MIAMI – UK’s Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Minister, Nadhim Zahawi is determined. The goal: net-zero emissions for long- and short-haul air transport by 2050.

The project is big and hard to reach. But the strategy to achieve carbon-free flights must form a key part of plans to rebuild the aviation industry, according to Westminster.

This net-zero emissions target is one of the many challenges the UK civil aviation will have post-COVID-19.

Regional Aircraft CS2
Regional CS2 Aircraft

A Feasible Green Project

Giles Wilkes, a senior research fellow with the Institute of Government, sees the difficulty in accomplishing the green goal.

In his view, It might prove complicated to introduce a workable mix of incentives and disincentives to drive progress in making aviation greener. However, he pointed to the fact that if this ambition seems hard to reach, the same happened before.

One example is wind energy growth, which has surpassed expectations, giving evidence that such type of progress is possible.

Hydrogen Propelled Aircraft HES

Reality: An Obstacle for A Greener Aviation

Greener aviation is a really good and fancy project. Yet, the responsibility of this paradigm change cannot lie solely on the civil aeronautical world.

As a result, the UK government has decided to set a task force formed by important aeronautical experts. It also includes aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.

Tom Williams, Former Airbus chief operating officer, proposed to the governments the introduction of financial incentives for airlines. He compares them to the ones already applied to car owners. His idea: replace old, inefficient aircraft with new equipment.

Furthermore, he said that aerospace companies wanting to introduce new technology will have to engage urgently with Boeing and Airbus with workable proposals needed by around 2027 or 2028, “or you won’t be on the next-generation aircraft due in 2035.”

Pipistrel Electric Propeller Aircraft
Pipistrel Electric Propelled Aircraft

Hydrogen-Powered Solutions

A solution to replace the piston-engine aircraft not bound by Newton’s second law is out there. However, the turbine engine has still a lot of work to undergo.

In the end, it all boils down to finding a viable solution to lead a sustainable and greener conversion towards renewable energies.

So far, such a solution might come from hydrogen propulsion systems, which will most likely emerge as the dominant platform for decarbonization in the near future.

For now, we will see what UK’s green task force accomplishes to kickstart te green revolution in aviation.