An airship is an aircraft that’s self-propelled and fuel-efficient. It also happens to be a form of transportation that’s environmentally-friendly and a lot cheaper to operate than other options. Given the many benefits, it’s possible that green airships are the cargo transportation of the future.
An Historical Perspective
Innovation is constantly presenting opportunities for efficiency and cost savings. It seems like every time you turn around, a new technology hits the market or there’s an old idea that has been refreshed to meet the needs of consumers. When it comes to transportation, one need is to advance green initiatives.
Depending on your age, you may or may not know that airships are an old concept that were used in the past for passenger and cargo transportation. These days, they’re used in a limited capacity and that does not include passenger transportation. An airship is simply a ‘blimp’ that you’ve probably seen used for advertising. However, there is a growing interest in expanding the use of airships.
There are rising opportunities to use green airships for the purpose of cargo transportation. Some forms of cargo transportation have exceptionally high emissions and there are airships with a significantly lower carbon discharge. There has even been the development of an airship in the UK that’s solar-powered. Remarkably, this airship only uses about 8% of the fuel used for jet aircraft.
Future of Airships
Based on recent developments, it’s likely that green airships of the future will be used for transporting cargo. Modern airships have an aluminum frame and some have solar-powered engines. What’s interesting about airships is that they require jetstream, which is how they’re propelled. This is the reason why carbon emissions are so low for airships and why they’re such a viable option for supporting green initiatives.
One of the reasons why the use of airships for transportation ceased was because of accidents caused by the use of hydrogen. There was a devastating crash where an airship went up in flames because of the hydrogen that was used back then. Airships of today will use helium gas, which is a much safer option. One of the many benefits associated with using airships is that they don’t require a complex infrastructure to land. This means deliveries to rural locations that can often be problematic will no longer be an issue.
An obstacle to using solar-powered green airships is the fact that they must travel during the daytime. Another issue is that the speed capacity for this type of aircraft is significantly lower than other options. In fact, the maximum speed is 70 MPH.
Are They Affordable?
We know that airships are great for the environment, but are they cost-effective? Fortunately, there are in fact affordable ways to produce airships. It’s also incredibly affordable to maintain them, especially given that the cost can be 85% cheaper than other options. One of the reasons why they’re affordable is because the take off and landing processes are far less expensive than an aircraft that requires use of a runway.
As the world continues to grapple with climate issues, there will be ongoing efforts to find ways to lower emissions in aviation. As there are further developments in green airships, this option will likely become more viable for enterprises endeavoring to reduce emissions and lower costs. Notably, there are developments in progress aimed at reducing emissions for other types of aircraft. However, it’s unlikely that the cost of cargo transportation for a jet would ever come close to the low cost of using a green airship.
Notably, there are some places in the world where cargo airships are already being used on a limited basis. For instance, a company in France currently uses green airships and they started in an effort to deliver cargo to areas that are remote. They anticipate being able to produce a fleet of airships that run on helium gas within the next several years.
Given the rate of speed in which innovation has occurred around the world over the past decade, there is little doubt that the use of green airships will become a more sought after option.