19 July 2022 – This insight report, developed by the World Economic Forum and the Aviation Impact Accelerator and with a Foreword from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, seeks to assess the total climate impact of battery-electric aircraft, hydrogen fuel cell electric aircraft and hydrogen combustion aircraft, and identifies critical areas of uncertainty. The report examines the technical capabilities and challenges of these novel technologies and the role they might play in accelerating the aviation industry’s sustainability efforts.

To download the report in English, click here.

As industries and governments take increasingly ambitious steps to address the threat of climate change, focus is being placed on how the aviation industry will align itself with wider climate goals. There is an urgent need to thoroughly explore the role that battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric and hydrogen combustion aircraft could play in achieving the sector’s climate goals.

This Target True Zero report uses the Aviation Impact Accelerator’s whole system model to take a new approach in assessing the complete full impact of novel technologies over their entire lifecycle and identifying areas of uncertainty. It also determines the technical capabilities and challenges of these new technologies, as well as their potential role in the aviation sector’s decarbonisation efforts.

The report identifies eight key ‘Unlocks’, or steps that are necessary for realizing the potential of alternative propulsion in moving the aviation industry towards a true zero climate impact:

The Target True Zero coalition will build on this report by working with stakeholders to advance these unlocks and other areas which will enable alternative propulsion to contribute to a future of sustainable flight.

Report conclusions

The findings in this report provide a strong rationale for continued work to understand how the development of battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric and hydrogen combustion aircraft could be accelerated and how these aircraft can be deployed at scale to accelerate the aviation industry’s transition to true zero. Achieving these outcomes will require further work to understand the role these technologies will play alongside solutions such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) and sustained collaboration between governments, the aviation industry, academia, and other sectors.

Citing this Report

Barker, B., Hodgson, P., Hyde, D., Miller, R., Rapeanu, M., Target True Zero: Unlocking Sustainable Battery and Hydrogen Powered Flight. World Economic Forum, 2022.

Find out more

You can compare alternative aviation fuels based on their climate impact, resource requirements and costs by visiting RECCE, the Resource to Climate Comparison Evaluator here. The tool provides a detailed breakdown of where in the system emissions occur and where the uncertainties are.