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Boeing, MIT Announce Decarbonized Aerospace Research Partnership

Aug. 17, 2022
The aerospace giant is also a founding member of MIT's Climate and Sustainability Consortium.

On August 15, at the Farnborough Air Show, Boeing Co. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a new three-year project to research how the aerospace industry can reduce or eliminate carbon emissions. The project, Pathways to Sustainable Aviation, will send its findings to a real-time visualization of aerospace-related carbon emissions called Cascade.

Brian Yutko, Boeing’s vice president and chief engineer of sustainability, in a statement called climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

“We are committed to work across industry and academia, collaborating and investing in the scientific research and developments that are crucial to achieve a sustainable aerospace future,” said Yutko.

According to the company, Boeing reached net-zero carbon emissions at its manufacturing and worksites in late 2020, but the question of “Scope 3” emissions—carbon generated by using the products made by a company—remains. According to Reuters, the aviation industry produces up to 3% of all carbon dioxide produced by people and 12% from transportation.

“Addressing how the aerospace industry reduces its environmental footprint is critical to the future of air travel,” said project’s lead principal investigator, R. John Hansman, professor aeronautics at MIT. Hansman, who also leads the International Center for Air Transportation at the institute, said he looked forward to examining how to make flying greener on an industry scale.

“We are excited to work with Boeing to quantify the systems-level impacts of potential approaches in order to reduce the carbon emissions from aviation,” Hansman said.

It’s not Boeing’s first collaboration with MIT on carbon emissions and aviation. The air and defense manufacturer is a founding member of MIT’s Climate and Sustainability Consortium, which it has previously used to share technical data with MIT for research into sustainable aviation fuels. 

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