Boeing and Airbus make important Sustainability announcements at Farnborough.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 18, 2022, © Leeham News at Farnborough Air Show: Boeing started the Sustainability announcements by the big two by summarizing its Sustainability efforts to date and previewing Cascade, a web tool where we all can check the lifecycle effects of actions to support Net Zero at 2050. The tool supports all technologies and any real or concept aircraft of your making. Boeing also made announcements about supporting the Global scaling of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) together with Alder Fuels.

Airbus closed the day by announcing it had pre-ordered 400,000 tonnes of CO2 Direct Air Capture performed by 1PointFive. The pre-order is in cooperation with Air Canada, Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, LATAM, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic. One million tonnes of CO2 will be captured at a new Texas site by 2024 and then permanently stored in old oil wells.

Both companies stressed that Sustainability is, like Safety, not a competition item; instead, we must all contribute, and there is no single solution or entity that will get us to net zero by 2050.

Figure 1. Boeing’s VP of Sustainability Brian Yutko shows Cascade. Source: Leeham Co.

Air Transport Sustainability gets real

It was fitting that the Monday at Farnborough International Airshow was the hottest in British history with 39°C/102F. Global warming is real, and it’s going faster than we all would like.

The message from Boeing and Airbus was the time for talk and posturing is over, and it’s now concrete actions that count.

Boeing emphasized it’s not a Sustainability laggard; it has just chosen a realistic path. There are over 20,000 aircraft flying each day, and any new aircraft type (hydrogen or whatever) will turn the Global Warming dials little by 2050.

The reality is that we need massive investment in SAF as all aircraft can fly on it in blended form, and the replacement of old gas guzzlers with new economic planes is the other major action we can do that has a real effect.

To get us all to realize the actual effects of, say, introducing a new propulsion type to regional aircraft by the second half of this decade will have a minuscule 0.5% effect on our CO2 footprint by 2050, Boeing has developed Cascade (Figure 1).

Cascade is a data modeling tool Boeing created in cooperation with leading universities. The tool appraises the potential for different technologies and actions to reduce emissions through:

  • Airplane fleet renewal
  • Renewable energy sources such as sustainable fuel, hydrogen, electric propulsion
  • Operational efficiency improvements
  • Other advanced technologies

The Cascade model assesses the full lifecycle impacts of renewable energy by accounting for the emissions required to produce, distribute and use alternative energy carriers such as hydrogen, electricity, and SAF.

Cascade is not ready for prime time yet (it’s in beta test with University partners), but once we can get our hands on it, we will review it. It’s a good approach, and we will all learn a lot from it, is my feeling. Its results will, of course, depend on the assumptions driving the model, but these are things that can be tuned.

Airbus, et al

Airbus and Air Canada, Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, LATAM, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic have all committed to buying 400,000 tonnes of Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage from  1PointFive, an Airbus partner for Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage, Figure 2.

Figure 2. How Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage works. Source: Airbus.

“The Direct Carbon Capture is established technology, and the storing of the CO2 in used Oil wells builds on the extensive knowledge we have from using CO2 injection to the wells to further the extraction of oil,” says the CEO of 1PointFive, Steve Kelly. “Our 1 million tonne facility will be placed in Texas where we have suitable wells for storage and extensive knowledge of the technology.”

“The Direct Carbon Capture with Storage is an important technology, but it’s also a component of producing SAF from water electrolysis where we need to add Carbon to a Hydrogen intermediate step,” says Airbus Head of Sustainability & Environment Nicolas Chretien. “This makes Carbon Capture so interesting. Carbon Capture it’s an affordable and scalable complement to other actions, and today’s record heats show we are already late and need all means we have. Sustainability is, like Safety, not a competitive item. We all need to cooperate to achieve our 2050 goal of net-zero emissions.”

43 Comments on “Boeing and Airbus make important Sustainability announcements at Farnborough.

  1. I love all this BS that the media are simply gobbling.
    There is not much sustainable in these announcements when you take into account all parameters.

    As Lavoisier was saying, nothing is created, everything is just transformed.

    • Notice the building with the big stack off the end? Me thinks Coal!

      Reminds me of the Railroad add about how green they are and showing windmills and then a Coal Train goes by!

      And that power line is coming right out of the area with the power plant with the tall stack. hmmmm

        • One of the Methods of Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2 is through absorption on a class of compounds called amines (I think a waxy like plastic on a ceramic bead substrate on the climaworks product, its already used to make CO2 for green houses). The CO2 is then released with low grade heat in the order of 80C to 115C. Hence geothermal energy could be used to regenerate, so could a myriad of industrial sources of waste heat including nuclear.
          The sequestration of CO2 in deep underground water aquifers is possible and there seem to be plenty around even in Europe. Another form of sequestration is to pump the CO2 into gas and oil fields where it enhances recovery in the case of oil.
          The best use of these will likely be the sequestration of CO2 produced as a byproduct from the production of “Blue Hydrogen” from oil, natural gas or coal. A perfect solution for Europe’s energy wows.
          Focus in recent years has been on CCSU (Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization) where the CO2 is not only sequestered but utilized to make hydrocarbons. Maybe one day it will be an environmentally conscious thing to use plastic shopping bags thereby sequestering CO2 in landfill. 😂

        • Albert:

          I understand what its labeled as but the only place that does power generation with tall stacks is Coal.

    • I agree with your comment: it’s “sustainability theater”, as we head steadily toward eco-collapse. Check recent ERoEi stats, as well..

      • By the way, I was replying only to top-line commenter “CBL”.
        I’m not familiar with Lavoisier, but that sure is an interesting quotation. My take is that all the mentioned transforming will not work out especially well. Just a tiny blip in time..

          • Not quite.

            Lavoisier introduced the “law of conservation of mass”. He showed that, in a chemical reaction, the cumulative mass of reactants and products does not change
            (actually, it does, but by amounts too small for him to measure).

            Complementary to this is the classical law of conservation of energy: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed: it can only be converted from one form into another”.

            The “famous Einstein equation” deals with relativistic mass-energy equivalence, and the distribution of total energy between kinetic and binding-energy forms:

            E² = c²p² + (Mc²)², where E is energy, p is momentum, M is rest mass and c is the speed of light.

            When p=0 (rest state), this equation becomes:

            E = Mc².

          • I had a roommate in Collage that was a match major.

            Nice guy but those people are nuts. As much philosophy as match. I Quit at the engineer level (algebra). KW is 1.732 X Amps x 480 (in my case) (X whatever Power factor your system is, usually close to .9 .

            I had some all computer loads that you needed an RMS meter to measure but usually there was offsetting leading and lagging PF.

    • 100% agreed. Unreal, unsustainable BS coming from the big two. Business as usual for them. Boeing and Airbus behaving as if there was no tomorrow. Which is not far from the truth, for these jurassic CEOs.

      • Boeing and Airbus have no choice but to go with the current. The tree that bends with the wind doesn’t snap.

        • As an aside, Texes is being saved from a grid collapse due to Solar contributing a lot more than estimates. Texas is a stand alone not linked to the US grid (they are nuts but then its a red state).

          Holding something like 4 GW in reserve out of 80 GW or so, and Solar is running around 8 GW.

          No solar and crash goes the grid.

          It has its place though a lot of tax write-offs involved to get it.

  2. How much does the direct capture System cost to build out of gas and oil driven resources if not Coal in China? (or Germany)

    Oh yes, lets run it through the Boeing model and see what the cost and or benefit is (or is not) That would be so cool.

    • 400,000 tons of CO2 can be used to synthesise 130,000 tons of SAF Jet Fuel or diesel. So about 1000 A380 or B747 flights. Ofcourse the energy will be sourced from renewable suppliers. The airlines are not so foolish as to leave themselves open to criticism. The conversion efficiency is likely to approach 50% with 60% possible even 65% if concentrated sources are used.
      -Ofcourse there simply aren’t enough renewables in the world to make anything but a token dent. Only 1.8% of the worlds energy is renewable (3% in Europe) . Electricity is only 28% of consumption.
      -I think the nuclear companies Rolls Royce and NuScale will do well with their SMR.
      -At the moment what the airlines must do is prove they’re investing in zero emission solutions and ensure a few startups are producing. The energy will eventually come mostly from nuclear but they can’t say that.

      • What’s the best-case ERoEI on the processes you’ve mentioned?

        • The process are generally regarded as being 1.75-2 times worse than the energy sources supplying it. It’s about 75% as good as producing compressed hydrogen. Most of the costs are in the energy supply. The absorbers, Fischer Tropsch reactors and electrolyzers adding only a little in capital cost. Of course wind turbine can’t power an aircraft, smelt copper, be turned into plastics or power earth moving machinery. Hydrogen is much harder to transport.

          • Thanks for that efficiency information and context.

        • -It takes about 1kW.Hr to capture 1kg of CO2 from the air. Some processes developed by the US NRL of absorption on to metals and release with an ‘galvanic electrical change may get that down to 0.4kW.Hr per kg. There are many ways, amines, hydroxides.
          -CO2 is over 135 times more abundant in sea and river water than air and it is actually appears to be even more efficient to extract it from those. The United States Navy has been looking at creating jet fuel onboard its nuclear powered carriers for decades. One can imagine the production in offshore of floating wind farms etc.
          The technologies of hydrogen, carbon neutral ‘electro fuels’ are promising especially if there is an abundant source of power. They are generally not the primary solution for automobiles (batteries are better) but are promising for aircraft, earth moving machinery, tractors shipping and petrochemicals.
          One can imagine a nuclear reactor with the heat used to make electricity for electrolysis and the waste heat used to regenerate CO2 absorbents. If Thermochemical water splitting is performed (Sulphur Iodide cycle) one can imagine the water split directly by heat with the low grade rejected heat used to regenerate the absorbents.
          Assuming a 65% efficiency one could get about 800 tons per day out of the proposed Rolls-Royce SMR and about 900 tons for 8 of the NucScale Reators.
          The Nuscale reactors is of a PWR type used in US and British nuclear boomer submarines where there are no pumps circulating the inner loop. A Thermosyphon ensures circulation I assume. Very safe (an quiet)

  3. -As far as “global warming being real”. Here in the entire continent of Australia temperatures are down by maybe 15C or more. It’s freezing. We may have this till the end of the decade. All of the old coal fired power stations had to be restarted. Coal was in short supply and natural gas even worse as renewables didn’t do the yeomans work of replacing coal, Natural Gas did. The electrical network was teetering on collapse for two weeks.
    -The cause is La Niña. The ocean water is actually warm and the swimming in winter is great on those days that are calm.
    -Several businesses have closed due to electrical energy cost increases.

    • With global warming, captured heat by ocean is increased and Nina and Nino are more extreme.
      we need to reduce drastically our carbon emissions and energy use.

  4. How hot does it have to get at Farnborough for climate change to sink in with the Neanderthal executives at the OEMs? Reminds me of the tobacco executives.

    • Are you suggesting that the aerospace OEMs are responsible for climate change…?

  5. Whether it’s commercially viable or not, at least there’s a group that’s intelligent enough to start considering carbon capture — which addresses the core *cause* of climate change (zero-order term)…in contrast to the emissions reduction discussion, which only addresses the *worsening* of climate change (first-order term).

    Some basic math is being overlooked by the traditional environmental groups.

  6. No, they are not and this is where the problems are. We are focusing on the tree when this is the forest that should be tackled.

    Saving just 10% emission on ground transportation would have the same effect as deleting all aviation related emissions!

    This is crazy!

    • Or just converting all the Coal plants to natural gas burning.

      There is a lot of gas in the world, what is lacking is distribution for it as EU elected to take Soviet gas.

      I think it was Lithuania that setup to take shipped in gas (and the supply) vs Soviet gas. They got a great discount for Soviet gas and they have the Gas Carrier to supply themselves now with no Soviet gas. Smart people.

      • In a similar vein:
        Confererate gas is just as risky: whether the tap stays open or closed depends too much on who is in the WH. Just imagine what will happen to Confererate gas exports if “The Don” gets re-elected. Even now, Confederate parliamentarians want to curb exports, because higher gas prices may adversely affect their re-election chances. Who wants to do business with an outfit like that?

      • > There is a lot of gas in the world, what is lacking is distribution for it as EU elected to take Soviet gas. <

        Now *why on Earth* would they do that, with so many better alternatives available?

        By the way, I think it's quite wrong for this site to allow that one *deluded commenter* to repeatedly invoke "Soviet" influence in his claims.. at least he's in Alaska, though.

    • It’s good that unducted fans are getting some serious attention: it’s the natural extension of the drive toward ever-higher bypass ratios in recent decades.

      Also good to see that people are starting to talk about wing-mounting.

      Airbus has plenty of money to spend on exploratory projects like this.

      • Airbus is likely to be getting mostly EU money for this sort of testing

        But also
        ‘ The company adds that ahead of the A380 test flights, CFM will perform engine ground tests, along with flight-test validation on GE’s Boeing 747-400 flying testbed at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operations center in Victorville, California.’

        • Like Duke said, its all for show. This is for an engine that does not even exist in a prototype form and 2035 build date (which will be moved back to 2036, then 2037 and then cancelled)

          Its all about free money to develop a core and a gearbox to compete with P&W and RR.

        • @ DoU
          “Airbus is likely to be getting mostly EU money for this sort of testing”

          Any links for that?
          Or is it just the usual BA “back office” frustration?

          • Thanks for that link link link to solid
            data.. unsupported claims are kinda snoozy, to me.

            😉

  7. Lest anyone get excited about 400k tons of CO2 capture it is roughly 7 minutes worth of global CO2 production (based on 30 billion tons/year globally) which may be a low guesstimate.

  8. > TransWorld
    July 20, 2022

    I had a roommate in Collage that was a match major.
    Nice guy but those people are nuts. As much philosophy as match. I Quit at the engineer level (algebra). KW is 1.732 X Amps x 480 (in my case) (X whatever Power factor your system is, usually close to .9 .

    I had some all computer loads that you needed an RMS meter to measure but usually there was offsetting leading and lagging PF.uch philosophy as match. I Quit at the engineer level (algebra). KW is 1.732 X Amps x 480 (in my case) (X whatever Power factor your system is, usually close to .9 . <

    Oh.

    That clears thing right on up. 😉

  9. People, I’ve had it with a couple of you.

    TW: Drop the fucking stuff about the Soviet Union (which, in case you don’t know, doesn’t exist anymore). You’ve been previously warned and beyond that, you are one of my constant problem childs in ignoring Reader Comment Rules. You are now within a hair’s width of being banned, not suspended.

    Others: The persistent personal attacks on Duke of Url are violations of Reader Comment rules. Dispute his assertions or facts, but knock off the personal stuff. A bunch of you are about to be suspended.

    If you all don’t shape up, I will close comments on all posts for an indefinite period going forward.

    How many times do I have to remind you all to stick to the post’s topics?

    Hamilton

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