The aviation industry, like all major industries, plays a role when it comes to contributing to greenhouse gases and pollution in the environment. Specific data for the United States is harder to come by, but the UK has been forthcoming with statistics about its own CO2 production from the aviation industry, as well as the global impact.
According to global data, the aviation industry is responsible for 1.5% to 2% of CO2 emissions. However, this is an average that also takes developing countries with no contribution (as they have no aviation industry) into consideration. It is estimated that the United Kingdom’s CO2 emissions resulting from the aviation industry are around 6.3%. Although, experts do believe that this is underestimated, and the aviation industry grows by as much as 5% each and every year. Additionally, it is believed that the global warming impact is even greater than the CO2 impact alone.
As society pushes for eco-friendly improvements in all facets of their lives, the aviation industry is under substantial pressure to improve its ecological footprint. In order to address these demands, many technological leaders in aviation engineering are returning to more historical prototypes for airplane engines. Propeller engines were featured in many of the first planes, but as they tend to be noisier, airlines began to move away from this technology. However, companies have started to recognize that propeller engines are more environmentally friendly, and are beginning to move back to that technology.
Rolls-Royce has released an open rotor design that it claims can reduce CO2 emissions by 10,000 tons per year for every aircraft. Airlines could also reduce their fuel bills by $3 million by adopting the use of these engines. Its propeller design is considered more energy efficient, as it is powered by two different sets of propellers that are at the back of the engine, which rotate in opposite directions.
As new airplane engine technology is being developed, Skygeek fiberscopes offer a necessary tool that can be used to test and inspect the functioning of the advancements. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have also released a new prototype that they claim will reduce fuel consumption by 40 percent. Their design is not just ecologically friendly due to the engine, but due to the overall aircraft shape itself. The design includes straighter, more slender wings, and engines are mounted at the rear of the fuselage.
Changes to make planes and jets more environmentally-friendly are still in the early stages, but the aviation industry increasingly offers transportation that causes less harm to the environment. As technological evolution continues, travellers may feel even more confident that their jet-setting does not make such a negative contribution to the environment.