First Emission Standards for Aviation Sector

by Judy Li

An interesting article by Jad Mouawad and Coral Davenport in the New York Times discusses the first binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the aviation sector. After more than six years of negotiations among the global aviation industry, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations’ aviation agency, announced the new rules on February 8. Continue reading

Can Aviation Help the Environment?

by Tyler Hoyle

LeapTech, is NASA’s latest project geared towards testing a different approach to powering flight. It has the potential to pave the way for low-carbon aviation. Rather than using a fossil fuel burning engine, LeapTech is a truck-plane hybrid, with 18 electric motors along its leading edge, each containing a small propeller. The small propellers are used to test the distributed propulsion in order to analyze if it has the potential to lead to the creation of energy efficient aircraft designs that would ultimately produce less pollution. Continue reading

New Aircraft Emissions Standards Decided at 10th ICAO Meeting

by Deedee Chao

The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) wrapped up its landmark 10th meeting on February 12th, 2016, and reported progress in different environmental and sustainable areas for aviation, including commitment towards sustainable alternative fuels and the creation of an international aviation market-based measure for emissions. Most notably, the CAEP/10 created a new ICAO aircraft CO2 emissions standard, the first of its kind for any aviation sector. Continue reading

Oslo Airport Achieves a Key First with Biofuel Delivery

by Max Breitbarth

Major developments in biofuel development and utilization are occurring in Norway. Samantha Cartaino’s January 25th article in AIN Magazine reports that the Oslo airport, partnering with SkyNRG, AirBP, and Avinor, has begun to deliver jet biofuel to airline operators at their airport. Following the COP21 agreement in Paris, this marks an important move by fuel providers in Europe to commit to renewable forms of energy and make a fuel-intensive industry less damaging for the environment. As someone who studied in Strasbourg this past fall and encountered many skeptics that organizations and governments would voluntarily act to reduce their environmental impact, I am encouraged by this action just a month after the agreement signed by countries around the world. Continue reading

Analyzing Bird Use of Photovoltaic Installations at US Airports

by Jincy Varughese

Recently, multiple airports in the US have installed photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems in large areas of undeveloped grasslands commonly found on their grounds. The potential environmental and economic benefits have been well documented but to date there has been no research on the effect such systems will have on birds. DeVault and a team of researchers from the US Department of Agriculture and Mississippi State University begin filling this knowledge gap by comparing bird use of PV arrays to that of nearby airport grasslands. Continue reading

The Potential of Carbon Offsetting Programs and Travelers Willingness to Support Them

by Margaret Loncki

Tourism-related air travel has consistently been one of the fastest growing carbon releasing industries. Although, the industry has faced serious pressure to reduce their carbon output, it has struggled to find an efficient way to accomplish this. Choi and Ritchie (2014) aim to discover how much consumers are willing to pay to offset the CO2 emissions released by their travel. Many airlines have carbon offsetting programs that allow passengers to pay a fee to help fund carbon reducing research and development programs as well as the production and support for new and existing clean energy programs and renewable energy sources. Although most travelers understand the implications of the carbon released by their flights, only a fraction of passengers have supported the carbon offsetting programs offered by airlines. Continue reading