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Green Skies: Making Aviation Renewable & Sustainable

Posted on August 30, 2018 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

If humans continue to decimate the earth and all its precious resources, it is only a matter of time before such things we take for granted, like airplane travel, will become rare or even obsolete. Airline techs and interested parties understand this and have stepped up to change a future that is rapidly reversing decades of progress.

Green scientists and researchers have emerged from high education programs to re-invent technology so it fits today’s changing energy landscape. As resources dwindle, air travel would be the first and hardest hit. This is why making aviation renewable and sustainable is more important than ever.

BioFuel Jet Fuel

Henry Ford originally proposed using peanut oil or ethanol (plant based alcohol) to run his automobile invention, these are examples of biofuels.

Green Facts explains this energy source,

“Biofuels are fuels produced directly or indirectly from organic material – biomass – including plant materials and animal waste...Biofuels can be solid, gaseous or liquid [and]...may be derived from agricultural crops, including conventional food plants or from special energy crops. Biofuels may also be derived from forestry, agricultural or fishery products or municipal wastes, as well as from agro-industry, food industry and food service by-products and wastes.”

As technology advances, aviation biofuel is becoming more of a consideration. Currently, the airline industry actually uses biofuel (like cars). In fact, by 2020 it is expected to be utilizing about 2 million tons of the stuff. The biofuel supply industry is expected to grow exponentially after that.

The problem with biofuel is that some report the energy to grow and process plants into biofuel uses more fossil fuels than would be originally used as energy alone. This is debatable, especially with suspected, biased studies being quoted. Many biofuel farms follow strict Eco-friendly protocols practicing water conservation, composting, and natural pest control. Japan Airlines reported almost a decade ago that biofuels were more efficient than jet fuels.

Interestingly, gasoline is considered an ancient biofuel as it is sourced from decomposed prehistoric plants and animals, labeling it fossil fuel.

Airport Makeovers

In addition to airline fuel being the most essential change in the making, airports themselves have embraced some Eco-friendly upgrades.

Some notable American terminals include:

  • Boston Logan International - Features roofing and pavement surfaces designed to reflect heat from the building, low-flow bathroom fixtures, environmentally friendly asphalt runway, and 6ft tall wind turbines installed on top of the airport’s offices, generating around 3% of the energy required for its operations.
  • Denver International Airport - Features the largest solar power farm at a commercial airport in the US, with four on-airport solar arrays generating enough electricity to power 2,500 homes.
  • Chicago’s O’Hare - Houses an aeroponic garden with 1 million bees in 75 beehives, making it the largest airport apiary in the world.
  • San Francisco International Airport - LEED Gold Certified, this airport claims to recycle 90% of its waste material.

The more that airports switch over to green practices, both aesthetically and technically, the more they will serve as benchmark reminders for people traveling through them everyday.

Green In Flight Changes

Many airline companies are attempting to reduce their inflight carbon footprint. One way is to maintain dense seating. The more butts in seats, the lower the emissions per capita. This may be why you are experiencing packed flights everywhere you go, it is just more energy efficient.

There is also real-time weather technology which assists pilots in choosing routes that avoid excess fuel usage as well as a single-engine taxing protocol. Other inflight changes include onboard recycling, using humanely farmed meat and dairy, sustainably sourced fish and seafood, and reduced deforestation-risk food, as well as switching from plastics to compostable products.


These efforts are only the beginning to making aviation renewable and sustainable. In due time air travel may very well be carbon neutral, powered completely by biofuels or even electric. Passengers may also be involved more by participating in these changes as well as taking away into their own lives educated, green adjustments.

This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eco Travel, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and was tagged with CONSERVES WATER, ENERGY EFFICIENT, green airlines, green airports, RECYCLED-UPCYCLED


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