Tobacco, oil and sugar for greener airplane travel

2021-03-25 / < 1 min

SAF, or sustainable aviation fuel is procured not from fossil-based oil or gas, but by refining organic or waste substances which resolves in less harm to the planet. Sustainable fuel represents a significant opportunity for commercial aviation to reduce its carbon emissions so that flying remains a responsible choice.

So why aren’t we all flying on jets powered by this “magical fuel”? There are a few reasons right now, firstly, it’s expensive and it’s also in short supply – but maybe not for long.

A key element of developing these plant-based fuels, must have near-identical chemical compositions as petroleum-based fuels so that they can work in existing airplanes and fueling infrastructure. And it is still in stages of research, developing and commercializing sources of SAF. These include plants that grow in the desert, nicotine-free tobacco, agriculture waste and purpose-grown sugarcane are two other sources.

Perhaps one of the most compelling attractions of sustainable aviation fuel is the multiple ways of manufacturing it in different locales and climates, meaning it can be produced regionally, on demand, whenever needed, near airports.

The sustainable fuel is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by about 120 metric tons a month, roughly equivalent to removing around 130 cars. Currently, air travel is accounted for between 2-3% of the world’s carbon emissions, but it is also accountable for 4.5 billion passenger journeys, 64 million metric tons of cargo and one third of the world’s global trade. Aviation also underpins 65 million jobs.

For anyone flying while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum, the dream is to board a electric aircraft. These are certainly on their way. Short-range electric airplanes could enter service later this decade if battery power density is improved.

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Creative ways to recycle a plane, new life for old aircraft parts

2021-03-12 / 2 min

Where do all of those retired airplanes go? The numbers are huge: approximately 12,000 aircraft are set to be decommissioned by 2020. In addition, 2,000-3,000 planes are estimated to have been abandoned around the world (primarily in developing countries) according to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA).

While some parts — especially engine parts — practically sell themselves and find “new homes”, other airplane parts can get more innovative second lives… Upcycling, also known as “creative reuse,” is the process of transforming waste materials into new materials or products of better quality or for increased environmental value.

Some furniture designers are more than intrigued by the potential of decommissioned airplanes due to that aircraft parts were designed with gleaming surfaces and the ability to withstand extremes. 

California-based MotoArt that’s been designing beds, tables, chairs and sculptures constructed from deconstructed airplanes for more than a decade. For their designs they use twin-tails, wing ribs, fuselage doors, aileron, stratotanker from Boeing KC-135, well you get the picture.

Some designers reuse airline trolleys as multifunctional and decorative furniture, transforming in it into a filing cabinet or mini-bar, complete with shelves, glass front and LED lighting. German company Skypak also specializes in glammed-up airline trolleys, selling luxurious, attention-grabbing designs like the Pure Gold trolley, decorated with 24-carat gold leaf.

Architect David Hertz’s design, the Wing House, a Malibu mansion constructed from an entire Boeing 747, The most obviously aerial feature is, constructed from the wings of the former plane.

Recycling various aircraft materials and parts—from carbon fibre composites to aluminium and textiles—is not a new concept in the aviation industry. Some aircraft parts can also be recovered or refurbished for reuse in new aircraft. Nevertheless, making the most of some beautiful, rare materials and paying tribute to the skill involved in their manufacture is a demonstrate alternative and a positive way of dealing with waste.


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