2020 carbon neutral goal “achievable”

Commercial aircraft and engine manufacturers said the global airline industry can meet its goal of “carbon neutral” growth from 2020 if the right mix of technologies and investments are pursued by companies and governments.

Speaking at ATW’s 5th annual Eco-Aviation conference in Washington DC June 21, Boeing Commercial Airplanes director-environmental strategy Michael Hurd said the industry can achieve its stated goal of a 1.5% improvement in fuel efficiency/carbon dioxide emissions annually through 2020 and CO2-neutral growth beyond if enough progress is made in three areas: continued technology improvement, air traffic control modernization and the development of renewable fuels.

Bombardier Aerospace manager-corporate social responsibility Bruce Parry added, “It’s really about combining technologies together: better aerodynamics, better engines, better systems.” Rolls-Royce strategic marketing manager-future programs Paul Randall pointed out the engine manufacturer invests “over $3 million a day on research and development, the vast majority of which is focused on mitigating the environmental impact of our products … We can’t afford to stay still. There is a huge demand for new technology.”

He noted the global airline industry, from a technology perspective, has a “track record” of about 1% efficiency improvement annually.

He said airlines and OEMs need to work together “to make sure the levers we pull are complimentary” in terms of efficiency gains from new engines and aircraft.

Airbus technical marketing analyst Michaela Vanova said the European manufacturer is “investing more than $2 billion this year on research and development, over 90% of which is related to the environment.”
ATW, July 19, 2012