Melbourne Energy Institute joins the aviation impact accelerator initiative


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The Melbourne Energy Institute joins an international group of experts in aerospace, economics, policy, and climate science, who are building the Aviation Impact Accelerator, an interactive evidence-based simulator that allows you to explore scenarios for achieving net zero flight.

Aviation is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise due to the very tight technical constraints. There are various options for replacing kerosene-powered flight, but all have their advantages and challenges. Sustainable aviation fuels, for example, do not require changes to current aircraft technology or infrastructure, but an immense amount of electricity is required for their production at scale. Hydrogen is another candidate but requires significant changes to aircraft and airport infrastructures. Electric propulsion requires the least amount of electricity, but also has the greatest constraints in terms of range. Thus, it is currently not obvious which technologies should be adopted and where investments are needed.

The Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA) is an initiative lead by Cambridge University, supported by the World Economic Forum, the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative, and others. Its main goal is to create an interactive, open-source, whole system model that can map the pathways and accelerate the journey to zero emission flight. By making the trade-offs of different choices visible, the model will help shape good decision-making; enabling increased confidence in delivery and scale up, guiding innovation and infrastructure development, and driving investment and policy action.

Professor Richard Sandberg, Lead for MEI’s Power Generation and Transport Program, Dr Massimiliano Nardini, a Research Fellow in Mechanical Engineering, and Professor Michael Brear, Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute, have joined the project’s Systems Modelling Team that will integrate sub-models from the other sub-teams, namely the propulsion, fuel, airport, emissions and economic and policy teams, into a whole-system user interface.

Learn more about this exciting project.

First published by the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Melbourne.

First published on 17 May 2022.

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