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How Boom Supersonic Plans To Introduce Sustainable Supersonic Travel

SimpleFlying 10/1/2022 Sumit Singh
© Provided by SimpleFlying

This summer, American Airlines became the second US carrier to place an order for Boom Supersonic's Overture. The operator followed United Airlines' 50-unit-deal with an order of 60. While there are clear speed benefits to be had with the supersonic airliner, Boom is intent on ushering in an age of sustainable high-speed travel.

Plenty to consider

The Mach 1.7 Overture is being touted to serve up to 88 passengers to a range of 4,250 NM (7,870 km). The initial takeoff is expected to take place in 2026, and commercial introduction is set to occur before the decade is over.

Along with the velocity focus, those behind the program are working intently on environmental and social factors. For instance, Boom Supersonic is designing Overture to mitigate community noise impacts. Moreover, the aircraft will only fly supersonic over water to avoid sonic booms over land. On a more ambitious scale, the company is concentrating on achieving net zero carbon by 2025 and net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040.

The company highlights that a commitment to speed, safety, and sustainability has been at the core of its philosophy since its founding in 2014. The firm has carbon neutrality through reduction initiatives and high-quality carbon credits in 2021.

Boom Overture is set to be backed by four dry 15,000–20,000 lbf turbofans. Photo: Boom Supersonic

The three steps

Ben Murphy, VP of Sustainability at Boom Supersonic, recently told Simple Flying that his company’s road to net zero carbon is defined by three essential steps: regularly measure, reduce, and offset residual emissions.

  • Measure: Boom accounts for the emissions of its entire value chain, partnering with Watershed for carbon emissions accounting and climate strategy in order to ensure compliance with the GHG Protocol.
  • Reduce: The company shares that it evaluates and executes on opportunities to drive reductions in carbon. In 2021, Boom joined the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA), a buyer-led collaboration spearheaded by RMI and the Environmental Defense Fund to accelerate the path to net zero aviation by driving investment in and adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), ensuring that best practices for recycling and reuse are integrated in Overture's design from an early stage.
  • Offset: Boom expresses that it invests in a broad portfolio of high-impact, high-quality carbon offset and removal solutions for residual emissions that cannot be mitigated. Recently, Boom signed a 10-year agreement with Climeworks to remove CO2 emissions through direct air capture and storage.
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SAF is key

Last week, it was announced that Boom Supersonic joined JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic in the initiative to purchase millions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from carbon dioxide (CO2). Boom itself will acquire five million gallons per year through the enterprise's flight test program.

Overall, SAF is a core feature of the sustainability initiative. As Murphy concludes:

“The SAF industry displays all hallmarks of the early-stage exponential growth patterns observed in other renewable energy industries. Industry, governments, and researchers have already taken impactful initial steps to support the growth of the industry – investments into pilot SAF facilities; government incentives such as the recent U.S. SAF Blenders Tax Credit; the establishment of R&D programs like the SAF Grand Challenge and ReFuelEU initiative; and SAF purchase agreements from end users. Based on the track record of exponential growth in other renewable energy sectors, there is ample evidence to conclude that SAF production can rapidly scale to meet global aviation needs in the timeframe necessary, as long as targeted industry and government actions are taken now.”

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Environmental challenges were a primary contributor to the issues surrounding the Concord program. Another hurdle is the high costs. As a result, Boom has emphasized that its tickets will be 75% cheaper than the Anglo-French veteran. All in all, Boom is taking on industry stress points from all angles with its holistic approach to sustainability.

What are your thoughts about the Boom Supersonic program? What do you make of the firm’s sustainability initiatives? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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