The Alp crash has definitely hit the aviation industry hard. Much has been said about aviation, but one thing remains unquestionable.
Random fact of the day being checked, the crash made us wonder something, how will we fly in the future? Taking 2050 as a benchmark, we’ve researched the field to board you on a journey to 2050’s aviation. Boarding complete, let’s commence.
How much of the worlds CO2 do you think comes from aviation? If you guess it correctly, you’ll have our respect because we didn’t even come close. Clue, there are 3 millions flights every year. 2%. Having said this, there is a lot that has and can be done to improve eco-efficiency in aviation.
What has been done? In the last 40 years aircraft fuel consumption has been reduced by 75%. Not bad. Now to the interesting question, what can be done to improve eco-efficiency?
There are various ways to improve eco-efficiency. You can play with aerodynamics, weight, and others to minimise consumption or you can just change the source of power. We like the latter option so below the 4 key energy sources that Boeing is considering as well as their perks and pitfalls.
First there is the option of Hydrogen powered planes. Whilst this source of energy is powerful enough to drive a plane, it has a high cost of creation. In simple words, hydrogen in its pure form is not abundant on earth, we would have to create it! This means huge amounts of energy would be required for the transformation process. Two alternatives that are viable but are not yet powerful enough are solar and fuel cells. Solar power would be desirable yet is currently unable to power a commercial plane. Solar impulse, the first experimental solar-powered aircraft is on its mission to circumvent the world only using solar energy. Whilst extremely exciting, Solar impulse weighs about 2000kg, can carry one person and travels at a speed of 70km/h. Hence not a strong alternative to commercial aviation. The last alternative on the list of aviation gurus is biofuels. Biofuels, to be more precise algae, can produce an oil similar to kerosine, this could power the planes of the future and reduce the environment footprint. Most likely the planes of 2050 will be powered by biofuels and kerosine.
Seems taken out of a science fiction movie but watch this video by airbus on their concept plane cabin. Under a slogan “comfort is tailor made”, Airbus promises that we are not that far from a cabin that is of course made of 100% recyclable plant fibres, materials that are self-cleaning, can repair themselves and change state ( from opaque to transparent ). Virtual reality is also part of the future of aviation. Want to know how? Watch the video.
On the other side, Boeing, the other main commercial plane supplier promises a future that caters your needs. After doing in depth customer research on what are people’s psychological needs in a plane, they’ve concluded that… what do you want when you are in a plane? Space! Boeing thus promises a future where your physical space will not be increased, but you’ll feel it has increased. Want to know how you can augment perceptual space without changing the physical space? Click on Boeing’s video.
Design of the Cabin
Ready to enjoy playing golf in a plane? Visit the bar or check on a virtual 3d map updated feed of the flight? If you’ve ever wanted to do this there is space for you in Airbus vision. They visualise a plane that is subdivided into zones. Check the video by airbus to get a gist of what their engineering experts have in mind for aviation.
You’ve arrived to your destination, what would you like to to see in 2050’s aviation?