Trinity College Dublin will begin researching sustainable aviation fuels and zero-carbon flying with the aid of €1.5 million from Ryanair.
It was announced Thursday by Ryanair, as it pledged to source 12.5 per cent of its flights using sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.
The airline and Trinity University announced that the Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre would research sustainable aviation fuels, zero-carbon aircraft propulsion and noise mapping.
Trinity will receive €1.5 million in funding from Ryanair to hire six researchers for the centre. They will begin their work this summer.
The research will be led by Associate Professor Stephen Dooley and Professor Stephen Spence.
Prof Dooley explained that the project’s focus would be on developing the safety and technical qualities of sustainable fuels.
“The authorities are very conservative about what they certify – it takes several years for these fuels to get approved,” he explained.
He explained that Ryanair’s investment would enable him to continue doing the kind of work he has been doing for several years on a small scale and develop partnerships with European and US peers in the same field.
Thomas Fowler, Ryanair’s director of sustainability, said the airline and Trinity hoped the work would influence EU and international government policies.
According to him, individual countries have set their own sustainability targets for aviation fuel. An international approach is required if aviation is to play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Aviation fuel emits 89 grams of carbon dioxide per unit of energy. Emissions from sustainable fuels range from five grams to 65 grams, according to Prof Dooley.
By 2030, Ryanair intends to power one in eight of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel.
Mr Fowler explained that this would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions along with the airline’s fleet purchase of new Boeing 737 Max jets.
Mr Fowler describes the initiative as highly exciting.
“This partnership with Trinity College Dublin seeks to inform and improve future investment by the aviation industry to secure a carbon-neutral future for aviation and noise reduction through investment in new technologies,”
The provost of Trinity, Patrick Prendergast, said that Trinity’s researchers aim to “address important questions, including whether to reduce emissions with sustainable aviation fuels, electrical propulsion, and noise reduction”.