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Optimization of flight routes for reduced climate impact

The pressure to reduce emissions from aviation is greater than ever, but the electrification of aviation is still far in the future. The opportunities to reduce the climate impact of aviation already now are available in tailor-made routes.

In two parallel projects, IVL will investigate how far it can go with route optimization for reduced climate impact and with bio jet fuel. Pollutants such as NOx, particles and water vapor as well as condensation streaks that occur when burning aviation fuel at high altitude have a greater climate impact than if they are burned at ground level, this is called the high-altitude effect. The high-altitude effect strengthens the climate impact of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, but also of pure bio jet fuel.

New research shows that combustion of bio jet fuel can give rise to less particulate emissions than conventional jet fuel. This would have an impact on the climate impact of high-altitude effects.

- We want to find out if the use of biofuel affects the high-altitude effect. We will also see how the climate impact is affected by avoiding flying through airspace that is ice-saturated and cloudless. By considering prevailing atmospheric conditions, each flight can be tailored to achieve the least possible climate effect, says Jana Moldanová, project manager.

This will be done through atmospheric modeling and simulation of daily flight route planning, with and without climate optimization. The latter will be carried out on the Stockholm-Kiruna route with the help of weather forecasts from SMHI and route planning carried out by the airline Novair.

Optimization of flight routes for reduced climate impact

Period: 2019-2021

Budget: 4,815,000

Financier: The Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Transport Agency

Partners: SMHI, FOI, Novair, Swedavia, the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration