Zero carbon emissions for major airline -- Do you think this is achievable? If so, how?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by pburger, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)

    If the wright brothers were this PC instead of trying to actually do something, they would have spent their time lecturing people on the evils of flying.
     
  2. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    Still far enough out to make his fortune and bolt before any of this has to happen.
     
  3. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Pre-Flight

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    My guess is many on this thread are reading and responding on a gadget maybe 3x5 inches in size, using the internet and not even connected via a cable to anything. Thirty years ago that would have seemed absurd. We’ve passed many things envisioned in “futuristic” Star Trek.

    My bet is his timeline is conservative. The statement wasn’t made in the blind - it came after promising technologies have already emerged.

    BTW: I bet we’re not the only country working on this stuff. Should we lag others because some internet peeps think it won’t happen? Nah...

    “The eye cannot see what the mind cannot comprehend”.

    Exciting future, IMHO
     
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  4. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    There is a difference between innovation that provides something that people want and need, creating value in the process vs making a publicity goal that will add costs for no benefit to customers. How is this going to make my airline trip cheaper, faster, more comfortable, and/or more convenient?

    Stating that there is progress on some things doesn’t mean anything / everything is achievable. If it was - we’d have affordable flying cars by now. :)
     
  5. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Pre-Flight

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  6. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Yes. Big advances in electronics and communications technologies. Unfortunately, neither of those are much good at generating lift or propulsion.
     
  7. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Exacty. If he were sincere, he'd promise something in the shorter term that he'd actually have a risk of being held accountable for.
     
  8. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Would you seriously want to leave your fragile aircraft somewhere like a Walmart parking lot, or drive it on a crowded street in rush hour, when damage from a fender bender might cost you $20K if you know about it or your life if you don't? That was always the real problem with the idea of a flying car, not the technology.
     
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  9. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    United has heavily invested in alternative fuels, and has actively run biofuel blends in revenue service for some time now. My guess is he's referring to a move to 100% renewables that have no net carbon output.
     
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  10. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    You're misreading the graphic. It says level two charges use 240 volts, like a stovetop. That's accurate. But the current is not the same. 17kW isn't a stovetop. And everyone I know with a Tesla uses the superchargers whenever possible.
     
  11. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    When it comes to hooey like carbon credits and such it might be possible on paper. When it comes to the laws of physics in a practical sense it is completely impossible. It takes energy to move an airplane. The energy has to come from somewhere. Unless God himself provides a means of converting energy into motion with 100% efficiency, it won’t happen.
     
  12. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Sorry, but neither of those power sources will accomplish zero emissions either. If Electric, the energy was initially produced at a power plant where they produce emissions. If compressed air, it took energy to compress the air.

    This is like trying to produce the “Perpetual Motion Machine” like was such a popular myth in the fifties that uninformed people believed was possible.
     
  13. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Although a good point, more accurately you are betting against laws of physics.
     
  14. Tarheelpilot

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    Yeah I just checked my stove circuit and it’s on a 40amp breaker so the load is clearly less than 40 amps by a fair margin. The graphic indicates Tesla charging pulls up to an 80 amp peak load. So more like 3-4 stoves per lvl two charge for the period of time it’s at peak which I assume would not be for the entire charge. @David Megginson made a common error and stopped reading when he found the part pertinent to his expectations.
     
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  15. tspear

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    Most small electric at 30amp. Normal are 50amp, or oversized six burner double over like I considered was 120amp.
    So, if you look to purchase a level 2 charger the majority are 30 to 40amp. Very few from what I have seen go above that. The Tesla at 80amp is much more recent and is the red headed step child.

    Tim

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  16. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    Well, some of the electricity was produced at a power plant where they produced emissions. It depends on where you live. In Iowa, 34% of the electricity produced in the state was from wind; OK produced more electrical power from wind (32%) than coal, KS was 36% wind generation.
    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=39772
     
  17. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nice try, but no save. You can't get to the OP's claim of 140 kw/household by tweaking the level two charger, and my original comparison was an oven, not the stovetop in the graphic (ovens range from 30–60 amps).

    Note that I'm not even an EV advocate — I just get annoyed by misleading stuff like that. EVs aren't a panacaea. They have lots of serious issues. There's no need to invent extra, fake ones.
     
  18. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Do they have 140 kw superchargers at home in their garages? That's my point — you can't just take the number of households and multiply it by 140 kw to predict the load on the grid.

    I fill up my Mazda at the gas station whenever possible, but that doesn't mean that I have a gas pump and underground storage tank at home, much less that there's one at every house on my street. Some people do store their own gas (especially at farms or remote locations), but it's not the norm.
     
  19. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks. That makes more sense — I understand battery tech faces a hard chemical limit that means it would never be able to be improved to the point of powering an airliner from LGA to LAX (for example).

    But still, making a bold promise for 30 years in the future, when you won't be accountable for it, is insincere corporate greenwashing. I'd like to see him promise something concrete for, say, 2025, even if it's modest.
     
  20. Tarheelpilot

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    I’m not. Good luck. I don’t have any emotional investment in the issue at all. I would love to have a Tesla. They are fast as hell and fun to drive but I can’t afford one. Nothing environmentally friendly about them at all. At least not yet...
     
  21. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    The blend they have been using on all their LAX departing flights for the past several years apparently achieves a 60% lifecycle basis reduction as is.

    https://hub.united.com/united-biofuel-commitment-world-energy-2635867299.html
     
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  22. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    Why does it matter if it's in their garage or not?
     
  23. Tarheelpilot

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    The thing is I’m not saying the grid needs to be updated to support wide use of EV... my power company is so I’ll believe my power company before I believe SGOTI.
     
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  24. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Since most corporations outlive their corporate officers, isn't that tantamount to saying that corporations should never set long-term goals? It seems to me that whether it turns out to be greenwashing or not will depend on whether they are taking meaningful steps to work toward those long-term goals, and continuing to do so.
     
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  25. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    The problem with trusting the power company is they make more money and profit by justifying a large infrastructure upgrade.
    In the super majority of the country, if demand management is done then minimal infrastructure actually has to be upgraded.

    Tim

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  26. Tarheelpilot

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    To each their own.
     
  27. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bro do you even lift
    It's a little bit hard for me to comment on the math when, to me, the carbon footprint basis has roughly the same scientific merit as astrology.
     
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  28. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Corporations can set all the long-term green goals they want. But airline companies don't design airplanes; aircraft manufacturers do that, and they're the ones that have to find the magic needed to make an electric airliner. The airline CEO can make the promises but he isn't the one tasked with making them come true. That falls to rare, obscure, ingenious individuals with a lot of time and research money to spend.
     
  29. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    IMHO, it's a technological problem with a solution. How long it takes to happen is the bigger question.
     
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  30. tspear

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    The days of airframe manufacturers building stuff without the first couple launch customers is decades behind us for established companies. Every Boeing/Airbus plane since the mid 90s has had a launch customer under contract and working with the manufacturer to spec everything.

    In this case, when you read the United plan, they are talking bio-fuel. In this case Boring and Airbus have both already done the research and published the results.

    So at this point, it is more about money than anything else to make United go green.

    Tim

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  31. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You could be right, although I have heard of situations historically where the demands of airlines have influenced the design efforts of aircraft manufacturers.
     
  32. dtuuri

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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  33. X3 Skier

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    So burning bio fuels does not create carbon emissions? I’m shocked, truly shocked they have found a non carbon based bio fuel. Nobel prize category discovery.

    Cheers
     
  34. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    The carbon emissions are picked up by the source of the biofuel, in theory, so it is recycled. The total concentration in the atmosphere doesn't change from the use of these fuels.
     
  35. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Oh, for sure. But a CEO's wishful thinking can't influence aircraft design that much. There are some hard limits to all of this.
     
  36. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    United wrote the specs for Boeing 777. SWA did the same for the 737 800, 900 and Max.
    I think it was Quantas, and Air Emerates that wrote the specs for the A380....

    Since the mid 90s, launch customers for airlines for the large players effective write the specifications.

    Tim
     
  37. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    So by that logic, they have already achieved zero emissions since trees and plants absorb the carbon emissions of the current fuels and turn it into wood, leafs, tomatoes, etc.

    Apparently “reducing our carbon emissions 100% by 2050” was thus already achieved by the first internal combustion engine:D.

    Reminds me of a Finance Guy I knew back in the day. I asked him what is 2+2? He replied “What would you like it to be?” He was hired on the spot.

    Cheers
     
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  38. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    Also, current carbon-based fuels are renewable too, only at a very slow rate! :D
     
  39. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    No, if it worked that way, there wouldn't be in increase in carbon dioxide.
    This is why:
    Using biofuel from algae or certain plants is supposed to offset the CO2 generated by UAL. Or the CEO of UAL feels hydrogen fuel cells will power the planes. There's interesting work being done in these areas, but I don't see it leaving the lab for some time. Or that CEO has something else in mind.
     
  40. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    And there's really no such thing as an avalanche, because the frozen water is simply returning closer to the elevation it evaporated from earlier … unless you're buried by the avalanche, at which point logic games might not give you much comfort.

    When something collects slowly then gets released all at once, the suddenness can cause a lot of harm. In the case of an avalanche, it's moisture that evaporated over days and years all suddenly coming down in solid form over few seconds; in the case of climate change, it's carbon that was collectedin fossil fuels over hundreds of millions of years all suddenly being released back into the atmosphere over just a century or two.
     
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