Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are being seen as a beacon of hope within the realm of commercial aviation. Despite the optimistic vision of “slashing planet-warming pollution by 2050,” the journey to a sustainable future of aviation is proving to be a main topic of conversation within the industry.
Aerospace engineering professor, Gökçin Çınar, keeps her hopes high and emphasized the primary focus of SAF in a CNN article on sustainability and long-haul flights. “The technologies that we’re considering are mainly sustainable aviation fuels, which are being used today at a very minimal level, and two others that we could consider as being a bit more advanced: electrification and hydrogen,” said Çınar.
With the promise of hydrogen-powered aircrafts on the horizon with smaller aircrafts, larger and longer travel is still a hurdle that is trying to be unraveled. In order to achieve longer overseas travel, the redesigning for commercial aircrafts will need to be explored more thoroughly. “Hydrogen actually shines when you use it on bigger planes,” said Çınar. “It is very light in terms of mass, but it takes up a lot of space. That’s why we need to look at new aircraft designs that have enough space for it. This is truly a very exciting time, because new aircraft designs necessitating bigger volume for hydrogen could result in planes that don’t look like what we have today.”
The Michigan Initiative for Sustainable Aviation (MISA) within the Michigan Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Michigan has set its sights on working towards practical solutions to these problems. With professor Çınar continuing to be a main contributor, the group is focused on conducting cutting-edge research on new technologies to reduce emissions associated with air travel while collaborating with various universities and industry partners.
Read more about the work being done towards sustainable air travel in the new article from CNN here: https://www.cnn.com/travel/the-long-road-to-guilt-free-flying-climate/index.html
Michigan Aerospace Engineering