The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 included many countries going into enforced lockdown, with travel severely curbed for several months. One of the effects of this was a reduction in carbon emissions, particularly from the transport sector.
As things start to return to some version of normal, people are beginning to use air travel once again. While airlines struggling after enforced closure or reductions in service may not be able to prioritise sustainability in the immediate future, it is a political priority to work towards a greener future in the aviation industry in the medium- to long-term.
Carbon Emissions in the Aerospace Industry
In 2019, aircraft were responsible for approximately 2% of all global carbon emissions, which includes every single industry as well as domestic energy use. This equates to 915 million tonnes of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere in a single year.
In the five-year period leading up to 2018, emissions from the aerospace industry rose more than 70% higher in volume than had been predicted, partially due to an increased number of passenger flights to meet demand.
The UK government has now included air transport in its net zero target, which means there is a lot of work to be done within the industry to reduce or offset carbon emissions if targets are to be met.
Aerospace designers are under pressure to create new technologies that will result in reduced volumes of CO2 entering the atmosphere. These solutions will necessarily take a long time to design and implement. However, in the meantime there are solutions that end users can begin to adopt that will help slow the rate of carbon emissions produced by the industry. These include the use of biofuels, such as those designed and patented by Renovare Fuels.
Duncan Clark is Renovare Fuels’ Business Development Director and an expert in long-term value creation and technology transfer within the energy industry. Renovare Fuels is set to market a second generation biofuel generated from biodegradable waste products which has the potential to offset a percentage of the air transport industry’s carbon emissions in the near future.
Energy from Waste
The patented technology being used by Renovare Fuels was designed by a team of top chemical engineers, who now comprise the technical team of the company. Matthew Stone, Renovare Fuels Chairman, is an active investor in the clean technology space.
The patented technology delivers fuel that can be blended with existing fuel stock, eliminating the requirement for engine redesign that comes with many new sources of fuel. The nature of the fuel generation means that carbon emissions from waste are reduced, thereby offsetting emissions generated through flight.
Partnering with biofuel manufacturers is one of the key ways airlines and other aerospace companies can begin to reduce carbon emissions across the industry as part of the ongoing battle to slow or halt climate change.