Spotlight Tomorrow: Sustainability Tops the Agenda for Aviation Industry
November 23, 2021
During the first decades of commercial aviation, safety was the top priority. That was followed by a focus on security and, more recently, by service. Now, sustainability is top of the agenda for the industry, as airlines, aircraft makers and engine manufacturers pursue technologies and solutions to reduce emissions.
Many of the sustainable approaches and challenges facing the sector were discussed during a panel discussion at the recent GE-hosted Spotlight Tomorrow event held at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Panelists included Mohamed Ali, Vice President and General Manager of Engineering with GE Aviation; Ahmed Safa, Divisional SVP with Emirates Engineering; and Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer with Etihad Airways.
The technology expected to play a major role at least through the medium term is sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), or biofuels, which are jet fuels made with fats, oils and greases that have been derived from crops, grasses, algae and other sources. GE Aviation is ensuring its engines today can run on SAFs.
GE Aviation also is working on a program over the next decade to reduce engine emissions by at least 20%.
Near term, airlines are working to reduce the weight of aircraft to lower fuel consumption, including in the cabin and by reducing airframe drag. The opportunity for some of the biggest reductions in fuel burn come from digital solutions, such as those developed by GE Aviation. These include software that helps improve flight paths and another that gives pilots insights into their own flights to help them reduce fuel use. As well, GE Aviation’s 360 Foam Wash is helping airlines reduce emissions.
Technologies such as hydrogen fuel, and hybrid electric engines also were discussed but the challenges around them mean it will be decades before they play a major role in the sector’s decarbonization.
To view this 25-minute discussion, click the link below.