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“Energy costs for alternative aviation propulsion will be 76-86% over market rates ” – WEP forum report

In a new report prepared by the World Economic Forum in conjunction with McKinsey & Company, Target True Zero: Delivering the Infrastructure for Battery and Hydrogen-Powered Flight the authors predict electricity costs for alternative aviation propulsion will be 76-86% over market rates.

This is one of ten findings of the report. Here is the full list:

  1. Global demand for alternative propulsion could require 600-1,700 TWh of clean energy by 2050. This is equivalent to the energy generated by around 10-25 of the world’s largest wind farms, or a solar farm half the size of Belgium.
  2. Large airports could consume 5-10 times more electricity by 2050 than they do today, to support alternative propulsion.
  3. Alternative propulsion will require two new infrastructure value chains – one for battery electric aviation and one for hydrogen – which may include a whole variety of new partners that are not currently part of the aviation ecosystem.
  4. Most airports have space for hydrogen liquefaction and storage infrastructure, but not enough land to generate all of the clean energy needed to power battery-electric and hydrogen aircraft.
  5. Shifting to alternative propulsion will require a capital investment of between USD700 billion and USD1.7 trillion across the value chain by 2050. Approximately 90% of this investment will be for off-airport infrastructure, primarily power generation and hydrogen electrolysis and liquefaction.
  6. Investment needed for airport infrastructure will be significantly higher for large airports than for smaller airports, but of similar magnitude to other major investments such as building a new terminal.
  7. Costs to operators of alternative propulsion are expected to be around 76-86% over the market price for green electricity – reflecting additional aviation infrastructure operating costs.
  8. The investments needed to meet 2050 goals must start now. The first elements of on-airport infrastructure must be in place by 2025 to meet expected energy demand.
  9. To harness the power of network effects and regional connectivity, coordination of infrastructure investment will be required to make alternative propulsion operations feasible.
  10. The aviation industry will need to partner with other industries to secure enough green electricity and hydrogen in a supply constrained environment and have a voice in shaping the future of the hydrogen ecosystem.

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