The World Economic Forum’s Target True Zero coalition was formed to understand how the development and deployment of new forms of aviation propulsion, such as those powered by batteries or hydrogen, can be accelerated to help the sector achieve its transition to net zero by 2050.
This report, produced in conjunction with the University of Cambridge’s Aviation Impact Accelerator using their whole systems model, looks at the full environmental impacts these new technologies would have – not just in terms of carbon emissions but the lifecycle impacts of using different fuel or energy sources and the impact of non-CO2 emissions high up in the atmosphere. It utilizes aggregated results obtained through processing confidential data provided by a large number of incumbent and new entrant aerospace manufacturers to begin to establish consensus about the capabilities of these aircraft, and the technology unlocks that are still needed if they are to be deployed sustainably and at scale.
The report provides a useful resource for policymakers and other decision makers around the world as they build aviation transition strategies. While Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) provides a solution in the short term, uncertainties remain around scale up and global cost, and so it is crucial to start assessing the role that hydrogen and battery powered aircraft could play alongside SAF to reach net-zero aviation.