Crash landing for dream of ‚guilt-free flying‘? Scientists find no clear green alternative to jet fuel

From Tallbloke’s Talkshop

 February 28, 2023 by oldbrew

London’s Heathrow airport

The four leading alternatives, from biomass to hydrogen, are expensive and/or would require huge imports or swathes of farmland, we’re told. Another fail for climate obsessives it seems. Is Plan B – choking off demand – on the fanatics’ drawing board yet?
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The quest for guilt-free flying may have been knocked off course by a broad study that has concluded there is “no clear or single net zero alternative to jet fuel”, reports Sky News.

The four most viable alternatives “offer some carbon savings but are not ideal”, according to the review by the Royal Society academy of scientists.

Replacing jet fuel with biomass, for example, would require half the UK’s farmland just to sustain current passenger levels.

But the government is planning for levels to soar by 70% by 2050, representing an additional 200 million passengers.

Switching to sustainable fuel is key to its “jet zero” strategy to turn aviation green, which it touts as a plan to offer “guilt-free flying”.

Flying is responsible for 8% of UK emissions and around 2.4% globally, and also releases other forms of pollution.

The lack of alternatives makes the carbon intensive industry one of the hardest to decarbonise as the world works towards net zero emissions by 2050.

“The requirements for an alternative to jet fuel, to kerosene, is energy density, has to be sufficient to sustain short and long haul flights, it must be produced globally at scale, it must be cost-competitive and it must be implementable by 2050,” said Professor Graham Hutchings, chair of the report’s working group.

Other options, such as hydrogen, ammonia and synthetic fuels require a massive increase in renewable energy production, or are expensive or require substantial modifications to existing aircraft.

Producing enough green hydrogen – which is created by splitting water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen with renewably generated electricity – would require more than doubling or tripling the UK’s renewable capacity.

A fuel from biomass can be used in the same aircraft engine but there are concerns about its sustainability.

Full report here.