Decarbonizing the aviation industry is one of the great challenges of our age. Most modern aircraft are powered by kerosene, a jet-fuel which is a flammable hydrocarbon oil and produces carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides and soot. The emissions generated from this method of propulsion contribute a significant amount to the total global greenhouse gas production.
Current strategies being explored have some potential drawbacks for the aerospace sector. Battery technology does not currently have the power density required to give a standard narrowbody jet (such as the A320 or 737) sufficient range. Hydrogen would need to be used in its deeply cryogenic liquid state, requiring new infrastructures and major changes to aircraft configurations. Synthetic fuels and biofuels require novel processes or arable land for production and leave the issue of soot emissions unsolved. With some governments beginning to tie Covid-19 recovery funding to net-zero targets being met, it is clear that further solutions are needed.