Besides innovating on biofuels and electric planes, easyJet and others are demonstrating that much can be done to cut emissions before aircraft leave the ground
Neste's head of renewable jet fuel sees 2017 as a turning point for the aviation industry. Paul Paoletta, whose company is providing Geneva airport's biofuel, wrote in a blog that the year will go down in aviation history because all sectors started to work together to cut emissions.
Besides innovation in electric planes, easyJet is demonstrating that much can be done on the ground. It is replacing its diesel tugs with electric tugs at Gatwick airport to move aircraft off the stand, to reduce both emissions and noise.
It’s also working with French aerospace group Safran and UK hydrogen energy producer ITM Power to develop a hydrogen fuel cell to provide the energy required for taxiing. First trials are expected at Toulouse airport next year. EasyJet says taxiing consumes 4% of its total annual fuel demand, so deploying the technology across its entire fleet could save 55,000 tonnes of fuel a year. The airline envisages making the hydrogen from renewable energy.
New aircraft are also more fuel-efficient. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays say they’ve cut aircraft CO2 emissions by 8% to 4.08m tonnes compared to 2015. Some of the decrease is down to fewer flights, and some to continued introduction of more...