MO.2.B || Decarbonized Mobility Along the Value Chain

Papantoni, Veatriki; Linke, Florian; Dahlmann, Katrin; Kühlen, Markus; Silberhorn, Daniel; Brand, Urte; Vogt, Thomas

The Air Transport Action Group estimates that in order to reach the goals of the 2016 Paris Agreement of the UNFCC the aviation sector cannot solely rely on developments in aircraft technology and improvements in operations and infrastructure, but will also require a widespread deployment of sustainable fuels. Although biofuels pose one possible pathway for more sustainable aviation fuels, concerns with respect to land-use change and other sustainability issues motivate the research for alternatives. A different pathway could be fuel production via water electrolysis using renewable energy to produce hydrogen followed by Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, also known as Power-to-Liquid (PtL). In order to investigate whether this fuel pathway really contributes to sustainability and, in particular, to the reduction of environmental impacts, we conduct an environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) compared to fossil fuel for the use in a narrow-body short- to medium-haul aircraft fleet. The aircraft under study is designed within the project EXACT of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) supported by an industrial advisory board. Within the LCA the focus is on the phases of fuel production and operation of the aircraft’s lifecycle. The processes of the PtL production pathway are modelled based on scientific literature. Additionally, unlike most LCA studies in aviation, the impacts of the flight emissions are computed based on the aircraft characteristics and considering the geographic position and altitude of the aircraft for a global route network. Since the aircraft design is not affected by the fuel types under investigation, the aircraft production and end-of-life phases are not considered in the LCA. This contribution shows the potential of PtL for aviation in a well-to-wake environmental sustainability analysis considering not only climate change, but also other impacts (e.g. water use, toxicity).