Greenwash Myth Busting Resource

Greenwash Myth 3 – Electric Planes

Batteries are 43 times heavier than aviation fuel for the same energy (they only deliver 1MegaJoule per kg weight, compared with 43MJ/kg). And while planes get lighter as they burn aviation fuel, batteries remain the same weight for the whole trip. “Even assuming huge advances in battery technology, with batteries that are 30 times more efficient and “energy-dense” than they are today, it would only be possible to fly an A320 airliner for a fifth of its range with just half of its payload, says Airbus’s chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini.”

Flights of over 1,000 miles produce 80% of aviation emissions, and electric flight over this range is pure fantasy – not even envisioned by Sustainable Aviation, the industry body whose job is to promote the myth that there can be such a thing. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner carries 100 tonnes of aviation fuel – an astonishing 126,000 litres. Replacing with the same weight of batteries would reduce its range from 8,500 miles to just 200 miles.

Sustainable Aviation acknowledges that electric won’t happen for 10 to 20 years and then only for short haul flights. It hasn’t been without glitches – the batteries in a prototype small passenger plane caught fire in January 2020 (this was only revealed in December 2020).

Hybrid electric airplanes – there are various designs which can make the aircraft more efficient, but they all still use fossil fuels. The maximum savings in fossil fuels would be around 20%.

Bristol airport has no plans to make provision for electric aircraft. So although we may get some commercial electric aircraft certified in 5-10 years, Bristol airport will not be configured to take lots of small electric/hydrogen planes. It is planning for 99% of its passengers flying in and out on big jets.

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