WTM Portfolio is leading the way in tackling the climate crisis by hosting a symposium of top scientists who are working on ways to decarbonise aviation.
Harold Goodwin, WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, worked with Professor Paul Peeters, professor of sustainable transport and tourism at Breda University in the Netherlands, and Chris Lyle, an international aviation policy consultant to organise the online event, which showcased the rapidly emerging alternatives to carbon-based fuel.
The symposium is the latest WTM climate change initiative and paves the way to more action at WTM London in November.
Goodwin and other responsible tourism experts will meet at WTM London (2-4 November 2020) to lobby governments and the travel and tourism industry about the urgent need to decarbonise the aviation sector.
The drive towards decarbonisation comes as the UK Government is developing a Jet Zero Council, which will help fight the problem of emissions.
The UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said this new body will be charged with making net zero emissions possible for flights in the future – within a generation.
“Our sector should expect more of the aviation industry and we need to press for change.
“The climate crisis gathers pace and there is no longer time for procrastination.
“There is an alternative. The tourism industry should demand that the aviation sector adopts and develops zero-carbon fuels before there is forced reduction in flying.
“Flying is not the problem, dirty fuel is. The aviation sector endangers our industry if it fails to change.”
He said the global pandemic has revealed the vital importance of travel and tourism around the world, especially for destinations in developing nations which rely heavily on the sector.
However, he added: “We cannot self-isolate from global warming and its consequences.
“Carbon offsetting is highly problematic and aviation needs to reduce its emissions not stabilise them.
“The good news is that there is an alternative. By 2050 all aviation fuel could be replaced with non-carbon fuels – hydrogen and ammonia. It would be prudent to adapt quickly.”
They brought together leading scientists who are working on decarbonising aviation to showcase the rapidly emerging alternatives.
Professor Peeters opened the symposium, describing the scale of the problem and the urgency of addressing it.
Dr Harry Lehman of the German Environment Agency explained that the challenge was to find a way of decarbonising fuel without needing to dramatically change the existing aviation infrastructure through synthetic fuels.
Dr Carola Kantz of the VDMA working group, described how these new synthetic fuels can be used in conventional jets.
Dr Marc Stettler of Imperial College shared his research on the non-CO2 pollution caused by burning carbon fuels.
Joris Melkert of TU Delft discussed electric aircraft and concluded with an analysis of the range of ways in which aviation impacts can be reduced.
Daniel Juschus, also from TU Delft, shared a conceptual design for a fuel cell for 19-150 seat aircraft.
Pericles Pilidis, from Cranfield, described how hydrogen can fuel larger aircraft.
Gustavo Alonso of the Universidad Polltecnica de Madrid detailed the research agenda for CleanSky3 and Gerard Rijk of Profundo considered the investors’ focus.
Finally, Job Rosenhart of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Netherlands, discussed the policy options for governments including mandated e-fuel shares.
“The technology is proven. It requires investment and government action to impose the ‘polluter pays’ discipline on the aviation industry.
“A duty, levy or tax, on aviation fuel could be used to fund the development of e-fuels. Too many government bailouts of aviation have not required decarbonisation.”
To watch the symposium click the link below:
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