By Bjorn Fehrm
June 22, 2023, © Leeham News: Every announcement from aircraft deals, OEM updates, or supply chain news now has the words Sustainable/Sustainability injected in every second sentence. It doesn’t matter what the subject is; if it’s about a gas-guzzling way of transporting people at supersonic or even hypersonic speeds or at the other end in an eVTOL which is only as fast as your car on a US highway.
What is the real news about making our air transport system less polluting behind this misuse of the buzzwords? You have to search behind the headlines and the announcements that you know will not turn the dial. Let’s tour the Paris Air Show 2023 and look at the real developments in Sustainability.
February 17, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we summarized that SAF is the short-term solution for GreenHouse Gas (GHG) reduction for Air Transport, and hydrogen is the longer-term solution for up to medium-haul flights.
What about battery and hybrid aircraft? It’s the go-to solution for ground transport (except for long-haul trucks, which are going hydrogen, Figure 1)?
January 6, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Since we started this series about our Air Transports and their pollution, we have covered different schemes of reduction such as improved Air Traffic Control (ATC), change to electric aircraft (battery/hybrids) or hydrogen as fuel, and lastly, eVTOLs.
Of these changes, only ATC can have a short-term effect, but it’s a slow mover for organizational reasons.
Changes to how our aircraft are propelled are, unfortunately, longer-term improvements, as we see in an example below.
But we need fast change. We’ve had the craziest of summer and now winter in Europe, where I live, and it’s not a one-time variation. And this is not confined to Europe; the weather change is faster than we thought, and it’s worldwide.
So what can we do?
By Bjorn Fehrm
December 7, 2022, © Leeham News was at Airbus Summit: Airbus briefed media and influences on its Sustainability progress during briefings in Toulouse and Munich last week. Here is an update on where Airbus is with its programs.
The overall impression is of tangible progress on techno brick research and development and echo systems programs like SAF production and hydrogen supply and ground infrastructure.
At the summit, key customers like Airlines, technology partners, and leasing companies were part of the panels, giving the customer perspective and the view of the passengers.
July 21, 2022, © Leeham News at Farnborough Air Show: Airbus is converting two Arcus high-altitude gliders to check if the contrails produced by hydrogen combustion engines create an environmental problem.
The background is that experts can’t agree if the water vapor produced by hydrogen combustion (which merges hydrogen with oxygen to water) can cause global warming or not. The only way to resolve the dispute and gain fundamental knowledge is to fly and measure.
June 24, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we discussed how a High Temperature Fuel Cell (HTFC) could improve the installation of a propulsion system in our 70-seat airliner. We now add this variant to the systems we examined for installation effects and efficiencies.
The deeper discussion is in the sister article, Part 25P. High Temperature Fuel Cell-based 70-seat airliner.
June 24, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 25, High Temperature Fuel Cell-based 70-seat airliner. It adds the masses and efficiencies of a High Temperature Fuel Cell system to our 70-seat airliner fuel cell variants.
June 10, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the different fuel cell systems that can go into a 70-seat airliner like the ATR 72. In this week’s Corners, we implement these in the aircraft and look at installation effects and efficiencies.
The deeper discussion is in the sister article, Part 23P. Fuel Cell-based 70-seat airliner.
June 3, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 22, Fuel Cell system efficiency and mass. It analyses the power, loss, mass, and efficiency consequences of the different fuel cell architectures described in the main article.
May 6, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at how we create the shaft power for the thrust device we discussed before. We described the basics of a hydrogen-burning gas turbine alternative.
When we have liquid hydrogen as fuel, several advanced developments are possible. It’s what we look at now.