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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(9), 3777-3795; doi:10.3390/ijerph8093777

Analysis of Technological Innovation and Environmental Performance Improvement in Aviation Sector

1 Graduate School of Innovation and Technology Management & Cho Chun Shik Graduate School for Green Transportation, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 305-701, Korea 2 Department of Information and Industrial Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 December 2010 / Revised: 17 August 2011 / Accepted: 6 September 2011 / Published: 22 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Transportation)
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The past oil crises have caused dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency in all industrial sectors. The aviation sector—aircraft manufacturers and airlines—has also made significant efforts to improve the fuel efficiency through more advanced jet engines, high-lift wing designs, and lighter airframe materials. However, the innovations in energy-saving aircraft technologies do not coincide with the oil crisis periods. The largest improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency took place in the 1960s while the high oil prices in the 1970s and on did not induce manufacturers or airlines to achieve a faster rate of innovation. In this paper, we employ a historical analysis to examine the socio-economic reasons behind the relatively slow technological innovation in aircraft fuel efficiency over the last 40 years. Based on the industry and passenger behaviors studied and prospects for alternative fuel options, this paper offers insights for the aviation sector to shift toward more sustainable technological options in the medium term. Second-generation biofuels could be the feasible option with a meaningful reduction in aviation’s lifecycle environmental impact if they can achieve sufficient economies of scale.
Keywords: aviation energy use; environmental innovation; alternative fuels; biofuels aviation energy use; environmental innovation; alternative fuels; biofuels
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lee, J.; Mo, J. Analysis of Technological Innovation and Environmental Performance Improvement in Aviation Sector. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 3777-3795.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert