A policy-sensitive high-level model for comparison of emission and cost reduction options for aviation : techno-economic model for zero emission aviation in Norway
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- Master Thesis 
In Norway, aviation plays a central role in connecting the remote areas of the country with its cities, and is a fundamental means of transportation for the population to reach hospitals and educational institutions. Norway hosts half of the Nordic region’s twenty-five busiest airports and the routes from Oslo to Trondheim, Bergen, and Stavanger are amongst the ten busiest in Europe. Norway also presents the largest Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes network, with forty-four airports owned by the government through its airport operator, Avinor. These characteristics, together with many small regional routes, make Norway potentially very suitable for the first pilots of emission-reducing options for aviation. Furthermore, in the eyes of its airport operator Avinor, Norway’s geography makes its connected aviation network economically rational. With focus on Norway, this case-study evaluates the commercial feasibility of three aircraft identified to have near-term potential to reduce aviation emissions and costs – one hydrogen-electric, one hybrid-electric and one battery-electric aircraft – on three routes: Bergen-Stavanger, Trondheim-Bergen and Bodø-Leknes. In addition to presenting an emission and a cost model, the study proposes policy scenarios that aid in making emission reduction options more cost-competitive, and hence lead not only to reduced emissions but also to reduced costs. This study takes inspiration from a first 2020 University of California, Berkeley study on the potential for sustainable regional aviation (SRA) in California. The thesis also builds on a 2020 Western Norway University of Applied Sciences study of the potential of sustainable aviation in Norway on selected routes to be covered by aircraft with more emission-effective propulsion. The model shows that based on modelled number of passengers and the technical data from company dialogues with Berkeley contributors, the ZeroAvia renewably–powered hydrogen–electric 19-seater HyFlyer can be more cost-competitive than the hybrid, the battery-electric aircraft and the traditional aircraft currently in use on the selected three reference routes, with cost-competitiveness over 90 to 100% of the studied aircraft. The renewably–powered hydrogen–electric aircraft is more emission-effective than the battery-electric based on modelled number of passengers and assumptions of hydrogen production from electrolysis in 2025 and more emission-effective than the hybrid-electric aircraft with on-site or nearby electrolysis plant. Including hydrogen fuel cells in the Norwegian mandate for sustainable aviation fuels can (a) strongly facilitate technology and industry development in Norway and (b) make more emission-effective aircraft even more cost-competitive.