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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Commercial Aircraft Propulsion
and Energy Systems Research

Reducing Global Carbon Emissions

Committee on Propulsion and Energy Systems to Reduce Commercial Aviation Carbon Emissions

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This report is based on work supported by Contract NNH10CD04B TO#12 with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/23490.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president.

The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.

The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.

Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

Transformation in the Air: A Review of the FAA’s Certification Research Plan (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2015)

Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight (ASEB, 2014)

3D Printing in Space (ASEB, 2014)

Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration (ASEB with Space Studies Board [SSB], 2014)

Continuing Kepler’s Quest: Assessing Air Force Space Command’s Astrodynamics Standards (ASEB, 2012)

NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space (ASEB, 2012)

NASA’s Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus (Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, 2012)

Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities (SSB and ASEB, 2012)

Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment (ASEB, 2012)

Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (SSB with ASEB, 2012)

Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA’s Meteroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011)

Preparing for the High Frontier—The Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era (ASEB, 2011)

Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs (ASEB, 2010)

Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with SSB and ASEB, 2010)

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

Forging the Future of Space Science: The Next 50 Years: An International Public Seminar Series Organized by the Space Studies Board: Selected Lectures (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration: An Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (ASEB, 2010)

Limited copies of ASEB reports are available free of charge from:

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 334-3477/aseb@nas.edu
www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

COMMITTEE ON PROPULSION AND ENERGY SYSTEMS TO REDUCE COMMERCIAL AVIATION CARBON EMISSIONS

KAREN A. THOLE, Pennsylvania State University, Co-Chair

WOODROW WHITLOW, JR., Cleveland State University, Co-Chair

MEYER J. BENZAKEIN, Ohio State University

R. STEPHEN BERRY, University of Chicago

MARTY K. BRADLEY, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

STEVEN J. CSONKA, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative

DAVID J. H. EAMES, Rolls-Royce North America (retired)

DANIEL K. ELWELL, Elwell and Associates, LLC

ALAN H. EPSTEIN, Pratt & Whitney

ZIA HAQ, U.S. Department of Energy

KAREN MARAIS, Purdue University

JAMES F. MILLER, Argonne National Laboratory

JOHN G. NAIRUS, Air Force Research Laboratory

STEPHEN M. RUFFIN, Georgia Institute of Technology

HRATCH G. SEMERJIAN, National Institute of Standards and Technology

SUBHASH C. SINGHAL, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Staff

ALAN C. ANGLEMAN, Senior Program Officer, Study Director

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board

ANESIA WILKS, Senior Program Assistant

CHARLES HARRIS, Research Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

LESTER L. LYLES, The Lyles Group, Chair

PATRICIA GRACE SMITH, Aerospace Consultant, Vice Chair

ARNOLD D. ALDRICH, Aerospace Consultant

BRIAN M. ARGROW, University of Colorado, Boulder

STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering

MEYER J. BENZAKEIN, Ohio State University

BRIAN J. CANTWELL, Stanford University

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Arizona State University

EILEEN M. COLLINS, Space Presentations, LLC

MICHAEL P. DELANEY, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University

ALAN H. EPSTEIN, Pratt & Whitney

KAREN FEIGH, Georgia Institute of Technology

PERETZ P. FRIEDMANN, University of Michigan

MARK J. LEWIS, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Institute of Defense Analyses

RICHARD McKINNEY, Independent Consultant

JOHN M. OLSON, Sierra Nevada Corporation

ROBIE I. SAMANTA ROY, Lockheed Martin

AGAM N. SINHA, Ans Aviation International, LLC

ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin, Advanced Technology Center

DAVID M. VAN WIE, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

SHERRIE L. ZACHARIUS, Aerospace Corporation

Staff

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

Preface

Commercial aviation, like every means of mass transportation, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Substantial, ongoing investments in air transportation technologies continually increase the efficiency of air transportation, moving passengers and cargo over the same distance with less fuel consumed and, hence, fewer carbon emissions. Even so, given the high demand for commercial air transportation and its expected growth, more effort is needed to mitigate the contribution that commercial aviation makes to climate change.

A great many public and private organizations, including engine and aircraft manufacturers, academia, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Energy, are already engaged in developing advanced technologies, policies, and standards that will help reduce carbon emissions from commercial aviation. Accordingly, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convene a committee to develop a national research agenda for propulsion and energy systems research to reduce commercial aviation carbon emissions. In response, the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences assembled a committee to carry out the assigned statement of task (see Appendix A). The committee members (see Appendix B) met four times during 2015 and early 2016, three times at the Academies’ facilities in Washington, D.C., and once at the Academies’ Irvine, California, facility. As specified in the statement of task, the committee developed a research agenda consisting of a set of high-priority research projects that, if completed by NASA and other interested parties, would advance the four high-priority approaches for developing propulsion and energy system technologies that could be introduced into service during the next 10 to 30 years to reduce global carbon emissions by commercial aviation.

Karen Thole, Co-Chair

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr., Co-Chair

Committee on Propulsion and Energy Systems to Reduce Commercial Aviation Carbon Emissions

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Michael Armstrong, Rolls-Royce North American Technologies,

John R. Birge, University of Chicago,

Bill Borger, W U Borger Consulting,

Fokion N. Egolfopoulos, University of Southern California,

Neil Gehrels, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,

John Kinney, GE Aviation,

Holger Kuhn, Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V.,

Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology,

Jonathan Male, Department of Energy,

George W. Sutton, Analysis and Applications,

Wallace E. Tyner, Purdue University, and

Jeanne Yu, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Edward M. Greitzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Maxine L. Savitz, Honeywell, Inc. (retired), who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23490.
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The primary human activities that release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere are the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) to generate electricity, the provision of energy for transportation, and as a consequence of some industrial processes. Although aviation CO2 emissions only make up approximately 2.0 to 2.5 percent of total global annual CO2 emissions, research to reduce CO2 emissions is urgent because (1) such reductions may be legislated even as commercial air travel grows, (2) because it takes new technology a long time to propagate into and through the aviation fleet, and (3) because of the ongoing impact of global CO2 emissions.

Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research develops a national research agenda for reducing CO2 emissions from commercial aviation. This report focuses on propulsion and energy technologies for reducing carbon emissions from large, commercial aircraft— single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft that carry 100 or more passengers—because such aircraft account for more than 90 percent of global emissions from commercial aircraft. Moreover, while smaller aircraft also emit CO2, they make only a minor contribution to global emissions, and many technologies that reduce CO2 emissions for large aircraft also apply to smaller aircraft.

As commercial aviation continues to grow in terms of revenue-passenger miles and cargo ton miles, CO2 emissions are expected to increase. To reduce the contribution of aviation to climate change, it is essential to improve the effectiveness of ongoing efforts to reduce emissions and initiate research into new approaches.

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