Hydrogen-Electric Aircraft Technologies and Integration: Enabling an Environmentally Sustainable Aviation Future
As the global community grapples with growing concerns of a changing climate, many eyes have turned to the sustainability of the transportation sector. In the United States, transportation is currently the leading category contributing to all greenhouse gas emissions, producing more emissions per year than the electricity generation, industry, commercial and residential, and agricultural sectors individually. As various transportation modes transition to more sustainable models, such as with the use of battery-electric vehicles, the aviation sector has struggled to identify effective solutions for future sustainability goals, largely due to the difference in power and energy requirements of aircraft, as compared to other vehicles.
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Renewable energy sources are here to stay for a number of important reasons, including global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. We explore in this paper how a thermal-dominated electric energy system can be transformed into a renewable-dominated one. This study relies on a stochastic programming model that allows representing the uncertain parameters plaguing such long-term planning exercise. Being the final year of our analysis 2050, we represent the transition from today to 2050 by allowing investment in both production and transmission facilities, with the target of achieving a renewable-dominated minimum-cost system. The methodology developed is illustrated using a realistic large-scale case study. Finally, policy conclusions are drawn.
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