We need electric planes, sustainable aviation fuels, and hybrid propulsion now, not later.
In the year when the Swedish word "flygskam" (flight-shaming) hit the news in Europe, public concern about carbon emissions from aviation is endangering the sector's social license to operate.
The KLM airplane which runs on biokerose, a type of biofuel.
Lex Lieshout/AFP/Getty Images<h2>2. Finance takes to the skies</h2><p>Such funding from corporate actors, or a collection of willing enterprises, could also be accumulated in a new type of investment fund, not unlike the<a href="https://oilandgasclimateinitiative.com/" target="_blank"> Oil and Gas Climate Initiative</a>. Through co-investment, the high risks associated with new refineries and related infrastructure can be lowered, and there can be greater confidence the SAF will be used once produced (referred to as "off-take agreements" in the industry). The more plants that are built, the cheaper the production process and fuel product becomes. The resulting SAF from new refineries may only be used several years after the initial investment, but the capital pooled in the investment fund could provide the initial push necessary to get the industry to 2% (or even higher) use of SAF by 2025. As was shown in the case of solar energy, this would be an important benchmark that raises the prospect for reaching price parity with conventional fuel and achieving a complete energy transition of the industry over the longer term.</p><p>Financial institutions could play a direct role themselves. The World Economic Forum's community of CEO Climate Leaders <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/business-is-stepping-up-its-fight-against-climate-change-this-is-how/" target="_blank">has made great strides</a> in reducing the carbon footprints of their businesses in order to help meet the Paris Climate Goals. Some of the CEOs represent banks that have taken active steps towards ceasing to provide funding for coal-fired power stations and other heavily polluting assets. More recently, stakeholders in the shipping industry have launched the Poseidon Principles, which sees 11 major banks commit to lending portfolios and practices that incentivise the transition to a decarbonised shipping industry. A similar approach in the airline industry could result in beneficial financing terms for operators that commit to progressive adoption of SAF.</p><h2>3. Supply</h2><p>If buyers' clubs have the potential to provide significant momentum through a demand-led approach, opportunities exist for supply-led stimulation as well. One option is for airport operators, in collaboration with their carriers, to make landing rights and lowered associated fees an incentive for driving sustainability. Airports faced with the need to expand in order to accommodate growing demand are under huge pressure to limit their environmental footprint or undertake net-zero growth. The beauty of blended biofuels means that airports could gradually ramp up the percentage of SAF provided to airlines, raising it slowly as global supply increases. That percentage could increase to double digits by the 2030s.</p><p>In addition, smart regulatory choices designed to make production and sale of SAF more attractive could help level the playing field with traditional petroleum-based fuels. In emerging economies, like India and Brazil, where there is an abundance of appropriate feed stocks, inexpensive solar and wind resources or land available for refineries, such incentives could serve to encourage investment into new supply chains and scale SAF production in the near to medium term.</p><p>The well-sequenced combination of nuanced demand- and supply-led innovations, alongside the emergence of new or improved technologies, presents the aviation industry with a much-needed opportunity to protect its social license to operate and grow in an age of increased awareness around carbon emissions. There is no time to lose.</p><p>Reprinted with permission of the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>. Read the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/08/carbon-neutral-flying/" target="_blank">original article</a>.</p>
Are we sure this isn't alien technology?
- A Larry Page-backed company has announced that its flying car will go on sale in 2019.
- It's called the BlackFly.
- Not quite the escape from traffic you had in mind, but it's a jaw-dropping start.
BlackFly in the sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a5027ee888888d69066dfcabdb12a108"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Jcpq6XYYoY4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Here's the official launch video. Imagine seeing this while out on a hike.</p><p>As you might expect, where the strikingly futuristic, all-electric BlackFly shines is in the air. It can take off and land vertically (VTOL), and travel at a speed of 62 mph. It has a range of about 25 miles before its onboard battery needs to be recharged much like an electric car. With a rounded bottom, it sort of rocks itself into position as it lands.</p><p>Both its speed and range are limited by U.S. FAA regulations. It can go faster and farther in Canada, for example. (More on the regs below.)</p>
Is this thing safe? Is it any fun?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8063b445a87bf352900087a3bf2fab71"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FI8AemQcclY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Being at the forefront of personal flight, BlackFly sports three fail-safe flight systems, including a glide mode in case the power fails. There's also an optional parachute for the cautious. And the craft has been tested rigorously, successfully transporting a full payload for 12,000 miles. The propulsion systems made it through 40,000 flight cycles, the equivalent of 25 trips around Earth.</p><p>Being so high-tech, operation of the BlackFly is purported to be pretty easy, with a simple user interface, an "intuitive joystick," "soft-landing assist," and even a "Return-to-Home" button. In any event, <em>Opener</em> will be requiring buyers of the BlackFly to have successfully completed the FAA's private-pilot written test first.</p><p>The company says BlackFly will be capable of autonomous flight somewhere down the, er, road.</p>
Sky legal<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODczMTkwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2ODI2NjEyNH0.w99SXHnDxKPLDKWsKGEVDMB_D3GEx5rPiBCbt3kaMgM/img.jpg?width=980" id="3bae8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="246e22b2601bf1e857e820f024dbf953" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Opener<p>The FAA considers the BlackFly an <a href="https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-communities-and-interests/ultralights-and-ultralight-aircraft/getting-started-in-ultralight-flying/about-faa-part-103-for-ultralights" target="_blank"><u>ultralight</u></a> vehicle, which limits its usefulness for escaping traffic jams—it's only allowed to fly over non-congested areas.</p><p>More targeted regulations are unlikely to be formulated quickly enough for businesses like Opener and Uber—which expects to have flying taxis up in the air by 2023—or some members of Congress. So says the FAA's acting administrator Dan Elwell at the <a href="https://www.dmv.org/articles/the-faa-versus-flying-cars" target="_blank"><u>Uber Elevate</u></a> summit. When a suggestion was made that flying cars could be allotted their own air space, Elwell, responded, "What you just described is where we don't want to go. You just described segregated airspace. My hope is that we don't have to do that." Still, he says a legal framework for flying-car operation is more a matter of <em>when</em> than <em>if</em>. FAA spokesman Les Dorr tells the <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/faa-braces-for-flying-cars-that-now-require-no-license-or-registration" target="_blank"><u><em>Washington Examiner</em></u></a>, "The FAA has anticipated these vehicles for some time and is working with industry to help them develop their ideas."</p>
Opener's flying SUV<p><em>Opener</em> hasn't yet published a price for the BlackFly, excerpt to say that "In full production, BlackFly will be the price of an SUV. We are vague about the exact price so as not to overpromise." It hasn't yet established a waiting list, so there's no preordering going on yet. There is a <a href="https://www.opener.aero/faq/" target="_blank">mailing list</a> so you can keep up with development, including air show appearances where you can see BlackFly in person. The website also <a href="https://www.opener.aero/faq/" target="_blank"><u>lists</u></a> its social media accounts.</p><p>Why name it BlackFly? <em>Opener</em> says, "Black flies are insects with outstanding aerodynamic and VTOL capabilities. They have the same color as the black carbon fibers in our fuselage. They are disruptive." Well, yes. But they also bite.</p>
You know what would make LEGO even better? A base tape that lets you build against gravity.
The creators of the Nimuno Loops tape have done some genius inventing bringing us a product that makes you wonder why no one else has come up with it before.
The most impactful technology inventions in history are ranked.
Technology is a core component of the human experience. We have been creating tools to help us tame the physical world since the early days of our species.