Future of Engineering

Monday, March 3, 2008

Online Guide to Airplane Pollution

The Ultimate Web Guide to Green Airplanes and Aircraft Pollution

While pollution from aircraft is currently less than 3% of the total environmental pollution, increased air travel is likely to increase this share significantly in future. As a result, now is as good a time as any to explore the domain of aircraft / airplane pollution and see what the airline industry, aircraft companies and the relevant authorities are doing about this. This online guide is a comprehensive compilation of resources pertaining to airline pollution and the efforts by airlines and aircraft companies to make the industry more green.

Airplane Pollution

Aircraft Pollution Destroying Our Skies - According to the Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting, CO2 constitutes roughly 70% of aircraft engine emissions, amongst other harmful emissions and particulates. It goes on to list the initiatives being undertaken to reduce emissions in the future, although it appears to me it will be some time before something somewhat definitive and effective is implemented as an industry standard, for more “bio-friendly” skies.

Targets to cut aviation pollution - Aircraft manufacturers, airports and airlines aim to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by new aircraft over the next 15 years by half

Are aviation pollution claims a flight of fancy? - A new report by the European Low Fares Airline Association concludes that aviation is being unfairly blamed for CO2 emissions. Airline bosses have been quick to respond with some strong words of their own

Asia Pacific Region Officials Agree to Curb Aviation Pollution - Governments in the Asia-Pacific region have now agreed to curb airline pollution through a range of measures such as reducing the number of planes circling airports as they wait to land. Australia had announced that it was introducing traffic control changes at its airports to enhance aviation fuel efficiency.

Elements of aircraft pollution - This book is an attempt to place the subject aircraft pollution in the context of aerospace engineering by bringing together the most relevant sciences and technologies, which cover the problem

Pollution reducing aircraft propulsion - Aircraft engine exhaust is mixed with air and fuel and recombusted. Air is drawn into the secondary combustion chamber from suction surfaces on wings. Exhaust of the secondary combustion chamber is blown over wing and fuselage surfaces

Growing world aircraft fleet and increasing pollution - As competition among airlines around the world intensifies, more and more people find it convenient to travel by air for business and leisure. But the rapid growth of commercial aviation is having a significant impact on global warming and the Asia-Pacific region, the world's fastest expanding market for air travel, is starting to feel the heat. In its latest forecast of aviation growth, European aircraft maker Airbus said this month that the world's fleet of large passenger jets (more than 100 seats) would double in the next 20 years to nearly 33,000 aircraft

Airline Pollution: The Sky Has Its Limits - There are less degenerate ways to solve the problem of airplane noise, an annoyance rapidly evolving into a menace. But do not look to the FAA or the aviation industry to help. The expansionist logic of airlines and airports assumes that the air around and above us has an infinitely absorptive capacity and can tolerate any pollution. We used to think that about rivers. It isn't true, in either case. Industries that pollute rivers have been forced to change, to clean up. The people who worry about pollution from planes are no longer Luddite crackpots

Worried about airline pollution? - Aircraft account for about 5% of carbon dioxide emissions and air travel is forecast to double within 25 years. There are fears that cheap flights could hamper efforts to fulfil Britain's commitments agreed at the Kyoto summit in tackling climate change. The aviation industry favours an emissions trading scheme, allowing airlines to buy and sell carbon dioxide allocations

Plane Pollution - In regulating aircraft and airports, several compelling interests compete: safety, international commerce, and environmental quality. Of these, safety issues receive perhaps most of the attention, garnering large headlines in the wake of airplane accidents. But the issue of the effect of airports on the environment and human health has heated up in recent years as public interest and citizen groups contest airport expansion on environmental and health grounds, and the airline and airport industries attempt to meet increasingly stringent regulations in these areas

Airlines are defending their record over pollution - Manufacturers are using lighter materials to build airliners and powering them with more fuel-efficient jet engines. Airlines are pressing air controllers and airports to shorten and simplify routes and landing approaches. The aim is not just to save the planet. It is also to save jet fuel, a major operating cost

Charge airlines for pollution - Airports operator BAA will urge the UK Government to introduce a radical new system of charging airlines for their contribution to global warming. The proposal will be contained in a report to be sent to the Treasury which will say that aviation "should meet the external costs of its activities

Pollution from jets - Besides carbon dioxide, jet engines emit many pollutants into the atmosphere, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, soot and even water vapor. Carbon dioxide and water vapor are called greenhouse gases, because they trap heat and contribute to global warming. Some pollutants emitted from engines during flight warm the Earth by adding to the heat-trapping gases, both natural and man-made, already in the atmosphere. Also, jet contrails — the vapor trails they leave in the sky — add to cloud cover and may contribute to the warming of the planet

Airlines face pollution limits - A landmark accord brings aviation into the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, making air travel subject to restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions in recognition of the sector's impact on the environment. The "polluter pays" system provides flexibility within an unbreakable maximum national CO2 allocation

EU airline pollution permits too high - The European Union is aiming too high with plans to make all airlines flying into and out of the bloc buy pollution permits and it risks a backlash from other regions

Growing world aircraft fleet and increasing pollution - According to Airbus, the air transport industry contributes just 2 per cent of global man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, but it acknowledged that a big rise in the number of planes would mean more greenhouse gas emissions and therefore increased pressure on manufacturers to cut pollution

Aircraft pollution – a futuristic view - Impacts of NOx, H2O and aerosol emissions from a projected 2050 aircraft fleet are investigated using the Oslo CTM2, with emissions provided through the EU project SCENIC. The aircraft emission scenarios consist of emissions from subsonic and supersonic aircraft. In particular it is shown that aerosol emissions from such an aircraft fleet can have a relatively large impact on ozone, and possibly reduce the total atmospheric NOx by more than what is emitted by aircraft

Aviation unit maintenance pollution prevention guide - The purpose of this pollution prevention (P2) guide is to identify opportunities to reduce pollution generated by unit-level aviation maintenance operations (AVUM). This guide also provides template calculations showing waste reduction estimates and economic analyses for each P2 opportunity. These calculations are based on material usages, waste generations, and disposal fees of an average light infantry aviation unit maintenance facility

Aircraft pollution - Emissions from aircraft are difficult to quantify once they are airborne; once they exceed 1000 metres from the ground the effects of high altitude winds disperse the emissions. Below 1000 metres, the exhaust gases are principally oxides of nitrogen, nonmethane volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. The level of emissions depends on the type of aircraft

Aviation pollution set to go sky-high - Aviation will account for 5% of world’s common emissions by 2050, according to climate change study by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University(MMU

Advisory group for aeronautical research and development - As part of the growing concern in many developed countries with questions of ecology and environment, aircraft are being heavily criticized as contributing a significant share of pollution. Although the major objection is to noise, objections are also raised concerning smoke, fumes, and smells ascribed to aircraft.

Aircraft Pollution - Pollutants from more than five million civil and nearly 2,800 military flights each year are destroying Earth’s protective ozone layer and stealing blue skies, while accounting for more than 10% of global greenhouse warming.

Aircraft Emissions

Atmospheric effects of aircraft emissions - Present commercial aircraft fly at altitudes of 8-13 km. The emissions from such air traffic can change the atmospheric composition: Directly: by emitting carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2), water vapour, unburnt hydrocarbons, soot, and sulfate particles. Indirectly: by a chemical reaction chain similar to smog-formation the greenhouse gas ozone (O3) can be formed. In this reaction chain nitrogen oxides act as a catalyst under the influence of sunlight. As a result of these chemical reations also the concentration of methane (CH4), another greenhouse gas, decreases

Emission Standards and Test Procedures - In this action, EPA is proposing to amend the existing United States regulations governing the exhaust emissions from new commercial aircraft gas turbine engines. It is proposing new emission standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOX) for newly certified commercial aircraft gas turbine engines. This action proposes to adopt standards equivalent to the latest (effective in 2004) NOX standards of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and thereby bring the United States emission standards into alignment with the internationally adopted standards

PC Emissions Close To Matching Airline Pollution - Carbon emissions from computing are now approaching those of aviation, according to new research. IT now accounts for 10% of the UK's annual energy consumption. That is the equivalent of four nuclear power station's worth of electricity and 1 billion tonnes of CO2 worldwide

Marine Smoke Pollution Law - The IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee has an on-going agenda in amending MARPOL Annex VI to further tighten-up the emission from ships. The focus being on further reducing SOx level, either by imposing strict limit in the sulfur content of fuel or by new technology in engine exhaust treatment. The issue has caused heated debate between the shipping and the petroleum industries, and further research is needed before a more effective approach can be agreed. Once adopted, the new MARPOL Annex VI amendments will affect HK ships trading worldwide and other ships within HK waters.

Share of aviation CO2 in total CO2 Pollution - The environmental effects caused by aviation are emissions such as CO2, VOC, NOx contrail and water vapour. Although the contribution is lower than other industries, the current main environmental issue from air transport is the contribution to global warming. In order to be aligned with Kyoto Protocol Targets, the air transport industry should reduce its CO2 contribution

Climate Pollution From Aviation Increasing - Scientists estimate that the effect of aviation emissions on the climate is up to five times the impact of emissions occurring on the ground. But again, the Council failed to address this problem, in direct contrast to the European Parliament who agreed to apply a ‘multiplier’ of 2 on allowances bought by airlines from other sectors. The multiplier of 2 means that for every tonne of CO2 emitted above the cap, airlines would have to buy 2 allowances from other land based sectors within the wider Emissions Trading Scheme

Noise Pollution

Military Aircraft Noise Pollution - newer models of commercial aircraft are more quiet, newer models of military aircraft are often MUCH noisier. The folks who are most unfairly and adversely affected by this are those people who purchased homes outside of the published noise zones and now find themselves effectively within the noise zones because the newest airplanes are much louder than their

Norms proposed to monitor aircraft noise pollution - the Indian civil aviation ministry, directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other concerned agencies would have to strictly follow the proper, uniform procedure for monitoring ambient noise level caused by aircraft. This has been necessitated following rapidly increasing air traffic from 126 airports and further addition due to upcoming new airports and the modernisation/upgradation of existing ones

Aircraft Noise Pollution - Air pollution from commercial aircraft exhaust has long been recognized as an environmental problem, but what about noise pollution? Noise from planes flying over residential areas impairs people's ability to work, learn in school and sleep, and consequently also results in lowered property values in affected areas. As passenger volume increases and new and larger airports are built, noise is becoming even more of a concern

Smooth aircraft approach cuts noise pollution - Noise nuisance from aircraft can be reduced significantly by changing the way the planes come in to land. Lining up with the runway as far as 70 kilometres away and making a steady descent can more than halve the acoustic energy that reaches the ground, an international research consortium has found

Aviation creates massive noise pollution - The World Health Organisation has expressed concern about the impact of aviation on human health. Long term (5-30 years) exposure to air traffic noise levels averaging 65 to 75 decibels increases blood pressure and the risk of hypertension. Sleep disturbance leads to fatigue, hypertension, greater risk of heart and respiratory problems, poor concentration in work and school, increased risk of accidents, depression, anxiety and higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse. (Greenskies Alliance

Alternative Energy in Airlines and Aircraft

Biofuel likely as Kiwis go green - AIR New Zealand is reducing carbon emissions with a series of innovative programs like use of biofuels. The airline is working with aircraft and engine manufacturers to explore new technologies and alternative fuels. Airways New Zealand is also looking at turning off auxiliary power units when the planes are on the ground and moving to ground power as quickly as possible. The airline is also looking at an engine wash program to clean blades, which can improve fuel efficiency. Modifications to aircraft aerodynamics are expected to improve fuel efficiency on some types. Minimising weight on board encompassing everything from magazines to carpets is another step.

Hydrogen-burning Hypersonic Airliner - This hydrogen-burning hypersonic airliner could fly more than twice as fast as the 1,350mph Concorde—and its passengers would travel absolutely guilt-free. European Union's Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies project (Lapcat) wants an airliner that can fly from Brussels to Sydney in less than four hours. If built, the A2 will do just that—without producing a trace of carbon emissions. Engineers created the A2 with the failures of its doomed supersonic predecessor, the Concorde, very much in mind. The A2 engine has two modes. Those two modes—a combination of turbojet and ramjet propulsion systems—would both make the A2 efficient at slower speeds and give it incredible speed capabilities.

Air travel switches to electricity - The dream of inexpensive, ecofriendly aviation has come closer to reality after a French test pilot achieved the first flight in a conventional light aircraft powered by an electric motor. The Electra, is a wood-and-fabric single-seater. The APAME group, founded to develop green aviation, said that the flight showed that nonpolluting, quiet light aviation was within reach.

Solar technology could reduce aircraft noise pollution - BP Solar has installed panels on the roof of a church hall under a Heathrow flight path. These panels not only generate 23000 kWh of electricity per annum, but also insulate against aircraft noise. The south-facing roof, which is designed to prevent the passage of resonant sound, is covered by 174 solar panels.

Eco-friendly Airlines

Fly an Eco-Friendly Airline - Environmentally friendly airline uses the electric tugs to transport planes to the runway, instead of using the plane's own power. Most efficient aircraft, like the Bombardier C Series use such environmentally friendly actions not only during flight, but also ground practices

Airlines Jet into the Eco-Friendly Age - On the commercial flying front, Virgin Atlantic is leading the charge to a more eco-friendly airline industry. Customers can purchase carbon offsets through the Virgin website to help alleviate their impact on the environment. A trial of bio-jet fuel just happened. Continental Airlines offers a carbon offset program as well, and has reduced approximately 75 percent of its nitrogen oxide emissions from ground equipment at their largest hub in Houston, by making the switch to electric for ground service equipment and embracing other new technologies.

Selecting Your Airline - All airlines are not the same and in certain aspects some are more eco-friendly than others. Sometimes the opportunity will arise for the eco-friendly traveller to make choice – but how do you go about making that decision? This resource explains

US Travellers 'prefer Eco-friendly Providers' - More than half of US holidaymakers are more likely to select an airline, rental car or hotel that is environmentally friendly, according to a survey by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership

Silent, Eco-friendly Plane - Public concern about noise is a major constraint on expansion of aircraft operations. Plans are on to develop a conceptual design for an aircraft whose noise was almost imperceptible outside the perimeter of an airfield in an urban environment. The conceptual design addresses both the engines and the structure, or airframe, of a plane. Half of the noise from a landing plane comes from the airframe. Other key features of the design include an overall shape that integrates body and wings, elimination of the flaps, or hinged rear sections on each wing, and engines embedded in the aircraft with air intakes on top of the plane rather than underneath each

Japanese firms develop eco-friendly airplane seat - All Nippon Airways Co and Osaka Gas Chemical Co have jointly developed a safer and more environment-friendly seat cushion for airplanes. Instead of urethane, the new seat cushion is made from a mat of processed carbon fibers. Carbon fibers feature superior heat resistance, and even if they were to catch fire, they would not release toxic fumes like urethane.

Flybe to switch to eco-friendly aircraft - Low-cost airline Flybe has made a £500 million investment in environmentally friendly Embraer 195 aircraft. The new planes will deliver what Flybe calls a "five-star" standard of environmental performance and will offer "unparalleled passenger comfort". The Embraer 195s use more than 20 per cent less fuel than the BAe 146 aircraft that they are replacing in the Flybe fleet. This will lead to significantly fewer emissions of greenhouse gases

Green Air Travel - This page provides a summary of all work which has been performed to date on the prospect of a global sale of green air travel supported using biodiesel

UK's green strategy - Greenhouse gas emissions from UK air travel has doubled in 13 years, damaging the UK government's claims to be a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions

Green drive forum to save ozone layer - After bagging the Montreal Protocol Public Awareness Award, instituted by the United Nations, for its efforts in protecting the ozone layer, state-owned carrier Air India, is now planning to rope in other airlines into its environment-friendly drive

Green Air Travel - The overwhelming evidence shows us that consumers are not ready to cut air travel out of their lives altogether (yet!), so here is some practical advice to help reduce the damage resulting from our love affair with jet setting.

Green Air - Green Air Online, launched in November 2007, is dedicated to publishing independent and informative news, features and statistics on the impact of air travel on global warming and the environment in general. Green Air focuses on what can be done to minimize the effects. Green Air takes no particular side but promotes a dialogue where fact can be separated from fiction.

The dream of cheap and eco-friendly aviation - French test pilot flew Electra, a single seater aircraft that runs on an electric motor. Electra is a conventional light weight aircraft made of wood and fabric. The French test pilot flew this eco-friendly plane for 48 minutes for a distance of 50km in the Southern Alps. Electra uses battery power in a standard aircraft with fixed wings. The Electra uses light weight batteries of the lithium-polymer type.

Flying Saucer - ideal Eco-Friendly Aircraft - aviation engineers are designing a more environmentally sustainable airplane that may overturn long-held notions of flight engineering.

Fly the Eco-friendly Skies - Environmentalists and everyday air travelers alike are growing increasingly aware of the airline industry's greenhouse-gas problem. As demands for greener air travel grow, will technology come to the rescue of the jumbo jet

The 'silent aircraft' - MIT and Cambridge University researchers will unveil the conceptual design for a silent, environmentally friendly passenger plane. The 'silent aircraft' can help address this concern and thus aid in meeting the increasing passenger demand for air

Green wing: eco friendly flying? - Next time you board a plane and jet off on holiday to somewhere hot, spare a thought for the fact that by flying there you are probably helping to make that somewhere even hotter. The aviation industry has become a notable contributor to atmospheric carbon pollution -- pollution that is in turn helping to accelerate global warming and climate change. To give a specific example, a single trans-Atlantic flight will consume a whopping 60,000 liters of fuel -- more than the average motorist uses in 50 years -- and add approximately 140 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

Is it possible to make a eco-friendly jet engine? - After the Hindenburg accident, hydrogen and aviation don't seem to mix well. Also, hydrogen is only as clean as the method used to separate it from water, which requires electricity. And then, you would have to find some system of storing the hydrogen on the plane.

Green Aircraft - The major aircraft companies have realised that alternative fuel powered aeroplanes need to be developed now even though we may only need to start using them in 20-30 years time. One possible alternative fuel is hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel can be prepared by electrolysis of water (i.e. passing an electric current through it) to dissociate it into its component parts of hydrogen and oxygen. There are a number of modifications required to current aircraft engines and aircraft structures before hydrogen fuel can be used. Hydrogen contains 3 times as much energy per Kg as kerosene which means that only a third as much fuel by weight needs to be carried to cover a certain range

Green aircraft research - Plans for a new generation of green aircraft took a step closer to becoming reality today with the launch of a €1.6bn (£1.19bn) Europe-wide research programme. The Clean Sky project, a joint technology initiative (JTI), is a public-private partnership involving universities and research centres, and small and large industry. The aim of the programme is to make air travel more environmentally sustainable by developing greener technologies. The programme, which will run for six years, will carry out research in six key areas including wing technologies, low weight aircraft, rotor blades and engine installation for noise reduction and energy efficient engines

Passenger jets get a radical green makeover - If passenger jets were a different shape, they would produce far less CO2. Danny Bradbury meets the high-fliers who are leading a green revolution at 35,000ft.Boeing is experimenting with test flights with a scaled-down X-48B, an aircraft that almost does away with the fuselage altogether and makes it part of the wing. The aim is to slash fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The problem with flying-wing designs is that traditionally they have been difficult to keep in the air

Eco Friendly Air Travel of the Future - The next time you plan a vacation that involves boarding a plane, consider what you can do to minimize the impact of your travel on the planet. Implementing even small changes will, in turn, also minimize your impact on economies and societies around the world.

Other Resources

Carbon Neutral Air Travel - The Green My Flight program is a unique service that allows travelers, corporations and responsible travel service providers to work together to address climate change by offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from air travel activities.
Operationally, the Green My Flight program consists of three components
(1) Emissions of greenhouse gases from an air travel itinerary are calculated using a methodology from the Canadian Standards Association and Environment Canada’s Environmental Choice Program
(2) Travelers are provided with the opportunity to purchase an equivalent quantity of emission reduction offset credits.
(3) Emission reduction offset credits are sourced from projects that meet the internationally-recognized Gold Standard certification. These offset credits are then retired on behalf of the traveler.

Air Travel and Climate Change - Air transport is currently contributing around 3.5% to total human caused global warming but is forecast by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to rise to as much as 15% by 2050. So far aviation has been counted out of calculations on climate, but perhaps it is time that this changed.

Environmentally-friendly solutions - It is comforting to know that while it seems all corporations and governments are under pressure from their customers and constituents to be green, the airplane market is absolutely no exception.

Flying less - What's wrong with air travel - The Government is planning a massive growth in air travel - increasing problems like: Noise for people living nearby, More road congestion near airports, and Damage to the countryside as airports expand

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