Sustainable Aviation: The Route to Climate-Neutral Aviation (edX)

Sustainable Aviation: The Route to Climate-Neutral Aviation (edX)
Course Auditing

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Sustainable Aviation: The Route to Climate-Neutral Aviation (edX)
To reduce the environmental footprint of the aviation sector we need to start a clean sky revolution. Discover the latest developments in this field – from airplane design, energy carriers, operations – and learn how you can play a role. Sustainable aviation is a key area for climate action. In this course, we will introduce you to various aircraft technologies, and recent innovations and promising future developments in the field of aviation. All necessary mathematical and engineering concepts will explained.

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We will start from the basics of how aircraft fly and how they impact the environment. You will gain present-day knowledge of technical solutions and possibilities of modern engineering to make aviation more sustainable.

Next, we will discuss solutions. you will learn about alternative propulsion methods, energy carriers (batteries, fuel cells) and novel aircraft designs (including the Flying V project at TU Delft, a new design for a highly energy-efficient and long-distance commercial aircraft.) We will also bust some common myths about the topics along the way, like why it is a very unpractical thought to simply cover up the entire aircraft with solar cells.

But the solutions presented will not cover just the technical aspects. You will discover the importance of the ecosystem surrounding aviation for its sustainability: manufacturing, operations, and the role of the individual in our airborne society. The course will stimulate critical and creative thought about the future of aviation and how you can be part of those solutions.

With its long history of research of aircraft design, operations and climate effects, the world-class experts from the The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft will guide you through this journey to sustainable aviation. The course will also include guest lectures from industry professionals from leading aviation companies such as Airbus.

“We need climate-neutral aviation. The challenges are enormous, but solutions must and will be found. Through this MOOC we want to share what we know, so that all of you can be part of this ‘clean sky revolution’.” – Henri Werij, Dean Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft

What you'll learn

After completing this course, you will be able to:

- Recognize how the fundamentals of commercial air transport operations and the life cycle of aircraft impact the environment.

- Explain the inherent challenges in making aviation sustainable, and how these challenges stem from the principles of flight, propulsion, production and operation (there are no easy solutions!)

- Present the current technological possibilities for making aviation more sustainable, how these possibilities can be implemented, and what their limitations are.

- Discuss solutions for reducing the environmental impact of aviation on both the personal and the larger scale.


Week 0: Welcome

In the Welcome section of this course we will explain how the course is set up, how the EdX platform works and we will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself and find out who else is following this course.

Week 1: Aviation and Climate Change

In the first week of the MOOC, we will kick things off by taking a birds-eye look at aviation and climate change.

How do aircraft impact the environment

Current situation

Week 2: How do Aircraft Fly?

To understand how we can decrease aviation’s impact on the environment, you will first learn exactly how an aircraft is able to fly.

The physics of flight: Lift and weight, thrust and drag

Aircraft performance

How to propel an aircraft

Week 3: Propulsion and Energy Carriers

In this week, we will take a more detailed look at the elements of a propulsion system and the energy sources that drive them.

Elements of propulsion systems

Engine efficiency

Aircraft energy carriers: options and limitations

Sustainable aviation fuels

Week 4: Production and End of Life

Of course, there is more to an aircraft than flying it. In week 4 of the MOOC, we will discuss the lifecycle of the aircraft.

Lifecycle Assessment

Production of aircraft

During lifetime

Aircraft end of life

Week 5: Novel Aircraft Design and Climate Effects

As we near the end of the MOOC, there are two topics we want to touch upon in more detail: firstly, concepts for the aircraft of the future, and secondly, the actual impact of aircraft on climate.

Novel aircraft designs

Aircraft emissions and their effect on the atmosphere

Aircraft noise

Week 6: Operations and Conclusion

Lastly, we will consider aircraft and airline operations.

Airline planning

Air traffic management

Airport operations

Week 7: Conclusion and Final Assignment

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