As much as we need to reduce aviation emissions, batteries are not the answer. Replacing a turbine-powered airliner with a similarly sized electric aircraft would require a giant leap in battery technology — and we’re not there yet.
So how can we make aviation sustainable?
According to research by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the aviation industry can achieve its 2050 net-zero emissions target by developing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and green liquid hydrogen technologies.
They also emphasize that green liquid hydrogen is the best fuel for the first generation of zero-emission aircraft.
According to ATI, targeted technology investment could help the UK develop its market share for civil aerospace to 19% by 2050, up from 12% today. This will increase the sector’s gross economic value added from £11bn to £36bn – and the number of aerospace jobs from 116,000 to 154,000.
Correspondingly, the UK has gradually increased its efforts in the field of hydrogen energy over the past few years.
In March 2021, British Airways invested in ZeroAvia, a British-American hydrogen-electric aircraft developer, to accelerate the development of hydrogen-powered aircraft.