Technological, economic and environmental prospects of all-electric aircraft

Schafer, AW, Barrett, SRH, Doyme, K, Dray, LM, Gnadt, AR, Self, R, O'Sullivan, A, Synodinos, AP and Torija Martinez, AJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5915-3736 2018, 'Technological, economic and environmental prospects of all-electric aircraft' , Nature Energy, 4 , pp. 160-166.

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Abstract

Ever since the Wright brothers’ first powered flight in 1903, commercial aircraft have relied on liquid hydrocarbon fuels. However, the need for greenhouse gas emission reductions along with recent progress in battery technology for automobiles has generated strong interest in electric propulsion in aviation. This Analysis provides a first-order assessment of the energy, economic and environmental implications of all-electric aircraft. We show that batteries with significantly higher specific energy and lower cost, coupled with further reductions of costs and CO2 intensity of electricity, are necessary for exploiting the full range of economic and environmental benefits provided by all-electric aircraft. A global fleet of all-electric aircraft serving all flights up to a distance of 400–600 nautical miles (741–1,111 km) would demand an equivalent of 0.6–1.7% of worldwide electricity consumption in 2015. Although lifecycle CO2 emissions of all-electric aircraft depend on the power generation mix, all direct combustion emissions and thus direct air pollutants and direct non-CO2 warming impacts would be eliminated.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First assessment of the energy, economic and environmental implications of all-electric aircraft, which discusses highly relevant aspects for decarbonisation of transport. High impact journal. Disseminated in Press Media (e.g. https://www.vox.com/2019/3/1/18241489/electric-batteries-aircraft-climate-change, https://singularityhub.com/2018/12/16/will-electric-planes-ever-happen-heres-an-update-on-their-status/)
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Energy
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 0028-0836
Related URLs:
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Depositing User: Dr Antonio J Torija Martinez
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2019 13:49
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2020 11:17
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/53195

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