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Future of Aviation

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  • 12-05-2019 8:37pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 12,113 ✭✭✭✭


    An industry that burns 500,000 tonnes of oil every day is in no way sustainable into the future.
    How are aircraft going to be adapted to move away from fossil fuel?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,133 ✭✭✭View Profile


    Google "aviation biofuel."


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,239 ✭✭✭Lurching


    It'll take a long time for the industry to make any meaningful change in fuel usage.
    Emissions per seat mile have reduced significantly in the last 40 years, but the number of seat miles has drastically increased, negating the benefit.

    If you can rustle up an idea on how to solve the problem, you'd become a wealthy person, but flying is just too convenient for people to make too much noise at this stage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,173 ✭✭✭✭JCX BXC


    While aviation is a polluter, it still pales in comparison to the pollution made by eastern Asian countries. Aircraft are consistently improving fuel efficiency, perhaps more could be done, but we're not the major polluters here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,113 ✭✭✭✭Gael23


    JCX BXC wrote: »
    While aviation is a polluter, it still pales in comparison to the pollution made by eastern Asian countries. Aircraft are consistently improving fuel efficiency, perhaps more could be done, but we're not the major polluters here.

    Fair point but as mentioned above while efficiency is improving, seat miles are rising so overall consumption/emissions don’t change that much


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,035 ✭✭✭rivegauche


    https://www.aero.de/news-31601/Siemens-und-Airbus-beenden-Kooperation-zur-eAviation-vorzeitig.html

    German text.

    Initial investigations of hybrid powertrains has been so successful that Airbus and Siemens have ended it early and are moving on with their own commercialisation plans.

    Standalone or hybrid solutions would revolutionise the shorthaul aviation industry.
    If they were successful enough to cut costs of operation then the hub and spoke model of intercontintental/international aviation which has been struggling against the rise of long and narrow routes might gain fresh impetus.

    The airlines like burning aviation fuel no more than environmentalists. Give them incentives like reduced landing fees for quieter, more fuel efficient planes instead of blunt weapon APD taxes and the changeover will happen sooner rather than later.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 455 ✭✭jasper100


    JCX BXC wrote: »
    While aviation is a polluter, it still pales in comparison to the pollution made by eastern Asian countries. Aircraft are consistently improving fuel efficiency, perhaps more could be done, but we're not the major polluters here.


    Are you referring to places like China and all the pollution that comes from making cheap tatt for us?


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,173 ✭✭✭✭JCX BXC


    jasper100 wrote: »
    Are you referring to places like China and all the pollution that comes from making cheap tatt for us?

    Are you insinuating that it's our fault that these countries pollute?


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,408 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21


    The emissions from aviation (and indeed transportation in general) are a difficult problem to solve due to the liquid fuels being used to power them being difficult to replace. Meanwhile, we are still burning coal and peat (and subsidising it) in this country to produce electricity which is obscene given the alternatives.

    Why not tackle the low hanging fruit first and worry about aviation (which is one of the harder challenges) later. Electricity generation, domestic & commercial heating, fossil fuel powered cars/trains, making homes/buildings more energy efficient etc should all be worried about before the harder challenges.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,113 ✭✭✭✭Gael23


    rivegauche wrote: »
    https://www.aero.de/news-31601/Siemens-und-Airbus-beenden-Kooperation-zur-eAviation-vorzeitig.html

    German text.

    Initial investigations of hybrid powertrains has been so successful that Airbus and Siemens have ended it early and are moving on with their own commercialisation plans.

    Standalone or hybrid solutions would revolutionise the shorthaul aviation industry.
    If they were successful enough to cut costs of operation then the hub and spoke model of intercontintental/international aviation which has been struggling against the rise of long and narrow routes might gain fresh impetus.

    The airlines like burning aviation fuel no more than environmentalists. Give them incentives like reduced landing fees for quieter, more fuel efficient planes instead of blunt weapon APD taxes and the changeover will happen sooner rather than later.
    How would a hybrid powertrain work? Wind power must be there somewhere


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,584 ✭✭✭✭kippy


    JCX BXC wrote: »
    Are you insinuating that it's our fault that these countries pollute?

    It doesn't really matter who pollutes - the results effect us all.



    As far as air travel goes, it's pretty obvious that the current growth with the current technology simply isn't sustainable.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,035 ✭✭✭rivegauche




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,081 ✭✭✭theguzman


    I think the future lies in Electric planes if some sort of Super Capacitors can be invented to hold large amounts of electricity. Alternatively some sort of miniature nuclear reactors or even Hydrogen.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,086 ✭✭✭Nijmegen


    JCX BXC wrote: »
    While aviation is a polluter, it still pales in comparison to the pollution made by eastern Asian countries. Aircraft are consistently improving fuel efficiency, perhaps more could be done, but we're not the major polluters here.

    This view, "This area only accounts for x%..." doesn't really wash. Almost every pollution source can be narrowed down to look like a small % of the total - Aviation accounts for 3% of the EUs emissions and 2% globally. Sea freight accounts for 2%. They are two examples of concentrated industries where similar technology is used across the board and you can have a major effect (which the industry has done, on a per plane basis).

    Fundamentally however tech can only get us so far. As with agriculture (about 15% of global emissions) for example, human behavior drives the matter. I fly all the time for "essential" business meetings that, frankly, could be done remotely if businesses including my own and customers would change their silly behavior. It's just sheer inertia in behavior. Eating loads of meat vs making a conscious effort to eat just a little bit less. Insisting on a holiday to the far side of the globe.

    At the end of the day, so much of our consumption is driven purely by our choices vis a vis our own convenience or personal happiness. I'd say when climate change really begins to bite we'll see heavy taxes on stuff like flying because, really, it's a luxury you don't need to survive in most cases.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,522 Mod ✭✭✭✭Irish Steve


    The problems with changing things like travel habits will be the cost of providing viable alternatives, and that will be the case for things like shipping as well.

    A long time ago now, I put forward the idea that eventually, in order to save on the use of fossil fuels, travel by air, or sea, will only take place over the shortest possible distance between continents, with local travel within the continents being made by ultra high speed rail links that are powered by sustainable electric resources. In time, if some of the more extreme ideas that have been suggested become viable, even intercontinental travel may not require aircraft, but that will depend on some very extreme and at present unachievable technologies being developed.

    In terms of Ireland, I suggested that the Foynes area of the Shannon estuary could well become a replacement for ports like Rotterdam, simply because the shipping would get into the area with less use of fossil fuel, and at the same time, Shannon Airport would be the hub for significant transatlantic freight and passenger traffic, with both passengers and freight arriving and leaving the area via high speed rail links from Ireland, the UK and beyond, and by high speed, I'm thinking of the sort of speeds that are higher than the present Japanese Bullet trains are operating at, which we are some way from being able to support at the moment.

    There are for sure some major technical issues in achieving this, such as tunnels across to the UK, and Europe, and some huge cost issues building the relevant infrastructure, and there will for sure be massive resistance from people who don't want to spend the time on the trains getting to the hubs, or lose their national connections to other places, but in the absence of a viable alternative, there may not be much choice, and the only way to achieve some of these savings will be to change the tax structure that underpins the use of fossil fuels.

    Having said that, while it has possibilities, Aviation Bio fuel alternatives are going to be problematic, in that if land is being used to produce fuel, that land cannot then be used to produce food for the people that live in the area, and that could become a very difficult choice, and even more so if the worst fears of climate change mean that areas suitable for growing the necessary crops are no longer in the places that are currently suitable for such growth.

    Needless to say, the response, especially from some locals here in Ireland, was not exactly enthusiastic, and part of that is an inability to look at the longer term bigger picture, too much of the thinking, especially here in Ireland, is tied to the need to ensure that the result of the next election is good for the present incumbents, and anything that it not going to produce a result to the advantage of those same people is just not on the radar. That has to change, if the sort of climate and related issues that are being proposed as fact are going to happen. We can't be sure about that, the planet has on more than a few occasions thrown big surprises, and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that it will do so again, and surprise us all, but what is clear is that massive changes to the way that things are done, in just about every walk of life, are going to happen, and possibly a lot faster than has been expected.

    So, the present concept of the flight to London (or Paris) for a match or weekend away will change, and become a rail trip, in probably similar times to that taken now for the air flight. Local flights from places like Knock, Cork, Dublin and Belfast, as well as other regional airports will no longer happen, unless a technology that can use renewable resources for fuel is found, and the problem there will be that there are very few safe alternatives to fossil fuel that have the same energy capacity, so finding a way to enable aviation as such to continue is going to be problematic, and even things like road transport using fossil fuels will end, and be replaced by renewable resources.

    I hear cries of "Too extreme", and that may be true. What I do know is that I will probably not see much of this happen, given my age, but I will be interested to see how quickly some of it starts to gain traction, and be talked about, given that at last, there is a slow and grudging recognition that the planet is in trouble.

    Where it goes is anyone's guess, but I think we can be very sure that the days of flights to just about anywhere for almost nothing are very much numbered. As to exactly what will replace that, I've suggested one possible route that will come about, but I could be completely off beam, and other options will be advanced and developed.

    In passing, I don't think it's by accident that China has spent significant sums on developing a rail route from China to Europe. That is the (small) beginning of finding ways to start the move away from the dependence on fossil fuels to move the goods they produce. I can see the same beginning to happen for travel across Europe,. but it will take a much bigger level of cooperation and unity than has been displayed by the relevant leaders in recent times, and yes, the present shambles over Brexit is not helping that situation at all.

    So, should we be doing things like building a new runway at Dublin? Unfortunately, yes, in that the sort of changes I am talking of here are unlikely to happen in less than a couple of decades, and in the interim, the facilities at Dublin have to be capable of supporting the traffic that will still be using those facilities. As to long term, there will absolutely have to be massive changes, and eventually, Dublin airport will become a new suburb of Dublin, and there will be no trace of what the area used to be, other than perhaps some road names that have aviation connections.

    Flight of fancy? Maybe, or maybe not, my crystal ball is not guaranteed to be right, the only thing I can be sure of is that massive change will come.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,035 ✭✭✭rivegauche


    https://corporate.ryanair.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Enviromental-Policy-Doc.pdf

    Ryanair's statements regarding their CO2 emissions.

    "• We hereby commit to achieving an emissions rate
    of 61.4 grams of CO2 per passenger km by 2030,
    which is 8% lower than our current rate and 31%
    lower than the average of the four other biggest
    European airlines"

    As always take these claims with a pinch of salt but Ryanair do have the highest occupancy and most modern fleet in the sky over Europe.
    Aer Lingus between their A320s and ATRs aren't far behind but their occupancy is lower. A330s aren't great but aren't bad either.

    This is a german official document from the department of the environment about comparissons in emissions between transport types:
    https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/366/bilder/dateien/vergleich_der_durchschnittlichen_emissionen_einzelner_verkehrsmittel_im_personenverkehr_bezugsjahr_2017.pdf
    Note the weighting for Air transport as the emissions are emitted at height, not ground level.

    An environmental policy which forced airlines to retire 747s, A380s flying around half empty, CRJs, etc with their high Co2 per passenger miles would put the legacy carriers at a distinct disadvantage to the LCCs.

    Elon Musk would like to build electric planes when he is through with Electric Cars but his attitude to safety is 100% incompatible with regulatory expectations in the aviation industry.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,896 ✭✭✭✭Spook_ie


    Short hops via helium dirigibles or zeppelins (Hindenburg had a top speed of 137kph ) research should improve on that, longer transcontinental hops via Maglev technology (as in Beijing Mag Lev 429 kph) or more standard rail (Shinkansen H5 365kph)


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,086 ✭✭✭Nijmegen


    The fundamental issue is that the IATA reckons air travel will double by 2037. To an extent more efficient fleets or better route planning is just spitting into a bucket with a massive hole in the bottom to try keep it full. It's the number of passengers not the efficiency of current technology that's the core issue. Either change the core technology or mode of transport or you have to cut the numbers of flights. There's no other way to square the circle.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,035 ✭✭✭rivegauche


    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pwc-foresees-new-large-turboprop-by-2025-442292/
    Up to 20% lower fuel burn than existing turboprops.
    Turboprops are already near 50% lower fuel burn than Jets but in the current environment speed is king and in some markets turboprops which are just jet engines with propellers are mistrusted by the travelling public for no good reason.
    Bombardier sold off the Q400 to a company without the resources to extend it. Airbus won't permit ATR to build a bigger turboprop.
    Airbus which has enjoyed considerable support from the E.U. should probably have its arm twisted to allow ATR develop a 100 to 120 seater turboprop for the E.U. but would also find many willing Customers in Africa and the Pacific Rim nations.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 455 ✭✭jasper100


    Nijmegen wrote: »
    The fundamental issue is that the IATA reckons air travel will double by 2037. To an extent more efficient fleets or better route planning is just spitting into a bucket with a massive hole in the bottom to try keep it full. It's the number of passengers not the efficiency of current technology that's the core issue. Either change the core technology or mode of transport or you have to cut the numbers of flights. There's no other way to square the circle.

    Nail on the head there. No point in making each plane a little more efficient then doubling the number of planes.

    Flights less than 1000 miles should be taxed heavily and electric trains travelling at 300mph paid for out of the tax.

    Obviously places like ireland and other remote locations cant do that and so should be given some alternative option.

    Global aircraft emissions needs to be capped at whatever level it is at today, so the only way to expand the industry is improved efficiency.

    None of this will happen so in my opinion the global warming issue will continue unabated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,086 ✭✭✭Nijmegen


    jasper100 wrote: »
    None of this will happen so in my opinion the global warming issue will continue unabated.

    The grim reality is I think Mother Nature will correct the problem through a mass die off of humans. Reduce the amount of available land, agriculture declines, starvation and war will sort out the rest. We’re incapable.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 455 ✭✭jasper100


    Nijmegen wrote: »
    The grim reality is I think Mother Nature will correct the problem through a mass die off of humans. Reduce the amount of available land, agriculture declines, starvation and war will sort out the rest. We’re incapable.

    Agree 100%. I see we will have to pay €150m for carbon tax credits next year. Very little in the grand scheme of things in this country.

    The human race are incapable of stopping their consumerism. As you say nature will correct the problem. Mass famine and mass reduction in the human population of the planet.

    Miama and south Florida are under serious pressure and are raising roads. Manhattan are building a $1 Billion flood wall to protect from future sea surges, all this time Trump is making a mockery of the whole issue.

    Eventually the sea will win, and win big.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,086 ✭✭✭Nijmegen


    The sad thing is it's mainly poor people who can't afford to jet off to their holidays who will suffer the most. Rich countries will afford the land and tech to keep themselves fed or buy a new home somewhere that's not affected, while poor people predominately live in the places where daily temperatures are reaching 50 degrees or won't be able to readily get out of places that will flood. Rich, better educated people who have smaller families will survive. It really is depressing when you think about it - which is one reason why people don't think about it and don't do anything about it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,638 ✭✭✭zilog_jones


    rivegauche wrote: »
    in some markets turboprops which are just jet engines with propellers are mistrusted by the travelling public for no good reason.
    I hear that here too - Aer Lingus do a few ATR72 flights from Cork and I've heard people who've been on them think they're "ancient" planes, or are shocked that planes with propellers even exist.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,716 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tabnabs


    Electric planes are high on the agenda in Norway (who want to electrify anything that moves). Flight training is where these new aircraft will be seen first.
    Norway's OSM Aviation orders 60 electric planes to cut training costs

    OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s OSM Aviation, a recruitment and training firm partly-owned by low-cost carrier Norwegian Air, has ordered 60 all-electric training planes from Colorado-based aircraft manufacturer Bye Aerospace to cut flight costs.

    The cost of each two-seater aircraft is approximately $350,000 per plane, OSM Chief Executive Espen Hoeiby said on Thursday, with first deliveries planned for late 2021.

    “It costs $110 per hour to operate a conventional trainer now. The electric planes will cost $20 per hour,” he told Reuters.

    OSM currently has just over 20 planes for pilot training, mostly Cessna 172s, which it plans to phase out.

    Pilots will receive the same training as before, and the same license that they currently get from flying conventional planes, said Hoeiby.

    The order will help OSM expand to more countries, including to the United States, he added.

    Last year Norway made headlines after it said it wanted to buy electric passenger planes to combat climate change, predicting such passenger flights by 2025 if new aviation technologies allow.

    In October, EasyJet pushed back its forecast for flying electric planes to 2030.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-airplane-electric/norways-osm-aviation-orders-60-electric-planes-to-cut-training-costs-idUSKCN1RN1VT


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 9,860 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tenger


    I hear that here too - Aer Lingus do a few ATR72 flights from Cork and I've heard people who've been on them think they're "ancient" planes, or are shocked that planes with propellers even exist.

    It’s quite funny, people associate props with post WW2 aviation.
    In point of fact the ATR72s are actually more modern than the EI A320s.


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