AIRBUS and MMU are teaming up in a bid to develop new sustainable fuels for the aviation industry.
One of the leading global aircraft manufacturers, Airbus has been tapping into environmental expertise in the Faculty of Science and Engineering for a decade.
Now, as airlines face the double challenge of diversifying their fuel sources and becoming greener to meet strict emissions caps, the company is hoping MMU can help find the key to sustainable flying.
Dr Delia Dimitriu, research fellow in the Centre for Air Transport and the Environment (CATE), explained: “The industry is highly-dependent on Jet A1 fuels, which are not sustainable, particularly in view of new rules on emissions which can ground airlines for emitting too much carbon.
“Aircraft flying with biofuels can reduce Co2 emissions by 50-85%, so the debate now is over which biofuels to use, where to source them and how available, reliable and sustainable they are.”
Airbus appointed CATE to look at a range of biomass sources local to different countries and assess their economic, social and environment pros and cons.
Working with Dr Simon Christie, Delia is looking at Camelina from Eastern Europe, Jatropha from India, Eucalyptus Mallee from Australia and Algae/Camelina from China.
The study, which could run for up to 5 years, will assess sustainability from the planting and farming stage to the oil refinement process right up to fuelling the aircraft - what Delia calls “the whole value chain”.
Country by country, the scientists will be assessing each fuel source, and its sustainability within the industry and for the communities which produces it.
MMU will be working with local partners in each country, including research teams, authorities and business.
Professor David Lee, director of CATE, said: “As demand for air travel grows, so does our awareness of the environmental consequences.
“It is vital that industry and science work together to find new ways forward, and we are delighted to be involved with Airbus in such important research and development.”
Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading university for the professions and a powerful driver of the North West economy.
The University educates and trains large numbers of the region’s legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals. It enjoys an excellent reputation for teaching and applied research and is a recognised innovator in partnership working with its local communities. The University is currently investing almost £300 million in its estate and facilities.
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