At this time where everyone seems to try transiting to green energy, what does the air companies?
Energy consumption savings are in all heads, but it is often more a matter of gain than a matter of being sustainable for the planet. Aircraft Companies does not make it differently and the lack of international agreements on the CO2 taxation does not help. Indeed, the barrels of kerosene is growing each year. If they want to keep their profit, they will have to reduce the consumption, no miracle.
For that they choose 4 different ways of doing:
- Lighter planes
By saving on all the different materials of the airplane (seats, food material, …) they can expect a 30% weight reduction, which can considerably reduce the fuels consumption.
- More modern engines
In 2012 in France, the consumption per seat per 100km was in average of 3.7 litters. Some new engines that are currently building would be able to save 15% of gas emissions.
- Greener fuels
All biofuels based on different alimentary oil are tested more and more by companies, the biggest challenges are the needs in raw materials.
- Better management of the flight paths
Optimization of the flight and the air traffic management in airports to avoid traffic jam are the most logical solutions to reduce energy consumption without the need of new technologies.
A simple example of comparison between a car and a common plane (Airbus A350)
For a 6,800 km flight , the A350 consumed 48 tons of fuel, 6 tons per hour. And since one kilogram of kerosene equals 1.25 liters of fuel, this means that 60,000 liters of fuel have been consumed over the entire journey. If we want to risk a comparison with the car we can say that the plane has consumed nearly 900 liters of gasoline per 100 km, 180 times more than a city car (whose average consumption is around 5 liters per 100 km) but with 85 times more people on board.
Of course a lot of different factors make the comparison difficult but now that you are aware, will you say it is better to use the plane when you have other solution?
Lubna Le Bail, 2013. Le défi de l’aviation durable [online] Available at : https://webdeveloppementdurable.com/le-defi-de-laviation-durable/ [Accessed the 4 January 2018]
Aeronewstv.com, 2017. Combien consommé un avion comme l’Airbus A350 ? [online] Available at : http://www.aeronewstv.com/fr/industrie/aviation-commerciale/3816-combien-consomme-un-avion-comme-lairbus-a350.html [Accessed the 4 January 2018]
Alain Desert, 2013. Consommation énergétique des moyens de transport: De la marche à l’avion [online] Available at : http://www.economiematin.fr/news-consommation-transports-industrie-services-energie [Accessed the 4 January]