This past Saturday I visited an Earth Day celebration. I shall skip commenting on the disposable cups and electrified bands. More importantly, that afternoon I read about Boeing’s new Dreamliner plane, which exemplifies why even better Earth days are to come. A March 24 Oregonian editorial notes the plane is “literally the dream of every airline because it will fly nonstop up to 8,500 miles using 20 percent less fuel than today’s aircraft of similar size.”
According to a Boeing media release, the company expects “advances in engine technology will contribute as much as 8 percent of the increased efficiency of the new airplane, representing a nearly two-generation jump in technology for the middle of the market.”
Yesterday The Independent’s Danny Fortson wrote, the 787 will be able to fly nearly one-third way round the world nonstop because it “is the first to be made mostly of light-weight carbon fibre instead of aluminium, the primary component of every commercial airliner since the 1950s.” Boeing’s media release highlights, “by manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section, we are eliminating 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners.” Less weight, less fuel consumption, fewer emissions, among other benefits.
The environmental gains through Dreamliner material and engine innovations will be magnified as they are transferred to the automobile industry, home appliance sector and so forth. Of course, such innovations are occurring all year-long, they just don’t get trumpeted like tie-dyed shirts and composting do at Earth Day celebrations. All the same, here’s to a better tomorrow.