Airport Technology - Florence Jones

The aviation industry says that the future of sustainable flight is around the corner. Florence Jones asks if the aviation industry is making promises that it cannot keep.

In April of this year, Chinese battery giant CATL announced the creation of a condensed battery capable of opening up a “brand new electrification scenario for passenger aircraft”. According to CATL, the battery has enough energy density to make electrification of air transport much more economically viable, opening up a range of possibilities for aircraft manufacturers to develop sustainable aviation. 

With entire economies committed to 2050 net zero targets, signed under the Paris Agreement, the aviation industry is under pressure to innovate. 

Carbon emissions from the aviation industry represent around 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Despite falling during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, aviation emissions are expected to continue to grow steadily in the coming years. 

A number of major industry players, from airlines to airports, have put net zero targets in place. The International Air Transport Association aims to be zero carbon by 2050, and Airbus has also implemented a target for the same year.  

According to the Royal Society, a UK-based scientific academy, huge challenges remain for net-zero flight to become reality, including the development of technologies which do not yet exist.  

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