And almost 90% of these CO2 emissions are produced by widebody aircraft.
While sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and operational air traffic management (ATM) improvements offer a clear path to reducing emissions, here we assess whether game-changing technologies, such as batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen, methane, ammonia or solar energy, could make a difference – and if so, when.
We take a hypothetical widebody flying from Paris to Singapore to analyse how much time, energy and cost it would take to perform that flight, and what that would entail in technical terms, for each new technology.
We find that in each case it will take several decades before any of these technologies could be adapted to power a widebody flying long-distance.
Therefore, to decarbonise long-haul flights, it is of vital importance to make real progress now on other technological and operational solutions. This includes in particular a massive increase in SAF supply/usage and the need to move forward with fleet renewal – all of which, as we will be exploring in our next Think Paper, pose their own challenges.