry any conviction – have they been assessed: can BA be relied upon to provide convincing detail and plans for execution?

            As for general US decarb or greening at the industrial level- forget it, they just offshore to Asia – they need to concentrate, if concentrate they can, on Federal level of infrastructure upgrade well into the umpteens $ very large numbers

            As far as I know the various plans as presented contain only vague provisions for financing, clearly one is ‘asset recycling’ i.e. handing over federal and state assets plus subsidies to WS for strip mining

            Whatever little on shoring is going on it’s like (plans to) re start lithium or rare earth mining – obviously not very carb conscious – but a question of survival

            It’s only at the austerity for consumers level that some meaningful programs might be organised, but that’s tempting for the élites PMC wise but bad for profits, so unlikely do you not think?

            Perhaps wage reduction plans could be alibied by the CO2 argument….following the swedish child piper….no probably not

            Otherwise all is hot air, as you have prophesied in a previous post, like NEVER has been seen before

          • @ Gerrard
            I don’t think there’s much that BA can do — other than to cooperate/encourage as much as possible as regards use of SAF.
            Airbus is doing Hydrogen research, but I think that the industry sees SAF as a more realistic alternative — at least for planes larger than “regional” size. Of course, if governments get involved on this, that may push things in a different direction.
            New engine tech is more firmly in the hands of the engine OEMs than of the aircraft OEMS.
            Aircraft OEMs can do some aerodynamic tweaking here and there, as in the case of the proposed Airbus wing upgrade. And they can try to maximise use of lightweight composites, so as to reduce fuel requirements. But that’s about it.

            Airlines can try to increase load factors, e.g. by altering fare structures, using bidding systems on unsold seats, etc. And — as Michael O’Leary keeps pointing out to legacy carriers — business class seats have a much larger environmental footprint than economy class seats. O’Leary cleverly publishes monthly per-passenger emissions figures for Ryanair, and they’re very had to beat because of Ryanair’s very high load factors.

          • @Bryce

            Thanks for this explanation

            It’s a mess, I guess, trying to offload a new regulatory framework onto an industry without strong co ordination and control from a powerful executive gvmt

            Which explains hot air from BA, and a more planned approach from AB

            This looks like a decisive advantage, going forward, for the Asia way of guiding business activity

          • Gerrard, the pattern here is always the same (vaccines included). Unfounded accusations are made by the usual crew, then someone steps in to point out they are unfounded. An argument then develops, as the crew doubles down on the conclusions in the absence of foundation.

            When the points are exhausted, the crew then claims the long argument is the fault of the objector, but that again is without foundation.

            If you don’t like the arguments, I completely concur. But then don’t make the accusations. Or if an objection is made, admit that they are only an opinion, rather than defending on the basis of no evidence. Opinions are welcome, claims that falsehoods are true, are not.

          • @Rob: Knock it off, as directed last week to you and others about COVID. One more and you will be suspended–again.


        • These are all the usual conspiracy themes. Suggest that something is true without evidence, then when challenged, claim that doing so is perfectly valid.

          Especially, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence claim, which always surfaces eventually in your arguments, when cornered. It’s a standard defense in the absence of facts.

          Fortunately, not in the real world, where truth and evidence matter.

          • @Rob

            Once again I’ll request that you keep off this off topic long winded discussion of an issue long ground to death by innumerable and essentially unvaried and narrow minded arguments

            Scott has told you to stop

            Why not address the topic of this post

  14. @Bryce

    Greening : One aspect is the endless amounts of gvmt disinformation – I thought the (spoiler alert) bug was tough to get a grip on, but the endless bureaucracy of greening takes the cherry

    You must know this guy – Lubach : I laughed and laughed – but he appears to pick it apart neatly

    • @ Gerrard
      – “Greening” (capital G) is mostly a vacuous hype that is easily sold to GenZ, Millennials, hipsters, activists, etc. Anyone with even half a cortex should be able to see that it usually doesn’t add up: it’s a “free-for-all” scheme that exploits a misplaced sense of guilt in order to skim a thin layer of dollars from a large group (feeling guilty) and transfer it to the pockets of a much smaller group (feeling greedy). Lubach dissects it nicely.

      – Similar statements can be made about:
      * “eco/bio” labels on foodstuffs;
      * empty phrases such as “planet proof”;
      * war cries such as “meat consumption is killing the environment”;
      * compensating your flight’s CO2 by subscribing to obscure tree-planting schemes in central America; and (of course)
      * cryptocurrencies.

      – I once saw an awe-struck commenter proclaim enviously that the Dutch train system runs on 100% wind-generated power. I said: “Poor Dutch: they have no trains on windstill days!”…and (of course) got no reply.

      – “greening” (small g) on the other hand is wonderful. It refers to schemes in (for example) Singapore and various European cities to put more trees and other plants into urban spaces, including in the form of vertical gardens and rooftop gardens. No BS: just actual plants for everyone to enjoy.

      • I fully agree with this comment on big-G Greening. Taking note of the friendly™ folks pushing it tells all.. also,
        this para deserves emphasis, I think:

        > “greening” (small g) on the other hand is wonderful. It refers to schemes in (for example) Singapore and various European cities to put more trees and other plants into urban spaces, including in the form of vertical gardens and rooftop gardens. No BS: just actual plants for everyone to enjoy. <

        See Ivan Illich, esp in 'Tools for Conviviality'. We're in grave
        danger of becoming the tools of "our" tools (if we're not already there).


      • @Bryce

        Thanks for this comment and details of various Green scams –

        Can I add that it is frequently found to be necessary to TINA all Green schemes on the ground that there can be no resistance/hesitation nor debate – other wise censorship, ‘disinformation’, thought/hate crime, ‘climate denier’ to silence and shame

        This aspect feeds into the State of Emergency required to strengthen authority to impose ‘protocols’ ‘measures’ and ‘laws’ without consent (as per…..crisis) Lubach points this out, as many others

        It is also noted that the close collaboration between emergency power gvmts and the large scale corporations financialising the situation can be described as an authoritarian system of government first tried out in Italy before the Second World War

        All paid for by enforced austerity and increased taxation

        For example : the gigantism on display in a recent US ’carbon capture’ initiative

        The appeal to a strong executive power, globalised, is likely to result in a failure of much larger consequence than is now being experienced in the failed responses to the current crisis

        (And let’s not begin to talk about ‘population reduction’)

  15. This is important.
    “Boeing has attributed both 787 delivery pauses to a “skin-flatness” issue involving aft fuselage sections, saying it has been conducting inspections and repair work.
    The FAA says the latest delivery halt came after the agency declined to accept a Boeing-proposed algorithm related to fuselage “shimming”.
    Shimming is one means of addressing the skin-flatness issue, Boeing has said.”

    It seems Boeing is not repairing the skin-flatness. Nothing has changed, they want to fix it with shimming but the skin-flatness stays out of specs.
    Because Boeing is not able to repair the skin-flatness, they come up with an algorithm not to inspect the skin-flatness everywhere. They inspect of course to find locations where the skin-flatness is within specs, then with a certified algorithm process they can delete all other locations where the skin-flatness is out of specs.
    Boeing needed to replace shims because they installed shims which exceeded the maximum allowed shim size. With using smaller shims the gaps in the joints got bigger which is not allowed either because the fuselage load calculations are based on gaps within specs.
    Over a year Boeing is working on this and they can’t fix it to specs LOL

    If 787 won’t be delivered it helps de-carbonisation too 🙂

    • Mmmhh…I wonder when the penalty-free cancellations will start to kick in?
      I can imagine that a lot of longhaul carriers would love to be able to trim their order books at the moment.

      Based on the FAA attitude revealed in the recent 777X letter (pitch event, software revision, test flights, immature design), I feel somewhat more confident that the FAA won’t budge on this issue until it’s properly addressed — unless, of course, political interference pokes in a finger.

      • “””I wonder when the penalty-free cancellations will start to kick in?”””

        In most contracts, penalty free cancelation might be possible, if Boeing is over one year late on the delivery date.
        787 deliveries in 2020:
        4 in Apr
        0 May
        3 Jun
        2 Jul
        4 Aug
        7 Sep
        4 Oct
        0 Nov
        0 Dec
        At that time Boeing produced 10 per month. So Boeing didn’t deliver 66 in 2020. Those 23 undelivered from April till June could be canceled already.

          • @Bryce

            The flood of severe admonitions and commandments the surety of absolute righteousness which perfuses discussions of this subject

            Almost make one long for the silky meander of corporate PR in defending Boeing, for example in the case of the deferred prosecution agreement, or when slyly implying that to posit/prefer a more efficient governance is to adhere to a ‘foreign’ ideology

            Much use of biblical language can be attributed to the need for certainty at any cost to the determined exercise of reason, much to the so called Stockholm syndrome, in which the victim fervently embraces TINA

    • @Bryce

      This Air Asia announcement sounds a lot like like hot (apologies) wind; if that is said in english, we say ‘du vent’

      It would be interesting to be less USEU centric and try and look at Asian attitudes to ‘climate change’ or ‘decarbonisation’ specifically of course in the airtravel industry, and, why not, COMAC

      Given that over the next generation or two, it is in Asia that very near all growth in industrial production and wealth will take place, and that this looks likely to be very considerable growth indeed

      Consequently this is where the meaningful decisions will be taken

      Do you know of any discussion of this?

      • @ Gerrard
        It does sound a bit like executive hot air 😏
        On the other hand, LCCs can benefit from the malaise among their legacy competitors…in Asia just as in Europe. It’s doubtful that the Malaysian authorities will try to save the national airline (Malaysia Airlines), so there are new opportunities for Air Asia.

        • @Bryce

          I see what you mean – well I bet they are not factoring in de carbonisation quite yet

          Maybe they are offering resistance to SIA and their LCC

    • Thanks. Haha I heard many commentators here have written off that co. and determined in their mind the massive Airbus order wouldn’t be fulfilled in order to justify BA’s diminished order skyline.

    • What else could Calhoun say?
      “Hell no, that bundle of misery is a millstone around our necks! We’re hoping that order cancellations will kill the program, so that we don’t have to pull the plug ourselves!”
      Something like that, perhaps? 😏

      • @Bryce

        Now that you mention it Calhoun is pretty handy with the hot air, if fact NEVER has there been more hot air events since he’s been Chairman

        • “It’ll have a 40- or 50-year run”

          Sure BA has a crystal ball forseeing 40 to 50 years down the road … Why didn’t it see the 737 MAX nightmare??

          • @Pedro

            Chair C is like the Climate Change Capitalists – Prophets for Profits

          • BofA analyst:

            -> BofA, however, predicts Boeing will not clear its inventory of “excess” 787s until 2025. It also anticipates Boeing will trim 787 production to four jets monthly.

            -> “If Boeing doesn’t start developing the FSA programme soon, it could be really hard for the company to recover market share from the continuously weakening position that we expect it to have by the mid-2020s,”

          • From FG

            “[A]irlines globally have returned roughly one-third of their Max fleets to active service”

  16. Thus aviation is being pushed to OFF.

    Because of anti-human superstition.

    The physics of greenhouse gas molecules limits the amount of temperature rise that CO2 can cause to a small amount, most of which has already been realized. That’s because of the ‘saturation’ effect of energy flow from overlap of absorption-emission spectra of carbon dioxide and the most common greenhouse gas, dihydrogen monoxide (water vapour).

    Reality is that the climate is not warming at an alarming rate, and sea level is not rising at a rate significantly faster than it has been since the end of the long cool period around 1750AD. (See for government databases.) Records of surface temperatures are incomplete and contain unexplained ‘adjustments.’ I’ll instead go with traditional weather balloon thermometers and satellite sensors. Climate was stable during the Mycean, Roman, and Medieval warm periods (during which Vikings farmed southwest Greenland).

    Climate has always been changing, warm is better for us and our food source (which also benefits from more CO2). Hopefully Earth won’t slide into another ice age.”

  17. On the subject of SAF:
    “Airbus Joins Canada’s Saf+ Consortium to Accelerate the Development of New Sustainable Aviation Fuel Technology”

    “Airbus and the Montreal, Canada-based SAF+ Consortium have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate with major Canadian aviation industry players on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) development and production in North America. Airbus will be investing through “in-kind” contributions, which consist of technical and certification expertise, economic analysis, communications and advocacy.”

  18. Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress quotes an excellent point – ‘renewable energy’ is not, as equipment producing it wears out.

    I say advocates are fantasizing instead of integrating.

    • Huge botch in Germany:
      – dams full of water were not drawn down despite forecast of heavy rain
      – people were not warned of forecast
      – history shows flooding has long been a risk

      • That’s incorrect. Warnings were issued days before last week’s floods in Germany.

    • @Bryce

      Is there a consensus on negative cash burn for the quarter, and how much of that borrowed 25B does BA have left

      Must be not much

      • @ Gerrard
        They had $25.59B cash on hand at the end of 2020, and burned off $3.7B of that in Q1 2021, leaving $21.92B at the end of Q1. The consensus cashburn for Q2 seems to be around $0.73B — an improvement because of a surge of MAX deliveries since the FAA’s ungrounding.

        The link gives condensed balance sheets for 2005-2021.
        Note the current $61.89B in debt, compared to previous average levels around $10B. Inventors is valued at $81B, but this is only $19B higher than the 2018 figure.

        • S&P July 14:

          S&P increases its est. BA’s free cash outflow for 2021 from $3 to $5 billion to $5 to $7 billion after the latest 787 quality issues, reduction of delivery this year and cutting monthly production rate.

          They still builds their forecast based on BA’s assumption that: 787 production at 5 per month (not lower); rather optimistic outlook of certifications around the world.

  19. Everyone: Drop the discussion about the Deferred Prosecution Agreement. It is off topic.


  20. Despite its recently publicized far-reaching environmental plans, the European Commission is also capable of stupid behavior that is (potentially) highly detrimental to the environment:

    SF/FG: “IATA Disagrees With European Commission Decision On Slots”

    “The European Commission ignored the airline’s request for a waiver and insisted that airlines continue to use 50% of their slot allocations or risk losing them for the following year. IATA says that the decision now risks derailing a recovery and will force airlines to operate unnecessary, wasteful ghost flights.”,their%20airport%20slot%20allocations%20or%20risk%20losing%20them.

  21. Replying to William (no Reply box offered) responding to @Gundolf:

    You claim:”Wind Turbines have a a capacity when installed a capacity factor that seldom exceeds 33% much even in good sites. In other words when a wind turbine is rated at 3MW it likely will produce an average of 1MW. It will be hard to get to 40% (1.2MW) so the chart is misleading. The axis is labelled ‘capcity’. On the other hand nuclear and turbine plans have capacity factors of nearly 90%.”

    My post last night, providing the standard data sources you seem to lack, noted US 2020 average capacity factors were 35.4% for windpower (EIA). EIA also shows 24.9% for utility-scale photovoltaics, 92.5% nuclear, 74.3% geothermal, 63.2% biomass, 41.5% hydroelectricity, 58.4% wood, and (in part _a) natural gas combined-cycle 56.6% and coal 40.1%. At the rate renewables (90% of marginal net capacity additions globally and smaller but dominant in the US) are pushing thermal generation up the load-duration curve, it shouldn’t be long before capacity factor is higher for wind than for coal.

    I think your 90% capacity factor claim for coal confuses capacity factor (dependent on economic dispatch) with technical availability (dependent on forced outage rate). Technical forced outage rates are an order of magnitude higher for thermal plants than for wind or solar. Those renewables do of course vary output with weather and night, but are highly predictable—often at least as predictable as electricity demand. That’s why E Danish windpower operators now bid windpower into the day-ahead hourly auction: they’re more confident they can provide the contracted-for amount at 1500 tomorrow than the grid operators are that when they press the button, their fueled turbine will actually start.

  22. Responding to the nuclear-waste portion of William’s reply to @Gundolf:
    You don’t mention fission products among your three categories of nuclear waste. These are dominated by ~30-y halflives, so presumably your sub-millennial confinement time (tens of halflives or ~10^[6–9}x decay includes them in your category 2. But whether you’re fissioning 235U, 239Pu, or other transuranics, you’re still producing more fission products; that’s what the energy-producing fission does.
    Different fuel cycles produce different amounts and mixes of transuranics, typically hard-alpha emitters, requiring very long confinement, but most of the curies are in the fission products. Talk of “burning nuclear wastes” is thus misleading.

    Of note, the fuel cycles you suggest that require reprocessing make waste management far costlier and harder, and partition wastes from a single form (spent fuel) into multiple streams with far higher entropy, larger surface area, more complex chemistries, and higher likelihood of release—not to mention potential availability of fissile nuclides for nuclear weapons once separated from fission products.

    May we kindly return to aviation?

    • We are on topic Amory. Aviation will require PtL fuel or Hydrogen. I contend that will require nuclear power to be affordable. So will Aluminum production, Carbon Fiber production, Iron and Steal production.

      Let me compare nuclear PtL to wind PtL. (hydrogen approx same the same)

      The cost of PtL Jet fuel per liter is approximately 8.8kW.Hr x 1/efficiency x 2. The factor of 2 is a well accepted estimate that covers the capital cost of DAC absorbers, Electrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch Reactors and their operating cost.

      The current EIS cost for wind electricity of 8.2c and assuming 50% efficiency you end up with about $2.88/Liter. (say $10/US gallon)

      The efficiency could be increased to 66% by using solid oxide electrolysis and using either sea water to capture the CO2 or concentrated sources (eg unavoidable emissions in cement making or aluminum)

      Assuming A 200L barrel of oil is $50 (25c/Liter) our SAF/PtL is about $2.60/Liter more. On a 12,000km round trip New York to Paris assuming per per seat burn of 2.5L/100k we would have $312.00 additional fuel cost without considering profit and distribution. One can argue that wind derived SAF fuel is going to be about 25%-50% more expensive again assuming the wind only blows 60% of the time.

      The food on the aircraft will be ploughed and harvested by PtL fuel, the fertilizer by hydrogen made by electrolysis, the aluminum and carbon fiber will all go up in price.

      Now consider the nuclear option.

      Nuclear Cost of electricity is 40% of that of wind production i.e. 3c/KW.Hr.

      Uing the above price of $2.88L for PtL but assuming the capital costs of electrolyzer/chemical/DAC plant is the the same
      (0.5 x $2.88 = $1.44/Litre) but that the electricity costs are 40% (0.5 x $0.03 x 2 x 8.8) = $53/Litre giving nuclear PtL a price of $1.44 + $0.53 = $1.97.

      However Wind electricity is becalmed 40% of the time so lets say nuclear is another 25% cheaper so about $1.50/Litre.

      Nuclear can also use thermochemical water splitting and waste heat for releasing CO2 from amine capture so another 25%-50% cheaper due to greater efficiency. The cost of PtL can probably get to $1.00/Liter and will be 1/3rd that of wind power. Hydrogen from wind will also be expensive and so will be the products made from iron smelting, chemicals and cement calcination, ammonia etc. (Electrical cars will only cut emissions 15%)

      Both Transuranic and fission products can be destroyed in a fast reactor.

      A study led by Satoshi Chiba at Tokyo Tech (called “Method to Reduce Long-lived Fission Products by Nuclear Transmutations with Fast Spectrum Reactors shows that effective transmutation of long-lived fission products can be achieved in fast spectrum reactors without the need for isotope separation. This can be achieved by adding a yttrium deuteride moderator.

      Another method is a to use a sub critical reactor which can destroy any waste and also generates power.

      • @William, this will be my last response to your nuclear arguments, since I don’t want to be responsible for wasting more of everyone’s time debating basic empirical data with someone who neither looks up my standard data-source citations nor provides his own.

        You claimed on 23 July that windpower costs 8.2¢/kWh according to EIA (which you now call EIS); inflated that by spurious means (please see my 25 July post) to 15–19¢/kWh; and ignored my standard datasets (LBNL, BNEF, Lazard) showing ~2–4¢/kWh actual unsubsidized levelized market prices. Actually, EIA’s Feb 2021 levelized-cost guide at shows 3.1¢/kWh, including transmission, in 2020 $ for 2026 in-service date. Or you could consult the NREL or IRENA data. They all show your claimed windpower cost is ~3–6x higher than actual.

        You then compare your supposed costs of building and running new wind capacity with the average US cost (3¢/kWh per Nuclear Energy Institute) of just operating a nuclear plant that’s already built and paid for. But the comparable cost if you built a new reactor, as you assume for windpower, is pegged by Lazard at 13–20¢/kWh and by BloombergNEF at 19–33¢/kWh. Your claimed nuclear levelized cost for proper comparison with windpower’s is thus ~4–11x lower than actual. (Lazard and Bloomberg say their costs are unsubsidized: probably not, but your combined comparative error is upwards of an order of magnitude, so we needn’t get into the fine points of asymmetric hidden subsidies.)

        The rest of your analysis contains many other errors—such as further cost adjustments based on supposed capacity factors that are already baked into levelized cost calculations and mustn’t be double-counted—=but I think these basic errors suffice to show that your claims are unreliable. If you’re in a hole, I respectfully suggest you stop digging.

        For new and perhaps surprising information on heavy transport and industrial process heat, particularly to make the materials you mention, kindly see my 20 July post at

  23. Is the U.S. E.U. tariff detente threatened by E.U.’s carbon import tax??

  24. More Bad News

    The idea that the US gvmt knows how to effect subsidies and encourage local considered essential businesses/industries is shown to be null and void in this recently published article

    The article claims, and demonstrates, that the massive ‘pandemic’ subsidies granted merely comforted and confirmed the airlines in their loss making operations and foolish business plans

    Of course the endemic US corporate habit of returning all or any cash to Wall Street speculators played a crucial role, including cash received as a subsidy intended to keep ops and employment, including declaring subsidies as ‘revenues’

    To bring this on topic – To discover enact formulate and apply suitable policies and strategies in pursuit of reasonable CC/decarb standards and goals requires an executive authority inclined to govern with the interests of efficient execution of long term national benefit

    Manifestly this is not on display in the US

  25. Replying to William’s not-yet-posted (but emailed) comment on the supposed impossibility of using power-reactor plutonium for nuclear weapons: you are again mistaken, as leading nuclear weapons designers have pointed out in print for decades (and was empirically proven by nuclear testing). Greg Jones even wrote a book about it ( A particularly clear unclassified explanation is my Nature review paper of 28 Feb 1980,

    Might we kindly return to the topic of aviation?

  26. @ Scott Hamilton

    I’m sorry if you disagree with my comments, but all statements I’ve made here are truthful and correct. If you have evidence to the contrary, you are welcome to provide it. The forum is listening and welcomes your views. As you know, I tried to elicit them back in March.

    The core issue here, is that posting a pro-Boeing comment at Leeham is like a bear walking into a wolves den. The attack is immediate and persistent. Why? Unlike in nature, this den does not belong to the wolves, it should be a den for the bear as well.

    If the bear turns to defend and fight, then the bear is singled out for punishment. You did this to me in March, and recently also to Duke. Again why?

    It’s true that the bear is breaking the rules in defending, just as the wolves are in attacking. But there is not an equivalence between the two, or fairness or justice in equating them. If the wolves don’t attack, there is no need for the bear to defend. The bears’ other choice is to flee and not participate, which is the goal of the wolves. And something which you effectively enforce, by punishing the bears.

    Further, the comments of the bears have paled in comparison to the absolute vitriol expressed towards them, and towards Boeing, by the wolves, over a very long period of time.

    So Scott, if your desire is that Leeham should be a wolves den, which they are properly defending, then you can state that publicly and I will voluntarily withdraw. It’s not my wish to make Leeham into something you don’t want it to be. Ultimately, the commentary here is a reflection of you and your values, which is as it should be.

    If Leeham is to be a neutral site where both views are welcome, then you are the moderator, it’s up to you to create that environment here. It won’t happen by persecuting the bears to eliminate the fights, that will only last until the next bear appears. As we have seen in the repeating patterns here.

    Lastly I’d like to ask that you please not delete this post or suppress my voice, as you have in the past. I’d prefer that you give your answer here, whatever it is, so we all can see. That would settle the issue once and for all.

    Then you can take whatever action you deem necessary against me, but at least it will have been the result of due process. I’m not afraid of criticism, suspension, or banishment. It matters little what the mechanism is, if participation is not welcome, by either you or the wolves. As I’ve said many times before, your site, your rules, and I will abide by your wishes either way.

    • @Rob, dammit, you entirely miss the point. I told everybody to stop talking about COVID. The discussion about COVID was not relevant to the post. The message was for everyone. That’s why you may be suspended again. Are you really that obtuse?

      Your email with your post is inactive. You must provide a valid email, which is not public, to retain commenting privileges.

  27. False claim alert:

    “This happened against a backdrop of European floodings, which made all discussions about climate change or not moot. Super-organized Germany …”

    – Germany kept power dams almost full despite warnings of much rain
    – Germany did not warn people of forecasts for much rain
    – Germany did not read history: the area of flooding has a long history of floods
    – The physics of greenhouse gas molecules limits the amount of temperature rise that CO2 can cause to a small amount, most of which has already been realized. That’s because of the ‘saturation’ effect of energy flow from overlap of absorption-emission spectra of carbon dioxide and the most common greenhouse gas, dihydrogen monoxide (water vapour).

    Reality is that the climate is not warming at an alarming rate, and sea level is not rising at a rate significantly faster than it has been since the end of the long cool period around 1750AD. (See for government databases.) Records of surface temperatures are incomplete and contain unexplained ‘adjustments.’ I’ll instead go with traditional weather balloon thermometers and satellite sensors. Climate was stable during the Mycean, Roman, and Medieval warm periods (during which Vikings farmed southwest Greenland).

    Why Bjorn are you so set against aviation thus humans?

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