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Emirates Partners With University Of Cambridge's Aviation Impact Accelerator To Fund Emission-Reducing Aviation Projects This partnership will mark the first investment from Emirates' US$200 million Sustainability Fund.

By Entrepreneur Middle East Staff Edited by Aby Thomas

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UAE-based aviation company Emirates has become an Industrial Partner of the Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA), an international group of experts in aerospace, economics, policy, and climate science, which is co-led by the University of Cambridge's Whittle Laboratory and Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

This partnership will mark the first investment from Emirates' US$200 million Sustainability Fund, a research and development (R&D) fund announced in May 2023 that focuses on projects that reduce the impact of fossil fuels in commercial aviation.

The partnership between Emirates and AIA will thus seek to foster collaboration, provide evidence for a number of the AIA's climate impact tools, support their data modeling work advancements, as well as engage in future projects dedicated to cutting global aviation emissions. It will also enable Emirates to participate in workshops which not only explore various aspects of net-zero aviation, but are also designed to identify opportunities for accelerating action within this space.

"Emirates is proud to support the Aviation Impact Accelerator as the first project under our Sustainability Fund," said Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates. "As an industrial partner, we have a unique opportunity to play an active role in constructively sharing our knowledge and insights, broadening the AIA's reach across geographies, and supporting the development of tools that address a spectrum of new aviation technologies, and their critical gaps if implemented in the future. The work being undertaken by the Aviation Impact Accelerator provides the potential blueprint for the changes and solutions underway to reduce the long-term climate impact of commercial aviation."

On his part, Professor Rob Miller FREng, Director of the Whittle Laboratory, University of Cambridge and AIA Lead noted the importance of having Emirates support the AIA's mission to accelerate towards net-zero aviation. "Airlines will play a crucial role in the sector's transition, and we are delighted that Emirates is demonstrating this leadership," he said. "We believe that the Sustainability Fund will be pivotal in unlocking actions in the sector."

With this strategic move, Emirates joins Boeing, Rolls-Royce, The Royal Air Force, IATA, 4Air, and Flexjet as industrial partners of the AIA. The AIA is thus set to leverage its multi-disciplinary expertise to continue developing evidence-based systems, modeling capability, visualizations, and specialized tools to support policy makers, the aviation industry as well as the general public with insights necessary to understand and accelerate pathways towards sustainable aviation.

Through the partnerships between both entities, Emirates will now explore potential collaborations on a number of tools being developed at the AIA, including the Resource to Climate Comparison Evaluator (RECCE) tool, which allows users to compare the carbon dioxide (CO2) and the non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation, the industry's resource requirements and the costs, and also provides a detailed breakdown of where the uncertainties lie in a given system. RECCE also allows the user to understand the impact of the rate of decarbonisation of neighboring sectors, such as the power grid or heating, on aviation.

There is also the Journey Impact Simulator Tool (JIST), which is still under development, that allows users to explore the different ways they might fly in the future, in a bid to help them understand the pathways to net zero aviation. While using JIST, future fuel, propulsion technology potential and flight operations settings can also be adjusted in order to compare the climate impact. Meanwhile, the Climate Response to Aviation Future Scenarios Tool (CRAFT) allows users to analyze future scenarios, and explore how they might use combinations of technologies, fuels, and changes to operations to achieve net zero aviation. The tool is especially powerful for real-time exploration of scenarios in interactive policy workshops, allowing leaders in government and industry to chart their way through the complexities of the aviation sector.

Related: Redefining Business In The Modern Era: The B Corp Movement And The Quest For Authentic Sustainability
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