When it comes to powering airplanes in the future, there are some intriguing options being developed. In this video clip from "The High Energy Show" on Motley Fool Live, recorded on April 5, Fool.com contributors Travis Hoium, Lou Whiteman, Jason Hall, and Tyler Crowe discuss two fuel sources that could become more widely used and change aviation in the next 10 years.
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Travis Hoium: Do you think that we will go from fueling a plane with jet fuel to fueling it with hydrogen in our lifetimes? Maybe that hydrogen could come from solar panels or whatever so it would transition things to the electric power with hydrogen as the medium in-between.
Lou Whiteman: As you know, hydrogen isn't always a green choice. But I can tell you is Airbus wants to get there, Airbus (EADSY -1.14%) thinks they can be there middle of the next decade. There's a lot of storage advantage. Everything I said about batteries is almost the inverse of hydrogen as far as adding weight versus thrust.
There's a lot of reasons to like it. There's some downsides with having large amounts of pressurized gases on these planes over the Atlantic. There's a lot to work out, but certainly, they hope we get there. I can tell you that on the top end, they, wrote off electric maybe a decade ago now.
Jason Hall: I know you're dying.
Tyler Crowe: I was just going to say as far as the aviation industry is concerned, I would put my money on renewable or drop-in renewable fuels. Like I said, we talked about the alternatives to the fossil fuel industry and everybody just immediately nowadays jumps to solar, wind, and battery electric.
But some of the things that we're doing now with renewable fuels, this isn't the days of ethanol in the early 2000s, these are renewable fuels that are built from agricultural waste products built from phytoplankton and algae. Some of the things that big oil companies are working on such that they are making chemically identical products to what you would get in your gas tank, in an aviation tank.
My bet is something like that is going to have a much better chance than some of these riskier options like filling a pressurized hydrogen tank and sending it 30,000 feet in the air.
Whiteman: To your point, and yeah, I think I agree with you and I think Boeing (BA 0.43%) definitely agrees with you. I mean, I was giving them a hard time. To your point, I think it was early December a United Airlines (UAL 0.70%) plane flew, it wasn't a long flight, I think it was Chicago to Washington, the first plane commercial service to fly with 100%, I think they called it sustainable aviation fuel, which is right now, look, it's a blend. It's 80% Jet A, but we are definitely further along in that process than we are on any of the other things we've talked about.