Electric Planes Could Lower Global Carbon Emissions By 5%
Global warming and climate change are a significant threat to the insurance industry. The burning of fossil fuels is one of the biggest causes of global warming. Air travel alone accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions, even though it’s not the most widely used mode of transportation. According to an analysis by Zimlon, carbon emissions due to Aviation could triple in the next three decades.
Airlines have committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards and to cutting aviation's net emissions by 50% by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. An individual taking one less long-distance flight can save 1.6 tCO2e per year. If electric planes are somehow able to replace conventional airplanes, then they could lower global carbon emissions by as much as 5%. Moreover, the British airliner, Easyjet, is planning on developing an electric plane that can seat up to 150 people.
One sector of Aviation, where electric planes can undoubtedly make an impact, is short distance travel under 1000 km. This could also mean that short distance air travel will become much cheaper as the cost of electricity would be less expensive than aviation fuel. More so, if the electricity is generated from renewable sources like solar power; hence making solar-powered planes a possibility.
From the above infographic, it is also observed that traveling in business class could double your carbon footprint as compared to traveling economy, since you would be using up space that could accommodate more than 2 other passengers.
Electric and solar planes have been in testing for a long time, although scientists are still not convinced about their practicality.
Jet fuel contains around 30 times more energy per kilogram than the most advanced lithium-ion battery currently available. The Airbus A380, which is the largest plane in the world, has the capacity to fly 600 passengers across 15,000 kilometers on a single flight. On the other hand, with batteries, the plane will only be able to fly a little over 1000 kilometers. Besides, batteries are currently 40 times heavier than jet fuel in terms of the energy they generate, which increases the weight of the plane. This makes it nearly impossible for current battery technologies to power an aircraft the size of an Airbus.
The only way electric planes will be feasible in the near future is if lighter batteries with higher energy output are produced.