Net Zero Aviation

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation are responsible for 2-3 of emissions worldwide. Jet planes have lifetimes measured in decades and take decades to develop, meaning jet planes that burn kerosene will continue to be around for decades. Electric planes can only carry smaller numbers of people and travel limited distances (a few hundred miles), while Hybrid Electric planes are more promising they still require years of development till they are available on the market, whereas current planes rolling off the assembly line will be flying in 2050 and beyond. A better solution is net zero synthetic jet fuel. This is synthetic jet fuel made from a combination of C02 pulled out of the air and hydrogen from surrounding air/water powered by renewable electricity. This solution can be a full substitute for traditional jet fuel, truly carbon neutral, and displaces no food and agriculture.

 

Actor(s)

This intervention exists in early stage pilot form and requires policymakers as well as the flying public and large corporates to demand sustainable aviation fuel of airlines

 

Trigger (intervention)

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is in the process of going through international standards. Once a standard is achieved various organizations, policies, and purchasing policies can incentivize use of standardized sustainable aviation fuel.

 

Criticality

Currently, many airlines are being bailed out due to Coronavirus. Some of these bailouts, such as Air Frances, contain strict carbon reduction clauses which may induce airlines to enter into supply agreements for SAF in the absence of a carbon tax.

 

Feedback Dynamics

Social network effects are helpful here because the ecosystem for corporates and organizations (from aviation climate extinction protesters, to google employees on walkout) demand progress that is more than offsetting emissions in other places. This solution changes the pollution from every flight flown with it, without stranding the assets of airlines or major oil producers providing an avenue for systemic change.

 

Timescale and scaleability

Available in smallbatch currently on select flight routes, programs are underway to fund more broadly at the single airport level within the next year or two. This approach would require large public adoption to roll-out; but, it can be done within 5-10 years.

 

Resistance

 

Author

Ben Watson

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