Sustainability

Putting the “sustainable” in SAF

By Karen Kwon

May 1, 2022

The airline industry is anxious to get on the right side of the climate change issue sooner rather than later. Karen Kwon tells us about a fuel with a limitless feedstock that could be the way to net-zero, provided it can be produced in high enough quantities.

Space transportation’s pollution conundrum

By Alyssa Tomlinson

January 1, 2022

Moving about by trains, automobiles and aircraft began without consideration for the environmental effects of the emissions from these machines. Is humanity about to repeat this disregard, this time for transportation to space? Perhaps, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Alyssa Tomlinson tells the story.

Jet fuel from smokestacks

By Keith Button

August 24, 2021

The air transport industry lacks enough suppliers of sustainable aviation fuel to meet the anticipated demand as airlines become more aggressive about reining in their carbon footprints and more travelers take to the air. Keith Button describes one company’s unique approach to meeting the demand.

The way to net-zero

By Keith Button

June 1, 2021

The world’s top two commercial aircraft manufacturers have radically different views about how to curb the carbon footprint of air travel between now and 2050. Airbus’ vision of developing hydrogen-powered aircraft for all but the longest routes has produced an air of excitement, while Boeing’s caution about hydrogen could provide a reality check. Keith Button spoke to executives from both companies. Here is what he learned.

Curbing contrails

By Keith Button

May 1, 2021

As surprising as it might be, contrails exceed carbon dioxide as jet travel’s greatest contributor to global warming. Reduce the contrails, and you could immediately soften the sector’s climate impact. Achieving that could be the hitherto unspoken benefit of shifting aircraft to sustainable aviation fuels derived from crop residue or food waste. Keith Button spoke to scientists who are measuring the effects.

Decarbonizing by 2050: Optimists, pessimists and realists

April 1, 2021

The air transportation sector once believed that the best it could do globally speaking would be to reduce its net-carbon output by 50% below 2005 levels by 2050. That view placed the sector out of sync with what the United Nations has called a “global rallying cry” and “race” toward a net-zero economy by 2050. Now, a shift is underway that could sync up the sector with those embracing the more ambitious goal.