Could aviation become carbon neutral in the future?

During the Farnborough International Airshow festivities held July 19-25 in Farnborough England, an amazing announcement and demonstration was unveiled.  The European consortium European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (or EADS) test flew a small four seat propeller aircraft powered by algae juice.   

As deadlines for the aviation industry to cut its carbon emissions approaches, large commercial aircraft manufacturers (such as Boeing and EADS subsidiary Airbus) are scrambling to discover and produce alternative fuel sources.  Algae biofuel, unlike other biofuels, has distinct advantages because it does not compete with other crops for agricultural land and can be easily grown in polluted waters.  Secondly, its production consumes large quantities of carbon dioxide.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, algae can be blended with traditional kerosene to create combustion and does not require any significant engine fuel system modifications when used as a fuel source.  

The largest obstacle to this effort, however, is a cost-effective way to produce algae.  The International Air Transportation Association (or IATA) predicts that by 2035, 50% to 70% of all jet fuels could be replaced by algae biofuels.  Compared with the current Jet-A1 fuels used on commercial aircraft today, the exhaust from algae fuels produces 8 times less hydrocarbons and other byproducts.  

Diamond DA42 Aircraft

Diamond DA42 Aircraft

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