Will green air travel ever be possible?

It has been estimated that about 3 per cent of greenhouse gases are produced by airlines, so how can air travel become green? Steven Cutts reports

Saturday 13 November 2021 21:30
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<p>The principal obstacle to a new runway at Heathrow airport is noise, and electrically powered aircraft would go some way to reducing this </p>

The principal obstacle to a new runway at Heathrow airport is noise, and electrically powered aircraft would go some way to reducing this

In some circles, the green activists of this world are seen as puritanical spoilsports who try to make life difficult for the rest of us. First, they closed coal mines, then they started to oppose Jeremy Clarkson. Next up came jet-set holidays and business-class aviation. These activists are often seen as being anti-pleasure, since most of the activities they seek to abolish are a source of pleasure to millions. The conflict now emerging is between those who seek to save the planet by restricting international travel, and the engineers and innovators who are looking for a way out of the hole we are now in.

It has been estimated that about 3 per cent of greenhouse gases are produced by the airlines. Aviation fuel is a mishmash of hydrocarbon chains that take their origin from crude oil. When it is burnt, the fuel produces carbon dioxide and water, with most of it released at very high altitude. This represents about 12 per cent of the CO2 generated by the transport industry globally. (To put this in perspective, road transport produces 74 per cent.) During the process of flight, a large airliner consumes less fuel per mile travelled than your average family car. Given that there might be several hundred people onboard the actual aircraft, it’s hard to imagine a more efficient form of transport.

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