It’s no secret that the airline industry is horrible for the environment. That being said, it is also an essential part of our interconnected world. Rather than getting rid of air travel, researchers believe that using clean fuels could help solve the problem.
Now, Boeing has made a commitment to that pursuit. The company will ensure that its planes fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels by 2030, Engadget reports. That’s certainly an ambitious goal considering the current state of the aviation industry.
Nonetheless, a company with the size and financial backing of Boeing can accomplish practically anything it wants to. Perhaps the move will even set an example for the rest of the industry to follow.
Going Green in the Air
On land, electric cars are already making transportation cleaner. The alternative-powered vehicles industry is on the brink of a massive boom thanks to companies like Tesla as well as mainstream automakers.
Unfortunately, converting a massive jet to clean power isn’t as easy as rolling out an electric sedan. Planes require an immense amount of power to stay in the sky, which essentially puts battery-powered flight out of the realm of possibility.
Clean fuels, however, can provide the necessary power without creating harmful emissions. Boeing notes that they are the “safest and most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades.”
Clean airplane fuel typically comes from things like vegetable oil, animal fats, byproducts of forestry and agriculture, and even household waste. Although this sounds futuristic, Boeing claims that it has already completed multiple test flights with clean fuels. Engadget notes that a FedEx 777 Freighter used it all the way back in 2018 as part of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program.
As such, the company’s goal of transitioning to 100 percent sustainable fuel by 2030 feels a lot more attainable. It already has a solid foundation to build on and the technology will improve as time passes.
The scientific development of clean fuels might be the easy part. Currently, regulations mandate that planes can only use 50/50 blends of clean and conventional fuel.
Despite their promise, clean fuels still haven’t been tested in large trials to determine their safety. Convincing regulators that sustainable fuel is safe will be a key step in the process. As such, Boeing and other aviation giants will have a big part to play.
The company’s chief sustainability officer, Chris Raymond, said in a statement, “With a long history of innovation in sustainable aviation fuels, certifying our family of airplanes to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels significantly advances Boeing’s deep commitment to innovate and operate to make the world better.”
Given the size of the aircraft manufacturer, its stamp of approval could be enough to sway regulators. That being said, Boeing has recently faced a great deal of scrutiny over its 737 Max jet and several fatal crashes involving it.
Perhaps advocating for sustainable fuels will be Boeing’s way to shed that negative image and move forward into a more positive future. Either way, it’s clear that there is a need for clean transportation both on land and in the air. Boeing’s latest initiative will be an important part of the transition.