Pontifications: Upping the game in eco Aviation

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 4, 2021, © Leeham News: The pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the commercial aviation industry continues to increase.

Two weeks ago, Airbus hosted a day-and-a-half media event promoting its vision of moving toward decarbonizing aviation.

Boeing and Alaska Airlines last week hosted media for a touchy-feely event following up on the announcement in June by Boeing and Alaska of its joint ecoD (as Boeing calls it) program.

Boeing in October outlined progress of its ecoDemonstrator program, at the time with Etihad Airways as the partner. A 787-10 was used at that stage.

Mike Sinnett, Boeing VP of Product Development, said last week that the Alaska 737-9 MAX that is the focus of the current ecoD effort includes several ideas that would not make it into test on a stand-alone basis. But as part of a larger effort, little things that cumulatively can reduce drag and therefore fuel burn can be tested.

Flush collision lighting

One example is testing of anti-collision lighting that is flush with the fuselage. These red flashing lights serve as visual warnings to other aircraft. More than a decade ago, Boeing reduced the size of the lights, atop and at the bottom of the fuselage, is part of a package of small aerodynamic improvements on the 737 NG.

The Alaska 9 MAX has a flush collision light mounted in place of a cabin window to test visibility. Sinnett said the flush mounting saves draft, hence fuel burn and therefore reduces emissions. But by itself, it wouldn’t get tested without being part of a suite of other initiatives. (See LNA’s June article for more detail.)

Sinnett noted that since the Boeing 707-era jet age beginning in 1958, noise was reduced by 90%. Fuel consumption was reduced by 70%.

“Many of these improvements come from a lot of small things,” he said.

Hydrogen is a long way off

Airbus is placing a big bet on hydrogen-powered airplanes in the next decade. Boeing sees Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as the best hope for medium-term emissions reduction. Boeing flight-tested hydrogen more than a decade ago. Sinnett says Boeing sees hydrogen as a global transportation system advancement rather than one focused on aviation. Who’s right in this divergence of science will probably not be seen for another 10-15 years.

At the Airbus event two weeks ago, officials said they would be willing to work directly with Boeing on hydrogen research. Sinnett, and corporate communications officials, said last week that Boeing prefers to work through industry associations. It’s clear more research is needed.

“We aren’t convinced SAF is enough,” Sinnett said. Boeing also continues research into electric and hybrid technologies.

Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing

Did you know that McDonnell Douglas tried to recruit John Leahy from Airbus before merging with Boeing?

  • Or that one Chinese airline thought Airbus was making and selling buses to move passengers from the terminal to the airplanes?
  • Or why Boeing passed on buying the Bombardier C Series?
  • Find out these stories and more in my new boom, Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing. See here for more information.

104 Comments on “Pontifications: Upping the game in eco Aviation

  1. I believe that such small incremental improvements like on the ecoD and Airbus flight initiatives are what is going to be needed for reducing and eventually eliminating carbon emissions from aviation: death by a thousand cuts rather than several grand, monumental strides to get there. The past 60 years has been defined by that: miniaturization of electronics and increasing automation in fuel efficiency. Going from CRT screens and steam gauges to LCD screens and digital readouts; replacement of hydraulic controls with fly-by-wire systems; rivets held flush to the fuselage. Perhaps other initiatives like even smaller electronics, one less pilot in the cockpit, and even lighter superalloys in the engines could reduce the weight of an aircraft and thus fuel carried by half a ton?

  2. The best thing about cryogenic hydrogen is that it’s such a demanding technology to establish Airbus thinks it won’t be ready to launch till 2035. Then one imagines it will be another 5+ years before service. So we have a futuristic ‘green wash’ technology for our publicity. that doesn’t have to be produced only tested and reperched.

    The other question is why is the renewable “green” hydrogen at an affordable price to come from? Renewable electricity is rather expensive. The situation is so dire that the European Hydrogen network will initially be filled with “Blue hydrogen” which is hydrogen made from natural gas with the CO2 by product sequestered geologically. One wonders if it will ever become renewable.

    SAF is presently derived from waste oils of vegetable and animal origin. (It may be carbon neutral but it is not vegan, expect PETA one day)
    Other sources in order of increasing expense not in use yet but demonstrated:
    1 Seed Oils of certain plants that do not compete with food crops or wilderness habitat.
    2 Biomethane (from agricultural and municipal waste) that is converted to jet fuel via the fischer-tropsch process.
    3 Alcohols obtained from fermentations of sugar or starch containing plants such as sugar cane, sugar beet, wheat etc These can be converted to Jet Fuel over a zeolite catalysts such as mobile’s ZSM-5 MTG “Methanol To Gasoline)
    The above all could be produced at around USD $0.55/Litre.
    4 The breakdown of wood seems to have come down from about $0.80/Liter to the same as starchy/sugary material at $0.55.

    So the supply of SAF can be expanded beyond waste oils and it is affordable but its seems very limited.

    The Latest aircraft like the A320neo, B787-8 and A220 seem to be able to operate at 1.97 Litres of fuel per passenger per 100km. (roughly 73 mpg)

    An unlimited supply of SAF would be PtL “Power to Liquids” where CO2 is extracted from the air (or sea) and combined over catalysts to make liquid fuels. If you have 18kWHr of electricity, air and water you can make 1 Liter of Jet fuel containing 9 KWHr’s of energy. The technology is pretty much mature now. The problem is the price of renewable electricity (when not hidden behind a wall of indirect subsides and slight of hand) is such that it comes out as very expensive, around $2.00/litre. or more.

    Renewable energy is extremely expensive. The best hope is that PtL can be produced in remote regions and easily transported or nuclear is used.

    Run it through n=US nuclear at $0.03/Litre it ends up only about $0.75?liter.

    Most these are going to be 2-5 times the price of mineral oil derived Jet Fuel.

    The best thing to do is mandate small amounts so that the market evolves efficient production methods.


    • @William

      The pressure for solutions in Europe is especially intense. I tend to agree the Airbus emphasis on hydrogen, when it will clearly not be viable for a long time, does smack of green washing. The airline CEOs play the same game. Always put the carbon reduction goals just beyond the horizon, well past their own sell-by-date.

      • @ William and @ Gunter
        Furthering the “greenwash” narrative, one could argue that that term in fact applies to the entire emissions reduction movement, for the simple reason that emissions reduction does nothing to reduce the reservoir of previously-emitted greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. Put mathematically: the green movement is tweeking a 2nd-order effect, without changing the sign of the underlying 1st-order effect, thus doing nothing to reduce the associated zero-order effect.

      • It’s highly ironic that as Europe pushes for zero carbon aviation Germany and the UK and perhaps others are burning more coal for electric power because of shortages of natural gas.

        The only measure of CO2 emissions that matters is the global emissions and as far as reducing CO2 output it doesn’t matter where or how it is done. What matters is to do the most possible which means (this is basic economics) efforts should be concentrated where it is easiest and cheapest to reduce emissions.

        This means go after thermal coal burning (and coal mine fires), deforestation (rich countries should PAY poor country’s people to preserve their forests), tar sands oil, general oil, and methane emissions that come from using natural gas (which is otherwise relatively low CO2) and should, for some decades and with proper regulation of methane emissions, be used to reduce coal burning until nuclear, wind, solar and large scale storage can provide almost all of the electricity.

        So while reducing CO2 from aircraft (about 2% of total worldwide) is worthy of some effort and certainly research it is small potatoes in the big picture (the only one that counts). And further SAF in aviation per se is moot because fuel from biomass has the same benefit (and problems) whether it is used in an airplane or any other transportation mode.

        Just push aircraft efficiency and tax carbon, or air travel directly (raising flying cost) and put the big efforts elsewhere where the benefits are greater and the cost less.

        PS. Using LNG to power aircraft would have close to half the benefit of hydrogen (or more than hydrogen depending on the source of the hydrogen) and be much easier and allow far longer range aircraft than LH2. Hydrogen must come from solar or wind (or nuclear) powered electrolysis of water to be “green” and has the benefit of providing a use for wind/solar electricity when it is being overproduced.

        • Coal for Power Generation in the UK has dropped from 84 million tons in 1990 to 2.9 million tons in 2019. It is crucial to get our data right. LH2 is a very promising future fuel.

          • Hydrogen is not an energy source!

            For any useful fueling cycle the “once around” efficiency must be magnitudes higher than “abysmal”.

            Germany has a fine meshed natural gas distribution network. “gas to the home” so to speak.
            What I envision is feeding H2 into this network .. changing for the moment the composition. not a replacement.

          • Britain found North Sea Oil and Gas in 1965. Since then it has used that oil and gas to replace coal obtained from expensive underground coal mining (devastating many English communities) and it has also commissioned a large capacity of Nuclear Power. This is not a victory of wind power over coal but one of North Sea Oil and Gas and Nuclear over coal. They tend to not tell one any of those things in “The Guardian” The talk of “emissions free sources’ to avoid mentioning the word Nuclear. One wonders how the editors sleep at night.

          • @ William

            I’m sorry to say, but most of your comments seem to be of low quality. You write a lot, make a lot of claims, and write in the style as if you knew a lot about the industry. Actually there’s a lot of misleading use of words and facts, strange disconnections and outright false statements in your comments. I’m not saying that you are doing it on purpose, but it’s hard to believe that you could be fully unaware of it. To give an example, in the comment above you pretend to refute some wind power misconception by telling us that Britain burned a lot of oil and gas since the sixties. I don’t think I’m the only one baffled here. 60’s doesn’t even have anything to do with this conversation. The British, European and worldwide trend in the 2000’s is that renewables are growing strongly and nuclear power is at most stagnant (meaning that little new nuclear power is being built, and the old nuclear plants are being phased out in growing numbers).

            – “This is not a victory of wind power over coal but one of North Sea Oil and Gas and Nuclear over coal.”

            As we are not talking about decades old (and in this regard pretty) irrelevant history, but recent, current and future trends, here’s what has happened with wind and nuclear power in the UK during the last five years:

            The share of nuclear power in the electricity production of the UK:
            2016 21.2 %
            2017 19.3 %
            2018 17.7 %
            2019 15.6 %
            2020 14.5 %

            The share of wind power in the electricity production of the UK:
            2016 11.0 %
            2017 14.7 %
            2018 17.1 %
            2019 19.8 %
            2020 24,2 %

            Based just on the figures above, which way do you think the production of electricity in the UK is headed: to nuclear power or to wind power? You can easily find a lot of supporting detailed information about energy investments in the UK, if you really are interested about facts.

          • @ Uwe
            The Netherlands also has a national “gas to the door” network.
            There’s already talk of using it to carry hydrogen.

        • At least the Brit. and the German plan to phase out coal. What’s U.S.’s response when Europeans impose carbon tariff?

          • Another trade war ( or a real one. The US is showing increasing desperation )

          • And Germany is getting its Natural Gas from where?

            Known as the Sword of Damocles .

            Loose your gas and freeze and that fracking (done right) don’t look so bad.

          • U.S. wants Europeans to rely on their expensive LNG export. What’s wrong when Europeans want “competition” in a capitalist world??

        • “So while reducing CO2 from aircraft (about 2% of total worldwide) is worthy of some effort and certainly research it is small potatoes in the big picture (the only one that counts).”

          Please ring Greta and tell her that — although I suspect she already knows (or, at least, her parents do). That having been said, it’s “fun” to pick on aviation, because it’s seen as being a playground of the affluent — and one must always try to pander to the significant “anti-everything” group in the green movement 😉

    • “Renewable electricity is rather expensive.”

      Really? Perhaps you haven’t checked for a while: “The average costs of utility-scale renewable installations has fallen by some 80% over the decade from 2010-19”:

      According to US Department of Energy, “land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today”:

      The most prevalent form of renewable energy in Europe and many other areas will be wind power, and new wind power is already cheaper than new coal power in many areas. In some other areas solar energy may become even cheaper. The joint report by the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency says the following:

      – “Renewable energy costs have continued to decrease in recent years. With the assumed moderate emission costs of USD 30/tCO2 their costs are now competitive, in LCOE terms, with dispatchable fossil fuel-based electricity generation in many countries. In particular, this report shows that onshore wind is expected to have, on average, the lowest levelized costs of electricity generation in 2025.”

      In other words land based wind power will be the cheapest form of electricity production by 2025.

      – “The situation is so dire that the European Hydrogen network will initially be filled with “Blue hydrogen”…”

      LOL, the “situation” hasn’t even begun yet. We are in early stages of a huge transitional project. Everyone who understands a little about energy production knows that during such transition period production and demand can’t be made to meet each other all the time. Perhaps they could be, if all sensible economics were put aside. Renewable energy is scaling up fast, as it has done from early 2000’s, and it can scale up even faster. During the growth of renewable energy the most accurate predictions about the growth of the industry have become from the industry itself, and the worst ones from the fossil fuel industry and other naysayers. Their prediction have failed so badly that it’s both tragical and comical. According the wind energy industry they can meet the demand, if the governments can take care of the permissions and other regulatory work in time.

      – “One wonders if it will ever become renewable”

      If that’s the cheapest way of producing electricity/hydrogen (as it seems to be the case in near future, as I pointed out above), why wouldn’t it?

      – “Renewable energy is extremely expensive.”

      Above it was “rather expensive”. Now it’s “extremely expensive”? Perhaps you’d like to bring up some reliable sources, if you insist on making such claims.

      • Exactly.

        Solar and wind are cost-competitive enough to make utilities close their thermal plants.

        • You still need Thermal for grid stability.

          Solar goes away at night and wind varies.

          • Germany is planning on using hydrogen buffering to address this problem: hydrogen produced at times of excessive wind/sun can be used as an energy source in times of wind/sun scarcity.

            Other than that, I agree with @ William that nuclear has great merit for this purpose.

          • Fukushima made nuclear that much more difficult to swallow in Europe. I am sure the Japanese thought they had fool proofed everything.

          • @Bryce re hydrogen
            This is economic suicide. Storing large quality of hydrogen is hideously expensive.
            The only way out for the world is battery-hydropower storage/generation, and nuclear.

          • @ Gunter
            “Fukushima made nuclear that much more difficult to swallow in Europe”

            There’s plenty of discussion about building new nuclear plants in Europe. The Netherlands is currently debating the merits of building 3-5 thorium plants, and the link below shows construction currently going on in Slovakia, Finland, France and the UK, as well as Belarus, Russia and Turkey. It also shows upgrades to existing programs in Switzerland, Spain, Finland and Sweden.


            Further, the second link indicates that Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Portugal, Norway, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, and Turkey are considering new nuclear plants:


          • @ Bryce

            – “There’s plenty of discussion about building new nuclear plants in Europe.”

            “Plenty of discussion” is a pretty vague expression, though. Why not talk about investments, as you can give numbers then. Do you have any numbers on yearly investments in (fission based) nuclear energy production in Europe.

            – “and the link below shows construction currently going on in Slovakia, Finland, France and the UK, as well as Belarus, Russia and Turkey.”

            Locally the Finnish project is considered a sad joke. The construction started in 2005, and the plant was promised to be ready in 2009. The construction has been ongoing ever since, but the plant still isn’t ready. There has been all kind of quality problems, and the workers who have brought them up have been fired. The turn-key price for the plant was 3,5 billion euros, but the price has risen to 5 billion. The actual construction cost is already over 11 billion, and the difference is covered by the French taxpayers. Thank you French taxpayers! I hope you have a warm feeling about it! :-/ The Finnish constructor, TVO, is heavily in debts, and it’s credits are rated as junk. The plant will never be able to produce electricity for a competitive price. The Finns have also payed billions more of their electricity because of the delay. Are the rest of the projects on your list any better?

            Have you noticed, by the way, that the site that you use as a reference belongs to a nuclear industry lobbying and propaganda organization World Nuclear Association. Its Board of Management consists of nuclear industry heavy-weights like Philippe Knoche from Orano, Kirill Komarov from Rosatom, Shigenori Makino from TEPCO. Here are some excerpts from the mission statement of the organization:

            – World Nuclear Association is the only industry organization with a global mandate to promote nuclear energy.
            – It is in a unique position to share and advance best practice and common messages globally…
            – We represent the industry in key world forums that influence the nuclear industry’s regulatory and policy environment…
            – We also work in partnership with the IAEA, WANO, and the OECD-NEA to enhance nuclear education and build nuclear leadership, through the World Nuclear University.

            May I suggest a couple more trustworthy sources for nuclear information:

            World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2021. Perhaps the most trusted source of information about nuclear energy in the world.

            WISE Nuclear Monitor:

          • Yea, residents of Washington state paid huge when their Nuke power plants went belly up due to huge cost overruns.

            And where to you put your Nuclear Waste? Yep, store it in your ponds because there is no place to take it (Denmark as I recall has a mine they dump it in).

            Japan is not opening its Nuke plants back up (what 9 of 15?)

            China is opening some Nuke plants, but as I recall they had a huge issue in one where the French firm asked the US to tell them what was going wrong.

      • @Ademeion. I’d love it if wind power truly were the cheapest power available. The climate change crisis would be over, a my electricity bills would be going down instead of up.

        It isn’t cheap, not even close. It’s extremely expensive.

        When one is called to the witness stand in a court of law one is sworn to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. The green energy providers don’t tell the whole truth.

        Wind/Renewable providers quote their “load levelized cost of production” and say it is the lowest cost. Here are the costs that double the price of wind power they knowingly omit.

        1 The major component of delivering electricity is not production but transmission. Renewable energy lines are long, don’t transmit much in the right of way they occupy and because capacity factors of renewables are seldom above 38% for wind and 22% for solar the transmission lines (compared to 90% for thermal and nuclear) they are similarly underutilised and over dimensioned and extremely expensive.

        2 Renewables such as wind do not have the ‘spinning reserve’ of about 20% of power that is instantly dispatchable as thermal plants do. Thus if there is a fault in the network such as a short circuit, harmonic issues power factor issue, a disconnected line that must be bypassed power can’t be driven into it fault till it clears and power can’t be routed from elsewhere, the network collapses.

        As a result thermal plants have to be run inefficiently to provide this reserve.

        3 Renewables have to be backed by thermal power 100%. It takes only 1 hour in a year to collapse a network and there are many more that are becalmed. Apart from the spinning reserve that base load plants have to provide large numbers fof peaking plant gas turbines. Peaking plant, made necessary by renewables is expensive. The renewable providers then compare their product against power made more expensive by the fact it is backup power.

        4 Wind contains hidden subsidies such as accelerated depreciation rates.

        When all of these factors are considered then they add about 20% each and they provide the true cost of wind power production from $0.07 to $0.14 per Kw.Hr. For comparison the EIS have US nuclear at $0.03/KWHr. Wind isn’t even the cheapest.

        Yes I know about hope for utility scale batteries or those already used to provide an few minutes to half an hour of power to stabilise a network but they are also at great expense,

        Hook up a hydrogen economy to this with electrolysers and compressors with the low capacity factor of wind and the costs don’t look great

    • William:

      “1 Seed Oils of certain plants that do not compete with food crops or wilderness habitat.”

      I don’t get that. Any plant compete with other plants. You are either farm or you are local plants (or whatever invasives are there)

      Scrap plants might not take as much water and out of soil but take they do.

      Not sure you are not better farming it with something more efficient than Ethanol Corn extraction.

      If its going to do you any good then you have to harvest it, which means machinery and …………………

      Of course I would offer up a lot of Alaska Swampland! Its only good for Snow Machines in the Winter.

      • I think some of the seed crops are camelina and Jatropha which don’t require much water, are pest resistant and grow on marginal land but there are others. Free of the need to produce non toxic healthy tasty oils many more plants become candidates.

        While studying biomethane production I noted that because German farmers received an infeed subsidy for producing electricity from their digestors (they run spark ignition engines of up to 1MW) they have actually turned to throwing in energy sugar beets rather than just silage, manure and other wastes. This is a kind of mad way to produce electricity since methane can easily produce certified fischer tropsch jet fuel. (USAF paid for certification years ago)

        If US laws were changed perhaps all of the maize/corn now used for bioethanol could be used to make biomethane for conversion into biodiesel and SAF fischer-tropsch. It doesn’t need to natural gas to be distilled, is efficient. No need for ethanol as an oxygenate anymore as refinery tech is good enough. You’d need a liquefaction facility and transport by trailer I imagine.

        • And how do you harvest said plants on Marginal land?

          Don not get me wrong, I am not against it.

          What I am against is fluffy statement that have no technical base of reality.

          If you are going to grow and use that stuff you may well be better off replacing Corn on current farmed land.

          Then you get a real direct reduction that is economically accessible with equipment that can do the job (or implements for said equipment, Combines can shift from Soy to Corn etc)

          Too many visionaries involved and not enough down to earth make it work the best way possible.

          Replace Coal Plants with the now Evil Natural gas and Aviation is a non entity in the pollution picture.

    • Most large windmills are made in Europe and France/Germany has little oil/gas hence politically there is big support for massive off shore windpower. Todays biggest windmills getting commissioned are around 15MW, so 1000’s of these off shore will help and create lots of service jobs and work for Linde Gas and Air Liquid. The H2 made with electricity will be piped and mixed with Blue hydrogen often in natural gas pipelines where the H2 is filtered out where LH2 needs to be made like at airports. So there will be a big need for pipelines and LNG ships to boost the H2 network in the future. Even the UK might be a big exporter of H2 with its windpower stations and new generation small nuclear reactors when oil and natural gas production is winding down in the North Sea.

    • “Renewable energy is extremely expensive.”

      Hydro was always cheap.
      Wind and SolarE have come down by several magnitudes.
      Biogas to Grid too.

      The key issue is on demand availability.
      current procurement systems penalise “on demand” generation.
      This is starting to bite as all the “new” Renewables demand “full available output” taken.

      • Actually that would be wrong.

        Hydro has a huge ecological impact.

        There is a trade off at best of impact of Hydro Power vs the Environmental impact of same.

        And yes you have to have Peak power as well as the base sustaining on a grid. I managed systems and we paid those peak demand charges for a reason (utility had to be able to support us).

        Yea we could have gone off the grid, then we pollute with our small and old plant (in our case Natural Gas and Hydro were the main sources)

        So, maybe Hydro is worth it in the scheme of things, but its not a free lunch.

      • Hydro has probably destroyed more habitat, wilderness and farm land than any other form of energy. Extinctions from hydro are significant and the destruction of natural beauty enormous. It’s likely lead to more CO2 emissions than equal fossil fuelled power plant because of the release of CO2 from the submerged soil no longer holding or absorbing carbon and rotting vegetation emitting methane. It was cheap but hydro was simply not worth it given the tiny contribution it makes and the tragic costs to habitat. Hydro is usually politically driven by big organisations, sort of like VFT in Spain to small towns or the 3 Gorges Dam in China.

  3. Kind of a whatever situation. EU made a Hydrogen program and Airbus jumped in. EU did a clean skies and GE and Safron (CFM) jumped in (all the tech involved including gears means its applicable to a Turbofan Jet engine)

    EU can’t impose hydrogen on the world and if it imposes it on itself, it becomes a side shoot non entity in Single Aisle (wide body saved as it can’t be kludged to work there at all)

    In the meantime we would be far better off doing a replacement of Coal plant with Natural gas vs the Hydrogen (funding that to and in ALL countries)

    Get rid of coal is a massive leverage situation, you not only get rid of a horrid polluter, you get rid of the coal remnants (ash) and the ugly toxic aculu8ion of sludge and heavy metals but you also save on the massive transportation required to get coal to a plant.

    But no, that has no cool whiz bang tech stuff to it.

      • Hydrogen for Aircraft and viability for that use is the issue.

        No disagreement with looking at Hydrogen for all uses, testing, prototypes etc.

        Regardless, you have high tech and costly possible on one hand and on the other hand you could pay to retire coal plants and get the low hanging low cost fruit.

        Back to GreenWash and hidden agendas for high tech vs what acualy helps now and has a real impact vs pie in the sky.

        • Both China and Japan have aircraft programs.
          They also can decide what fuel types they will allow in their airspace. Amsterdam airport is already putting a surcharge on landing fees for relatively dirty/noisy aircraft…it’s not hard to imagine that certain countries could apply similar measures in the future.

        • -> “on the other hand you could pay to retire coal plants”

          Does U.S. do this?? I know utilities close coal plants without receiving any subsidies.

          • @TW

            Utilities issue bonds to “pay” themselves for closing coal plants?? 🤣

          • No, Utilities sell bonds that they pay back interest on.

            But yea, someone has to pay for it.

            Unlike the failed Nuke Plants in Washington State you get something for your money. Well I guess the abandoned Nuke plants made a good jungle gym.

            But then you have EU that thinks there is no cost to Russian Natural Gas.

            At least our end is honest exploitative capitalism!.

            The reality is that Gas is cheap and coal has a lot of costs Gas does not (transportation, mining, pollution, fly ash and the plants are far more costly to run as coal is filthy)

            The Greenie types are trying to stop financing of the conversion because Natural Gas is evil (vs coal? really?)

            We did not have to force coal out, the economics pushed it and are pushing it out.

          • @TW

            -> “No, Utilities sell bonds that they pay back interest on.

            But yea, someone has to pay for it.”

            Who is/are this/these mysterious payer(s)?

            WSJ: “Coal-fired power plants aren’t just the heaviest polluters; they’re also expensive to run, and many operate at a loss.”

            @TW, self-explanatory??

          • @TW

            WH and DOE talks banning energy export. The Germans are not as gullible as you think.

    • – “EU can’t impose hydrogen on the world…”

      Are you trying to make other readers angry by implying that EU trying “impose” something to the world ;-). That would be an old trick (which unfortunately may work for some people). Do you have a reason to think that EU is the only area in the world that’s interested in hydrogen economy? Hasn’t the US government too shown some serious interest in it recently?

      – “In the meantime we would be far better off doing a replacement of Coal plant with Natural gas vs the Hydrogen”

      I’m sorry, but I don’t understand that sentence (more specifically, what’s the role of “vs” in it). I’m not a native speaker of English, which might be the problem. Could you clarify?

      – “Get rid of coal is a massive leverage situation…”

      I don’t think there are many here who don’t understand the problems caused by coal. You seem to think that hydrogen economy is somehow an alternative to getting rid of coal. Actually the opposite is true. The hydrogen economy is one of the tools that will be used to get rid of coal (and other fossil fuels).

      – “But no, that has no cool whiz bang tech stuff to it.”

      I’d think that from the perspective of Airbus any of it’s current airliners have enough “whiz bang tech stuff” to make storing and burning hydrogen an unneeded addition in that regard.

      • Well, we have the emissions payoff scheme that came out of the EU. And then assessing out of EU airlines penalties.

        But the reality is that if Airbus builds a single aisle with Hydrogen, the only place that it would sell is the EU and they would have to force that.

        It would not have range and it would cost a lot more. And not sell anywhere else in the world (what do you do then?)

        Airbus quits making Jet fueled Single Aisle?

        So yes, the EU could mandate in its region, but then what does it do about Single Aisle traffic going into the EU that is not Hydrogen? Impose a penalty?

        Right now the EU is the only region that is pushing this to be the answer in Aviation. Different than looking at it.

        Other Countries are talking sustainable fuels.

        The reality is that Hydrogen and aircraft don’t work, so rather than spit into a Hurricane come up with alternatives (like buying out and converting coal pants) that has a real impact and quickly.

        All I see going on with the EU is the group speak thing. Nod your head yes than back track

        At current costs Hydrogen is NOT going to get rid of coal and it is supposed to be the end goal (getting rid of polluting sources including gas)

        So, do you play with Hydrogen for 50 years or do you do something now?

        If Hydrogen works for ground use, in 50 years you can retire gas fired power.

        Right now, gas powered gets rid of huge amounts of pollution.

        They keep telling us we are in crisis. I agree. Watching the Western US going up in flames is beyond sobering. Watching the rainy N.W. US going up in flames is stunning.

        Triage is all about doing the best you can with limited resources.

      • @Uwe

        Not fake news but state-sponsored propaganda.

        • To clarify:


          The story of “Chinese ICBM Silo”
          Not fake news but state-sponsored propaganda.

          • State sponsorship does not change the “fake news” tag at all.
            Someone remember the US getting hysteric over “nukular bomb research/building sites” found in various ( bad guys) countries proven with sat imagery that all shew the same site?

    • @ Bryce

      Another off topic post. Everyone understands you are a certified Airbus cheerleader. Off topic posts detract from the conversation.

      • Actually, the post was construed to have P2F as a subject, rather than Airbus; surely you’ve noticed that P2F has been a very hot topic here on LNA for the past few weeks? I did, after all, refer to a “P2F spreadsheet” and not an “Airbus spreadsheet”…it seems that you overlooked that detail. You also seem to have overlooked the fact that the message was explicitly addressed to Scott.

        Perhaps you’re frustrated by BA’s current predicament, but trying to vent that on other commenters here is not going to precipitate any improvements in Chicago 😏

  4. New Zealand has an Aluminium Smelter closing. It uses 800MW of hydro power. The owners of the Hydro station are proposing a Hydrogen plant. We do not have enough transmission capacity to move this power to the North Island where the demand is. In the North the power will come from Geothermal and wind in the future.
    Green Hydrogen is a great long term option. Which is why Air New Zealand is chatting to Airbus

    • How far is it from Auckland to the nearest point in Australia? Let alone an Airport.

      What is the internal (shorter) NZ distances and passengers numbers vs the off Island numbers?

      In the meantime a transmission line is pretty cheap.

  5. @TW

    -> “I recall a Mercedes test with a Hydrogen tank (direct burn) and 70 mile range as well as no more trunk.”

    Haha. When was it???
    Don’t you know there are FCEV currently available in U.S. that can travel about 360 miles (with trunks range from 10 to 12 cu.ft. nonetheless)??

      • Nope. Posts sent to the bottom for no reason all the time.

          • Probably because you’re not using a touchscreen…or, if you are, it’s an ancient one that isn’t very sensitive.
            The slightest finger movement near a certain part of the screen can cause a comment to be posted as a general comment rather than as a reply to a specific other post.
            This problem is mute when using a mouse or trackball.

  6. ->”Sinnett noted that since the Boeing 707-era jet age beginning in 1958, noise was reduced by 90%. *Fuel consumption was reduced by 70%*”

    Can anyone provide a reference where it comes from?

    • @Pedro: No, AS is not expanding to Europe. Boeing is showing off its ecoDemonstrator, which is in AS colors.

      • Scott:

        I would think of all people you would know the secret plan to do so and take out Ryan and Whiz Air that AS has.

  7. The EC is implemeting regulations to fight “greenwashing” . To protect consumers from perception management and unsubstantiated claims.

    Companies have to mention the relative scale and bottom line impact of their sustainable, environmental projects and claims.

    Large multinationals are charged, held accountable by hard nosed ĺ independent scientists, publicly.

    Where the electricity for your Tesla really coming from? Biofuel is it really
    helping out? Tiny innitiatives only do a tiny bit. Producing, flying in solar panels from China, at M.8, windmills in the sea, really?

    Panic in many PR departments and boardrooms. Not the least with the strong “green” industrial lobbies.

    Now governments have to be checked if they are on schedule to realize their visionary, sustainable “after me” 2030-2040 environmental targets.

    Long overdue in my opinion. The BS times are over I hope..

      • Right, having read about the legal cheating (let alone the illegal dumping of horrible polluting diesels into the US (talk about offshoring your garbage) I am filled with confidences.

        We at least get honestly exploited.

  8. As usual, lots of heated responses but little logic to some of them! There is no doubt that we should be eliminating the burning of coal as a power generation fuel – it is dirty and its extraction and disposal of the waste more so. Natural gas is not the answer though, it is cleaner and leaves little or no waste or physical damage to the environment but it is still additional carbon that was previously locked up. I think that there is little doubt that cryogenic hydrogen will become a dominant source of power in terrestrial applications, because it will become progressively cheaper to build wind and solar electricity generating plants and use their output to power the electrolysers that produce hydrogen. That hydrogen in turn will be used to fuel terrestrial transport and also combustion-based powerplants to smooth supplies. On the other hand, I don’t see aviation being hydrogen based for all the reasons that we know, but I think it is an unnecessary fallacy to think that we can avoid burning carbon completely, and actually the planet can cope with a level of it – think of the amounts of CO2 generated by forest fires – and we have been exceeding the limit of what should be possible for a long time now. If we accept that an absolute stop to carbon emissions is not feasible it then becomes a question of making the best possible use of that “allowance”, which should be focused on as much SAFs as possible supplemented by oil or LNG- derived fuel and the most economical use of both. There is enormous potential for PV cells to be placed on buildings to generate electricity – a single sq ft can produce up to 10Kw hr per sq ft and I passed a warehouse under construction yesterday advertising 1M sq ft of floor space – that represents a lot of potential and there are plenty of warehouse type buildings of various sizes in every community that could be used. Battery technology is advancing too, with talk of large scale iron/air batteries as a realistic possibility.

    Human ingenuity is amazing and the conversion to a hydrogen-based economy is entirely feasible. It will happen, and the sooner the better for all of us.

    • Oil and gas extraction like franking also responsible for significant portion of methane emitted into the atmosphere. Natural gas proponents ignore it.

    • is shale gas ( via fracking) really any cleaner than the worst run of coal plants ( incl. the excavation process ) ?
      producing LNG from shale gas is another 20% worse …

      • Roger:

        I don’t say Natural Gas is the answer. Its a short and medium term step.

        Triage is all about dealing with the catastrophe you are facing, not the unlimited medical resources you wish you had.

        No question you continue a full press campaign to work out better, and Hydrogen might be that answer medium or long term for a lot of applications.

        Forget who but they are doing a lot with GSE equipment (its a natural, bigger, low speed and a good place to experiment)

        Dump coal and replace with natural gas and you have a 60% IMMEDIATE reduction in direct pollution up the stack. Adds up even greater due to no residue fly ash and thousands of year of heavy metal poison laying around.

        • In the US dumping coal for fracking gas is a wash.
          If even that ..

  9. Old news, but it’s interesting to post it in the context of the present article.
    Unfortunately, the link doesn’t indicate what the per-liter price will be of the produced SAF. It also fails to make clear to the average reader that the renewable electricity used to run this plant is electricity that will thus not be available to power homes and other enterprises.

    “Amsterdam, February 8, 2021 – Synkero, a project development start-up, was launched during the European Conference for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Synkero aims to develop a commercial plant for the production of SAF. This so-called “e-fuel” will be produced using green hydrogen and CO2. This green hydrogen is produced from water and renewable energy. The factory will be located in the Port of Amsterdam, which has an existing kerosene pipeline to Schiphol Airport. The factory is scheduled to be completed in 2027. With this plant, Synkero’s ambition is to produce 50,000 tons of sustainable aviation fuel annually”


  10. If we ran our aircraft on Pixie Dust & Fairy Farts some other pretext for limiting (air) travel would come forth. The “environmental” pretext for constraining (air) travel is specious, a pretext. That is not what is going on here and until you acknowledge this and the pandering to this ideology stops you are complicit in their aims.

    • @Fastship

      Ok, so what is going on here, pray tell

      • @Gerrard White

        “Ok, so what is going on here, pray tell”

        …and right there, encapsulated in that question is the largest problem of all!

        • @Fastship

          So – what’s going on can not be said, yet one may not ask

          It is what it is- an oracle

          • @ Gerrard White

            Because this is not (really) a political site, the paradox being is that most of the industry exists on a rent seeking model. I digress.

            Scott wishes to keep on topic re. Nuclear but therein lies a common theme. Nuclear power is the “greenest”, cheapest and safest form of energy we have yet the environmentalist passionately and often militantly oppose it in favour of biomass and similarly environmentally destructive wind and solar farms coupled with batteries which are inadequate to maintain the needs of a progressive and prosperous society.

            Why this irrational contradiction? It is not that it (nuclear) doesn’t produce abundant, cheap low-carbon energy, but that it does, and that conflicts with their aim: to halt economic growth. There is therefore, no contradiction in their motives.

            More than any other industry I can think of the airline industry has spread the exchange of ideas, understanding and mutual prosperity amongst the peoples of the earth and this is antithetical to the ideologies of those who oppose such things in favour of their own and using the same logic (!) they use to oppose the nuclear industry they seek the destruction of the airline industry and are well on the way to succeeding in this ambition just like they have with the nuclear industry using a similar method.

            The agenda, as well as to impose their views on others and dictate how to live, what to think, when to think it, how to behave, is to stop capitalism, societal progress, the free exchange of ideas amongst peoples and economic activity altogether. Hence the hashtag #endcapitalism which you find everywhere; they do not trouble themselves or us with concealing it nor with their authoritarian activism should you not comply. We are in the midst of the largest wealth transfer in human history. Appeasement has never been a successful strategy, simply it is cowardliness.

            Mark Twain:

            “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

            “It liberates the vandal to travel — you never saw a bigoted, opinionated, stubborn, narrow-minded, self-conceited, almighty mean man in your life but he had stuck in one place since he was born and thought God made the world and dyspepsia and bile for his especial comfort and satisfaction.”

          • @Fastship

            So- the forbidden Nuke

            Mark Twain’s comments seem apropos of nothing – he’s wrong about the Vandals who were constantly on the move

  11. All: Nukes in Europe, or elsewhere, and oil and gas exploration isn’t on topic. Get back to the issues of feedstock, sustainable fuels, fuel options.


  12. This has some bearing on emissions and SFC as well as the A220 situation general (yes its a bit light weight on tech and not my favorite source but some interesting aspecdts)


    Pro9bably out there but that is the first I have seen the A220 transition from Airbus in replacing the A320.

    Data is a bit suspect as I think they refer to emissions level with the A320CEO that AF has not the A320NEO.

    • According to Scott:

      “The operating cost advantage of the A220-500 over the 737-8 would be significant.”

      You still refuse to believe it??

      • Pedro:

        You really need to take a course in comprehension. I gather English is not a language you are used to?

        The A220-500 would have an advantage over an A320NEO and a -8.

        What I said was that the comparison was to A320CEO which is the aircraft AF has in its fleet.

        The advantage would be less for an NEO.

        It may very well be worth it and as GTF improvements come along, more so. But GTF improvements would apply to a GTF A320NEO.

        Nothing says I disagree with AF and where they want to go. I think its a smart move and the A220 clearly has improvements that Airbus should have implemented in the entire Airbus lineup a long time ago.

        Boeing at least got back driven throttles and the Yoke right, not the bump steer side stick (and yes, I drove bump steer 25 yard rock trucks that topped out at 100,000 pounds or so loaded and I did not like them a bit)

        • @TW

          I guess Scott won’t disagree that: operating cost advantage of the A220-500 over the A320neo would also be *significant*.

  13. Corporate crime reporter 20th of July.
    An absolutely astonishing article about Boeings prosecutor now employed by Boeings criminal defence team and just how soft a deal they got away with.
    Why is no one covering this?

    • @Grubbie

      You are right, one of the most corrupt deals ever recorded in a nation of corrupt deals, in an Administration of corrupt deals, and even for Boeing one of the most corrupt deals they’ve ever pulled off – barring of course the Max disaster

      It is said that, in the corrupt US, this sort of deal is lawful

      And it is further said that there is so much corruption and on such a larger scale that this kind of single figure billions corruption is banal and too low level to attract comment

      With apologies to Mr Hamilton for such an off topic comment – this may not be the forum – but then there is no forum as Grubbie remarks

      • @Bryce

        Not surprised. But there are a couple imp. points in the report:

        -> It’s unusual for a planemaker to sell a freighter variant of a jet before the passenger version has hit the market. Boeing’s move reflects the struggle it faces selling 400-seat planes in a depressed travel market, as well as the threat Airbus’s new aircraft poses to the U.S. company’s cargo franchise.

        -> By targeting the large freighter market, Airbus is forcing Boeing to accelerate its investment in the 777X freighter when the U.S. planemaker is strapped for cash.

        -> By targeting the large freighter market, Airbus is forcing Boeing to accelerate its investment in the 777X freighter when the U.S. planemaker is strapped for cash.

        Qatar is in a bind. Whether they don’t mind to pick the B777XF in around 2027, two years after its competitors is the question and cash-strapped BA won’t becable to launch a new passenger jet any time soon. Leaves AB to maintain its superior market share in next couple of years.

        Yeah Clark is fed up apparently. Where’s the *adult* in the room??

  14. @TW

    WH and DOE talks banning energy export. The Germans are not as gullible as you think.