Reducing Aviation Emissions and Motivating Pilots
We are not just a carbon removal technology we reduce CO2 and every other substance that we emit while flying
Elena Escrivá de Romaní Pérez
My Thoughts on the Conversation
One of the things I love about my line of work is how many times a day I learn something new.
Speaking with Elena about her work at FuelVision was no different.
Like many pilots, the pandemic was a career changing event. Laid off by her employer, Elena decided to cross-train in software development and started building iOS apps. A while later, she met up with Søren Wistisen, a colleague from her previous role. He pitched the idea of minimising aviation emission through pilot training, with like that, they co-founded FuelVision together!
Power of Exhaust Data
I am often fascinated by how data generated for a specific purpose might have unintended value in another unforeseen application, and listening to Elena, this is what powers FuelVision - airline operational exhaust data.
During normal operations, aircraft generate vast amounts of data about the vehicle itself, its loads and of course its flight parameters. Most people are probably aware of on-board flight recorders, aka the blackbox, but this is only part of the story. Back down on the ground, data warehouses store voluminous amounts of data about the performance of individual components of the aircraft, flight behaviour, communications and much more.
This data already has many uses, and FuelVision takes it further.
FuelVision uses this flight data to help educate pilots to fly more efficiently, burn less fuel and generate fewer emissions. As Elena says in the interview, the beauty of this is that it is not just reducing CO2 emissions, but every other emission generated during flight, including water vapour.
Water vapour, in the form of con-trails has been demonstrated to generate other climate problems, see here for more on that.
It’s obvious … now.
During my career I have spent way too much time on flights. Very often these flights were between the same destinations, week after week after week. During these flights I learnt how to spot when the flight was deviating from the ‘normal’ flight path due. I could tell we were going to enter a hold pattern minutes before the announcement, and once I could tell the flight was in trouble before the pilot announced “would a senior member of cabin crew report to the flight deck immediately!!” - but that’s a good story for another day.
While I had appreciated that routes might vary from day to day for operational or weather reasons, I hadn’t appreciated the amount of personal variation the pilot is able to introduce into the flight through their personal style and habits.
It is exactly this that FuelVision is setting out to address.
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Bringing this down to earth, many of us will probably understand that you can adapt your driving style to be more or less economic. For example, you can increase driving economy by accelerating less aggressively, anticipate traffic, coast to decelerate, change up gears earlier etc.
But I wonder how many of us knew that pilots have a similar set of tips and tricks to use when flying? I didn’t.
FuelVision uses the flight data to share personalised insights about a flight with the pilots. It helps highlight areas for improvement, and through the use of gamification techniques, helps them improve their style to be more efficient.
Beyond the personalised data, FuelVision helps in other ways too.
FuelVision is able to leverage the enormous amount of data already sitting in the data warehouses to help provide optimisation insights based on historical route data across hundreds, if not more, flights.
This means pilots can learn not just from their own behaviour, but every other pilot’s too.
In a time where it is paradoxically both difficult to retain and to hire staff, keeping staff engaged and motivated at work is critical.
Elena told me that the app provides a new level of professional development that is engaging and rewarding for the pilot, therefore helping increase engagement and retention.
Beyond the pilot
The pandemic has led to overconsumption due to focus on "on time performance" from retail and big logistics companies.Elena Escrivá de Romaní Pérez
FuelVision have two product offerings, the app and a fuel hedging proposition called markets. Together, these two propositions can help both commercial and freight operators optimise fuel purchase, while also minimising consumption and emissions.
Find out more about FuelVision on their website here.
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