At Aerion Supersonic, having engineers with heads in the clouds isn’t only tolerated, it’s encouraged. Designing the world’s first privately built Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ), the AS2®, takes the sort of imagination and ability to think outside the box the average aerospace engineer may not be able to handle.
But for every moment our engineering team devotes to taking our new supersonic jet to market and bringing the world closer together, other members of Aerion have their thoughts much more down to Earth — in fact, below ground level. To achieve Aerion’s goals of being the first carbon-neutral aircraft company in the world, we’ve devoted a portion of our organization’s considerable talents to the subject of carbon removal.
Carbon Removal is an incredibly important part of ensuring the AS2® can travel at speeds above 1,000 mph — without causing environmental harm. Aerion’s green speed initiative involves managing the carbon our planes emit and utilizing fuels of the future to decrease the mark we leave on our world.
As the World Resources Institute explains, “Carbon removal strategies remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it through various means, such as in soils, trees, underground reservoirs, rocks, the ocean and even products like concrete and carbon fiber.” Carbon removal solutions capture and lock away atmospheric carbon to help tackle climate change. Many industries are difficult to decarbonize or may take a long time to reach carbon neutrality, but carbon removal can actively compensate for these sectors by capturing carbon emissions from the air, including the emissions of generations past that remain trapped in the atmosphere.
Aerion is tackling carbon removal from several angles, some more down-to-Earth. For instance, the planet itself possesses a fantastic carbon removal system Aerion fully supports — the growth of trees. Aerion will aid this natural carbon capture system through the Aerion Foundation, which has committed to planting 100 million trees by 2036. Each tree will hungrily absorb carbon as it contributes to forest growth.
Planting trees isn’t the only plan for carbon removal Aerion is working on. Aerion is teaming up with world-leading experts at Carbon Engineering (CE) to investigate Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. CE’s innovative DAC process captures carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere so it can be permanently sequestered deep underground or turned into the fuel of tomorrow.
Here’s how this works. CE’s DAC technology is paired with geological storage to capture and permanently sequester carbon under the Earth. Carbon is captured from the air using large tower structures and a series of chemical reactions. It is then compressed into a fluid almost as dense as water, and injected under the ground into porous rock with an impermeable rock layer above acting as a barrier. To explain this in un-scientific terms, imagine liquid carbon injected into a sponge that is then locked away in a Tupperware container. This carbon will be safely stored in the Earth for potentially millions of years.
But Aerion’s partnership with CE is focused on an even more interesting idea — the potential for environmentally-friendly fuels. CE and Aerion share a vision of the AS2® SBJ powered by clean fuels that provide all of the power and none of the emissions. CE’s answer to this lofty goal is found in its AIR TO FUELSTM methodology. The process begins with CE’s Direct Air Capture technology empowering the capture of carbon from air. Then, instead of injecting it into the ground, it becomes the raw material for synthetic fuels that essentially are much cleaner versions of the hydrocarbons burned today in our jets.
Steve Oldham, CEO of CE, explained the future of fuel this way: “Our DAC technology captures yesterday’s emitted CO2 and converts it into fuel. When used in any vehicle, the carbon is returned to the atmosphere as CO2; however, the process then captures it again to make more fuel. So, we continually re-use existing CO2, and little or no new carbon emissions are created. This provides a way to decarbonize sectors of transportation that are difficult to electrify and that require the high energy density of liquid fuels.”
Aerion is proud to partner with CE to harness this powerful source of environmentally friendly fuel for the AS2® SBJ. To put it another way, tomorrow’s fuel for the AS2® will come from today’s fuel, captured and refined into a pure-burning synthetic fuel. This disruptive technology is further proof of Aerion’s commitment to green speed — supersonic flight that is as environmentally-friendly as it is fast.
If you would like to learn more about our company and our innovative approach to supersonic flight, please read our profile in Forbes or visit aerionsupersonic.com.
We Say It’s Coming Faster Than You Think
Your time is precious. So, why should you waste it traveling at subsonic speeds? At least that’s what we think at Aerion Supersonic. Committed to spurring true innovation in air travel, we are introducing the AS2® supersonic business jet (SBJ), the first civil supersonic aircraft to take to the skies since the Concorde’s final flight 17 years ago.
Although the AS2® will transport passengers between cities at more than 1,000 mph, we know that just being the fastest form of available travel is no longer enough. The discerning traveler also wants to reach their destination with minimal impact on the environment and the quality of life of those around them. Luckily, the AS2® is as environmentally conscious as it is fast.
As our culture becomes ever greener, travelers are thinking more and more about environmentally friendly transportation. But for many jets in the marketplace, this simply isn’t an option. The result is widespread mockery of environmentalism, evidenced by the Davos climate summit, the world’s largest gathering of private planes with more than 1,500 aircraft in attendance.
Is this the best we can do? Aerion isn’t so sure. Instead, we believe consumers needn’t have to choose between speed and luxury or being environmentally conscious. To this end, we are delivering on all three concerns in the form of the AS2, an SBJ disrupting the status quo.
And yet, the first thing many people think of when someone mentions supersonic flight is the sonic boom. The U.S. government tested Americans’ tolerance for sonic booms in Oklahoma City in the 1960s. Although many agreed they could live with the noise, the trials wreaked so much damage and bad PR they ultimately scuttled a generation’s worth of research into supersonic travel.
Without a doubt, sonic booms leave an indelible impact on the environment and the people on the ground. This is due not only to potential damage from the boom itself, but also via noise pollution. The AS2, on the other hand, completely sidesteps this problem with Aerion’s “Boomless Cruise™” technology, designed to enable the plane to reach supersonic speeds without those on the ground paying the price. When utilizing the Boomless Cruise™ capability, the AS2® will exceed the speed of sound without a sonic boom striking the ground.
Accordingly, Aerion designed the AS2® to be the most environmentally friendly SBJ in the world. And yet an airplane can only be as friendly to the planet as its engines. This is why the AS2’s “green speed” is driven by the GE Affinity supersonic engine. The AS2® achieves breathtaking acceleration without the use of afterburners. (Side note: The Concorde was famous for its engine’s afterburners, which consumed fuel at an astonishing rate.)
By cutting out this technology of yesterday, Aerion has dramatically improved the environmental impact of every AS2® flight. Nonetheless, every engine still requires fuel. That’s why Aerion crafted its SBJ with the ability to accept 100% biofuels, instead of going halfway to green with blended fuels. Our engines and fuel systems will ensure your flight is luxurious and amazingly quick, but without harming the environment we care so deeply about.
We have also agreed to offset all of our customer’s carbon emissions, regardless of the type of fuel they use for their flights. This commitment, along with the AS2’s ability to utilize 100% synthetic fuels, creates the opportunity for operations of the AS2® to be carbon negative. No other manufacturer can make that commitment. We already have.
Even so, the entire Aerion team is not merely content with establishing new standards for the aircraft industry. For years, we have set out to reimagine our industry’s ideas of what’s even possible.
These may sound like bold claims, but our unprecedented times require far more than mere business as usual. As a result, Aerion Supersonic is on a mission to bring supersonic flight back to the globe. To this end, the AS2® SBJ enables unbelievable speed to afford you more time to do what you care most about in life. Even better, high speed, coupled with true luxury, won’t come at a cost to our environment. Not when you are flying on Aerion, the first aircraft manufacturer to commit to carbon neutrality throughout its operations.