With the feasibility of electric aircraft decades away, commercial airlines are rapidly exploring near-future measures to reduce the whopping 2.5% of global CO2 emissions they are responsible for.
A regularly scheduled United Airlines flight from Chicago to Los Angeles demonstrates just how much is already possible. Instead of regular jet fuel, which accounts for roughly 99% of a flight’s carbon footprint, this particular flight uses a biofuel blend capable of cutting fuel emissions by 18%.
In a more radical approach, Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM is funding the innovation of the Flying-V, a commercial V-shaped aircraft designed to incur 20% fuel reduction, compared to the equally capable Airbus A350. The Flying-V’s efficiency is attributed to the laws of physics; the entire body of the plane acts as a lifting surface, reducing size, weight, drag, and fuel consumption.