From the earliest days of flight, aviation innovations have propelled us into the future — allowing us to travel further, faster, and more efficiently than our ancestors could have ever imagined. Today, we continue those innovations to go even further.
From the dunes of Kitty Hawk to the surface of the moon —the last century has proven that the sky is no longer the limit. However, as we learn from the past we are presented with new challenges that will inspire the next generation of aviators. Primarily, how to shift away from fossil fuels and advance towards greener, more sustainable flight.
Aerospace is currently responsible for 2-3% of global carbon emissions, and world governments have set a goal to reduce aviation CO2 emissions by 50% before 2050. According to the International Air Transport Association, 65% of this goal would be accomplished by using sustainable aviation fuel, while 13% would be the adoption of new technologies. There are several other initiatives set in place to achieve this, but some are more effective and produce better results than others. The industry needs technology that delivers meaningful reductions in carbon emissions, which can be applied to the existing fleet quickly and economically, and be effectively embodied in the production of future aircraft.
Check out our list of the top three advancements in aerospace sustainability that even the Wright Brothers would be proud of:
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is predicted to be the biggest contributor to sustainable flight. Refined from renewable resources, SAF is an absolute game-changer and will be critical in the fight to help offset aircraft emissions. According to IATA, “relative to fossil fuels, sustainably produced, unconventional, jet fuel results in a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across its lifecycle.” However, the biggest downside is that it is costly, and difficult modifications will be required to update the current aviation infrastructure.
The sale of electric vehicles more than doubled in 2021, and experts are expecting this trend to continue. The automobile industry is feeling the pressure to create more sustainable vehicles, with some states like California even banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. It seems reasonable that the aviation industry would follow suit with electric aircraft. There are currently different types being tested, including Alice, which is the world’s first all-electric passenger aircraft, with a max cruise speed of 287 mph and a range of about 440 nautical miles. With zero emissions the future of electric transportation isn't just bright — it's clean. However, like SAF there are tremendous hurdles to cross. Going electric means updating entire global fleets with new aircraft, updated infrastructure, and new protocols; all of which will ultimately make implementation a slow and exorbitant process.
At the top of our list is Tamarack SMARTWING™ Technology. Available right now, SMARTWING™ Technology is FAA & EASA certified and has already been installed on nearly 160 aircraft. SMARTWING™ Technology can transform any fixed-wing aircraft and can help to reduce emissions by up to 33%. Tamarack SMARTWING™ Technology is the ultimate aviation upgrade — with advanced features that are rapidly changing the future of aerospace. Comprised of a lightweight wing extension, a composite winglet, and the autonomous ATLAS® load alleviation system, it dynamically responds to changing load conditions. In short, our technology lessens the load on aircraft wings and allows the plane to fly more efficiently. It can get to altitude faster, turbulence is decreased, and fuel consumption is decreased. A case study conducted by Tamarack estimated that if Active Winglets were to be fitted onto the commercial jet narrow-bodied fleet (Airbus A320 / Boeing 737variants) alone, 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 would be saved by 2040, reducing the emissions gap by approximately 20%. Tamarack’s technology offers a greater reduction in fuel burn and carbon emissions for existing aircraft than any other retrofittable solution available at present.
Aviation innovations come in many forms, from landing on the moon to supersonic flight. But with the need for more sustainable and efficient flight, just one method simply won't accomplish the goal of reducing carbon emissions. With sustainable fuel and electric aircraft years away from feasibility, a solution is needed now. As innovators and engineers, Tamarack Aerospace looks to be a leader in the effort for a greener, more sustainable flight. The implementation of SMARTWING™ Technology to military and commercial airframes would greatly contribute to the overall goal of reducing emissions, but the combination of these technologies together will have the greatest impact on the health of our world.