Comparison of conventional and electric passenger aircraft for short-haul flights : a life cycle sustainability assessment
Procedia CIRP 105: 464-469 (2022)
Contribution to Conference
Due to the increasing demand for flights, the aviation sector will become one of the main emitters of harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the long term. Especially short-haul flights are particularly critical because of the high kerosene consumption per passenger kilometer traveled. To counteract this development, the Flightpath 2050 strategy aims to reduce CO2emissions by 75% and NOxemissions by 90% until 2050. To achieve these ambitious reduction goals, radical technological transitions are required. A promising strategy for short-haul flights is the deployment of battery-electric powertrains, which replace conventional jet engines. In addition, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) can replace fossil kerosene as energy carriers without changing the powertrain configuration and offer further reduction potentials. However, both solutions can be associated with negative environmental and socio-economic impacts along the life cycle. Therefore, this article aims to analyze the potentials of powertrain transition and alternative energy carriers to make the air transport system more sustainable. A well-to-wake life cycle sustainability assessment is conducted to analyze the environmental and socio-economic impacts of an electric powertrain and SAFs compared to a conventional powertrain powered by fossil kerosene. The assessment results indicate that especially the electric powertrain offers huge reduction potentials. Besides, the results also show that SAFs can reduce the environmental impacts of conventional aircraft in the short term. Therefore, both solutions will be required to achieve the short- and long-term reduction goals of Flightpath 2050.
Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment
Sustainable aviation fuel