A Canadian North aircraft leaves one of the runways at Montreal-Trudeau Airport.

Aerospace facing the ecological shift

More fuel-efficient engines, green fuels, environmental policies: The aerospace industry is decarbonizing, and CED wants to help with this green shift.

Now more than ever, the effects of climate change are being harshly felt. This issue affects all economic sectors. Due to its contribution to greenhouse gases (GHG), especially when it comes to air transportation, aerospace can play a key role in the transition to a greener economy.

Industry on the move

The Farnborough International Airshow, which took place from July 18 to 22, 2022, highlighted the challenges, innovations, and solutions that provide a way forward towards net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5oC.

Closer to home here in Canada, in February 2022 aviation industry leaders created the Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (C-SAF). This organization seeks to facilitate the industry’s transition to a carbon-neutral future.

This measure comes 12 years after the Coalition for Greener Aircraft put the SA2GE program in place in Quebec. This program aims to mobilize the development of technologies that are smarter, better performing and more efficient by reducing GHG emissions.

A carbon-neutral supply chain

A little boy of about three years old holds a toy airplane in his hands while waiting to fly.

For its part, Aéro Montréal implemented four initiatives in June 2022 to support the aerospace cluster’s recovery. These initiatives respond to a common objective: To build the carbon-neutral supply chain of tomorrow. This project is made possible thanks to the financial participation of CED and the Government of Quebec.

This project is well-timed: Aeronautics sub-contractors will quickly have to establish policies and practices compatible with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Otherwise, they will no longer be able to do business with major prime contractors with targets in this area. (La Presse, June 8, 2022, Les défis de la chaîne d’approvisionnement (article in French only))

Greener aircraft

The industry is also banking on more ecofriendly aircraft. We can think here of lighter airplanes, more fuel-efficient engines, and new types of fuel. These fuels are produced using renewable resources (forest and agricultural residue, fats, industrial oils, municipal solid waste, and captured CO2).

Another promising avenue: Electric technologies and hydrogen. However, these technologies will need to continue being developed for several years into the future. It remains that if the airplane of the future is electric, Quebec is well-positioned to take part in the adventure. In particular, we can count on our hydroelectricity—an abundant, clean, renewable energy—as well as on the expertise of our research centres and on innovative organizations.

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