Low Carbon Aviation

Decarbonization Avenue : Low Carbon Aviation

The aviation sector emits 2.5% of the total CO2 emissions, about 900 million tons per annum. And with the expected increases in aviation traffic over the next few decades, these emissions could be significantly higher by 2050 in a business-as-usual-scenario.

Decarbonization efforts in aviation revolve around increasing operational and fuel efficiency, use of low carbon fuels such as biofuels, and electrification of the aircraft propulsion system.

While there have been continuous improvements in the fuel efficiency of the aviation industry since the 1980s, the industry doesn’t seem to have met fuel efficiency improvement targets since 2010. Use of biofuels is a promising option as it could provide a drop-in alternative to the conventional jet fuel, but availability of sustainable aviation biofuels on a large scale and at affordable prices is still a challenge. 

Electric aviation will be limited to small aircraft doing short distance flights for the 2020-2030 period owing to the low energy densities that the current generations of batteries provide.

For the 2020-2030 period, innovations for low carbon aviation will be around use of hybrid aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels, hydrogen fuel cell based electric aviation, battery-based electric aviation for short distance travel, and optimization of aircraft operations.

Industries impacted

  • Aerospace & defense
  • Airlines & aviation
  • Internet & online solutions
  • Logistics
  • Oil & gas
  • Travel & hospitality

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Themes & Topics

  • Aviation operational efficiency

    • Higher efficiency engines & propulsion

    • Higher efficiency design of aircraft

    • Higher efficiency aircraft operations

  • Electric aviation

    • Battery based

    • Hydrogen based

  • Aviation biofuels

  • Advanced materials for low carbon aviation

  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration

  • Policies



  • Use of IT & digital solutions

  • Case studies

  • Financing

  • Avenues by flying distance:

    • Short distance

    • Long distance within countries

    • Inter-continental

  • By type of aircraft

    • Jet engines

    • Propeller

    • Helicopters

    • Small aircraft

    • Fighter aircraft