Aviation Impact Accelerator
Plotting the route to Net Zero air travel
Air travel has been one of the most important drivers of globalisation and development, connecting different continents, countries, and cultures through trade and leisure travel. It’s also one of the most high-profile sources of greenhouse gases, and with demand forecast to double by 2040, an area we need to address soon if we are to make it to Net Zero.
Developing solutions to decarbonise the industry is an enormous challenge given the number of countries, airports, airlines, and manufacturers involved, and all the different factors that contribute to emissions and global heating. To provide clarity amid the complexity, the Whittle Laboratory at the University of Cambridge has launched the Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA), which is building an interactive, open-source simulator that maps pathways to climate-neutral aviation taking the whole system of air transport into account.
By crunching data from experts and companies, the tool finds the connections between different technologies, behaviours, business models, and policies, considering everything from the source of renewable electricity and raw materials to the production and transportation of fuel, and the introduction of new aircraft technologies and operations. The team has created models to test the potential of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), ammonia, and hydrogen, as well as batteries. Unconventional partnerships – such between food manufacturers and fuel producers – can be uncovered, providing new opportunities. Aerodynamic and engineering efficiencies are also important, as are changes to business models, with cross-industry collaboration and alignment between policymakers and industry players essential.
Ultimately, the hope is that AIA’s tool will speed up the deployment of new solutions and make air travel a more sustainable option for travellers.
For more information visit the Aviation Impact Accelerator website at https://aiazero.org