Most industry experts agree that the future of all transportation is more electric. Advancements in electric and autonomous vehicles have sparked renewed enthusiasm for the integration of hydrogen power and battery power in aviation.
The drive behind the electric movement in aviation, not surprisingly, is based on increased concerns about environmental impact. Aviation emissions have doubled since the mid-1980s, accounting for 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. That number could triple by 2050, according to reenbiz.com. Such an alarming statistic is one reason why the global market for electric aircraft is projected to skyrocket, potentially reaching $27.7 billion by 2030, according to market research company MarketsandMarkets.
Current technologies have made it possible to electrify small aircraft. But electrifying larger aircraft requires a different approach, since battery power densities do not exist today to make it feasible for large aircraft to be powered solely by batteries. In addition, there are ongoing challenges relative to the weight of batteries, as well as heat management issues with the size of batteries necessary to power larger aircraft.
This white paper is designed to summarize existing technologies that are making electric aircraft more viable, as well as address some of the remaining engineering challenges that preclude the industry from going completely electric.
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