Aerospace giant Boeing announced on Wednesday the public launch of Cascade, its data modelling tool aimed at assessing technologies and solutions to address the climate impact of aviation, opening up the tool for public use.
The aviation industry has come under scrutiny as a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, with the vast majority of the sector’s footprint derived from fuel use.
Initiatives being pursued to address the climate impact of the industry typically involve efforts to improve aircraft efficiency, develop sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), or create aircraft utilizing low or zero carbon propulsion systems such as electric or hydrogen-based, although many of these are at early stages of development.
Cascade, unveiled by Boeing at the 2022 Farnborough Airshow in July, identifies the effects of various solutions aimed at decarbonizing aviation, including examining and quantifying the full life impact of alternate energy sources for aviation from production to distribution and use, as well as modeling the effect of measures including fleet renewal, operational efficiency, and future aircraft.
Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond, said:
“We created Cascade to serve as an industry tool that creates a common framework among aviation, energy, finance and policy. By putting data first and sharing this model with the public, we are enabling collaboration, feedback and alignment across industry, government and others who work together to achieve a more sustainable aerospace future.”
Alongside the public launch, Boeing also unveiled some of the key findings from assessments generated by Cascade, including revealing that SAF will be the greatest contributor to reducing carbon emissions over the next several years, given its ability to be used in current aircraft. The analysis also found that the near- to mid-term impact of electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft will be limited, due to long development timeframes and the need to deploy new infrastructure for airports and pipelines.
Neil Titchener, Cascade Program Leader, said:
“Our industry has really hard questions ahead of us, we’re going to have to make difficult choices. Cascade can be the conversation starter for how each decarbonization pathway can help us reach a more sustainable future.”