Alice in Cloudland? DHL successfully launched the first all-electric cargo plane, Alice, late last month.
The maiden flight was completed at Moses Lake, WA’s Grant County International Airport (MWH), It flew for eight minutes and reached an altitude of 3,500 feet. The Seattle-based manufacturer, Eviation, is the builder.
“Completing its maiden flight confirms our belief that the era of sustainable aviation is here. With our order of 12 Alice e-cargo planes, we are investing towards our overall goal of net-zero emissions logistics,” said John Pearson, CEO DHL Express, who was quoted in the article.
A single pilot can fly the plane and it will carry 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lbs.). It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 815 kilometers (440 nautical miles).
DHL says Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft. Alice’s advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.
The aircraft is ideal for feeder routes and requires less investment in station infrastructure, DHL says. The Alice can be charged while loading and unloading operations occur, ensuring quick turnaround times that maintain DHL Express’ tight schedules. Eviation says Alice can be configured for cargo or passenger use.
Pearson noted that Alice’s range and capacity “makes it a unique sustainable solution for our global aviation network.” It supports DHL’s goal to make a “substantial contribution” in reducing its carbon footprint and ultimately, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
A new eHandbook from Environment+Energy Leader, sponsored by Anguil Environmental Systems, outlines current trends in air pollution controls and what should be considered when choosing emission control technologies.
That is of course if energy companies insist on emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) rather than converting their plants to renewable energy sourcing. But oh well, the climate crisis must continue, and fewer pollutants might have to do.
The handbook notes that in trying to understand how best to mitigate VOCs and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), industrial companies can find “compliance downright baffling.”
“Significant shifts in the industrial landscape and in the economy at large, along with constant regulatory changes, contribute to the confusion.
“There are many factors impacting the clean air technology industry, including regulation, public policy, and considerations such as environmental justice,” says Clare Schulzki, executive director of the Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC), quoted in the ebook. The landscape is changing. EPA, for example, continues to update and release new air emissions rules including regulations requiring additional controls on certain equipment and processes that emit Ethylene Oxide (EtO) to reduce risk to surrounding communities and protect public health from this known carcinogen.
EPA is also developing new methane emission rules that will tighten standards for new and existing equipment primarily in the oil, gas, and mining sectors.
The eBook identifies five pollution control trends:
Trend #1. The carbon footprint of air pollution controls starts to matter. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations are driving companies away from gas-fired emission combustion systems to fume abatement technologies that utilize electrically heated sources. For example, one technology, oxidation, converts pollutants into water vapor, carbon dioxide, and thermal energy. When designed properly these systems can have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gas-fired burner.
Trend #2. Concentrator systems gain in popularity. Emission concentrators are specialized systems that process large quantities of polluted air with low pollutant concentrations. This allows companies to use smaller oxidizers in self-sustaining modes. Apparently, this approach is more efficient and cost-effective.
Trend #3. Industries such as battery manufacturing, semiconductors, and renewable natural gas are soaring. For many companies in these industries, this means more factories, increased output and/or new processes.
Trend #4. Supply chain disruptions affect every industry. “If you’re contending with the inability to receive the materials you need in order to manufacture your products, you’re not alone. Nearly every industry is facing similar challenges – including your pollution control technology provider.” This means there might be longer than expected wait times for those smaller oxidizers and other neat technologies. So, plan way ahead.
Trend #5. US industry adheres to US standards even in emerging markets. Manufacturing is increasing in emerging markets. “Large companies are building more plants in Southeast Asia, for example. And many large corporations are committed to adhering to US standards regardless of local regulations.”
The handbook also lists “considerations” for companies to address when choosing emission control technologies, such as the compounds that comprise a company’s emissions, meeting regulatory requirements, sorting capital costs vs. operating costs, and sources of funding.
So again, the basic message is to plan way ahead and keep abreast of new pollution control technologies.
And don’t forget the long-term value inherent in renewable energy technologies. Just saying.