Is Ecojet “the biggest revolution in the aviation industry since the invention of the jet engine?”
With growing concern over the aviation industry’s negative impact on the climate, airlines are doubling down on their sustainability efforts. Through investment in fuel-efficient aircraft, use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), optimised operations, and the leveraging of various technologies, we are seeing companies make a concerted effort to meet sustainability targets.
However, Ecotricity’s Dale Vince is going the extra mile, looking to spark “the biggest revolution in the aviation industry since the invention of the jet engine.”
Reliant on upcycling, conventional planes will be retrofitted with hydrogen-electric powertrains, allowing Ecojet’s fleet to operate with a 100 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. As the only byproduct should be water, this will be captured and released into the lower atmosphere to avoid the harmful effects of contrails. Ecotricity estimates that repurposing old planes in this way will save 90,000 tonnes of carbon per year.
“The question of how to create sustainable air travel has plagued the green movement for decades, Ecojet is by far the most significant step towards a solution to date. The desire to travel is deeply etched into the human spirit, and flights free of C02 emissions, powered by renewable energy will allow us to explore our incredible world without harming it for the first time.”
Complimenting the use of green energy, the onboard experience will be equally centred around sustainability. Serving plant-based meals, eliminating single-use plastic, and giving staff environmentally friendly uniforms.
The airline’s plan to transition to green energy can be broken into two stages.
- Launch with two different sizes of turboprop aircraft (a 19-seat aircraft and a 70-seat aircraft) using conventionally fuelled planes to secure routes and license from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- Retrofit these with hydrogen-electric powertrains as they become approved for service by the CAA.
The airline expects to commence flights across the UK in early 2024, the first being the Edinburgh to Southampton route. Ecojet plans to then expand into mainland Europe before tackling long-haul flights. After one year of flights, in 2025 the first retrofits will take place.
What do you think of Vince’s plan?
For more on sustainability see:
- The sustainability benefits of JAL’s “Any Wear, Anywhere”
- The advantages of a new airline: Riyadh Air’s plans for technology and sustainability
- Interview with Robert Horton, DFW Airport – “Sustainability is complimentary to good business”