FlyZero: Sustainability Report

Emissions from the global fleet of aircraft have a complex impact on climate. Current aircraft use hydrocarbon fuels as their energy source; when combusted, these produce CO2 and water vapour, as well as oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and sulphur (SOx). The lifetime impact of these emissions vary: from hours, weeks or years for some pollutants, to hundreds of years for CO2.

A comprehensive assessment of primary energy sources by the FlyZero team concluded that hydrogen, stored in a liquid state, offers the best opportunity to eliminate aircraft tailpipe CO2 emissions.

The benefits are significant. Hydrogen-powered midsize aircraft entering service in 2033, along with other variants progressively joining them over the following decade, could yield a cumulative global saving of over 4 Gt of CO2 by 2050 and 14 Gt by 2060.

Three hydrogen-powered concept aircraft were developed by the FlyZero team: a hydrogen fuel cell regional aircraft, a hydrogen-gas turbine narrowbody and a hydrogen-gas turbine midsize aircraft.

In the Sustainability Report, the FlyZero team estimates the climate impact of these aircraft, including CO2 and non-CO2 emissions. The report brings together fuel production and in-flight impact, and considers the complete life of the aircraft: from materials and processing, through to manufacturing and operational life, including the impact on airport infrastructure and fuelling requirements. It also factors in the effect of an aircraft’s decommissioning and any related end-of-life considerations, and the potential for materials recycling and reuse.

The report outlines the future work that is needed urgently to accelerate the sustainable introduction of zero-carbon emission aviation – including further research into the impact and avoidance of contrails, increased capabilities in lifecycle impact modelling and design, a review of the use of scarce materials and those with high social and environmental impact, and developments in policy and regulatory frameworks.

Click here to download the report now.