The Ecojet Aircraft – the First Aircraft to Run on Renewable Energy

The Ecojet aircraft is the first aircraft to run on renewable energy.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Ecojet aircraft is the first aircraft to run on renewable energy. Image: Pixabay

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Ecojet aircraft – the first aircraft to run on renewable energy

Emissions from air travel are significant contributors to climate change. Airplanes emit carbon dioxide from burning fuel, affecting the concentration of other gases and pollutants in the atmosphere. Longer flights will have a higher impact on the concentration of pollutants. Aviation accounts for more than 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. This number may not seem very high, but as air travel continues to be more affordable and accessible to people worldwide, these numbers will continue to rise.  

Aircraft carriers are looking for ways to decarbonize airplanes. Airbus, for example, announced their plans to have the first zero-emission aircraft by 2035 using hydrogen fuel cells. Researchers from MIT are also working on building a lightweight, compact electric propulsion system that could be used for regional short-distance electric aircraft. Jet propulsion engines would be used to hybridize long-range international flights effectively.  

Another company that is making headlines with the first electric airline powered by renewable energy is Ecotricity. The company has over 27 years of experience developing green energy and was the first green energy company in the world. They have successfully built Britain’s first-megawatt windmill and the country’s first grid-scale solar park. Their electricity is 100% green, made from the sun and the wind.  

Now Britain’s green energy company has introduced the Ecojet aircraft. They are retrofitting their conventional planes with hydrogen-electric powertrains to create the Ecojet aircraft. Once converted, the Ecojet aircraft will be able to operate with the same power output as before but with a one hundred percent reduction in CO2 emissions. Because creating completely electric airplanes requires a lot of research and testing, the initial use of kerosene-based fuel was essential in order to launch quickly, secure planes and landing spots, and “keep up the momentum” of the project. But the plans are to make these aircraft run 100% on renewable energy.  

The company will save 90 000 tonnes of carbon per year by repurposing its old planes. The only byproduct of the planes will be water. The water will be captured and released into the lower atmosphere, avoiding the harmful effects of contrails. The flights will be offered across the UK starting in 2024, starting with the Edinburgh to Southampton route and will expand to mainland Europe. The aircrafts will be able to travel 300 miles. Long-haul flights are planned for the future.    

Another way Ecotricity is making its Ecojet aircraft more environmentally sustainable is by offering only plant-based meals to passengers. There will also be no single-use plastic onboard, and the staff will be required to wear environmentally friendly uniforms. Travelling on the Ecojet aircraft will cost the same as a conventional aircraft as the company wants to appeal to the mass market and not just sustainably conscious customers.

We’re seeing more airlines and aircraft companies working towards achieving sustainably and reducing emissions throughout the entire process. Many companies are following a four-pillar strategy of sustainability in aviation which includes:  

  1. Improved technology – this involves the advancement in technology in terms of engine design and the use of sustainable fuels.  
  1. Aircraft operations – improvements in the efficiency of the operation of aircraft.
  1. Infrastructure- this includes infrastructure in the air and on the ground. 
  1. A global market-based (or economic) measure includes a single, globally agreed economic mechanism that uses market structures to implement an overall emissions cap.  

The creation of the Ecojet aircraft is the first step to encouraging the widespread adoption of electric planes throughout the aviation industry. Repurposing old planes and developing ways to run its aircraft on renewable energy while making operations as green as possible is a good example of what can be done to bring sustainability to the aviation industry.  

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