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Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Engineering

1. Introduction to Carbon Footprint Scenarios

1.1. Background

Aircraft manufacturing industry is one of the oldest industries which dates to 1903 when Wright brothers did a detailed research to develop an excellent and innovative mode of transport. Since then, lot of innovative and new technologies has been developed to manufacture aircrafts of different capacities and styles. The fabrication and assembly are the two main processes employed in any aircraft manufacturing industry. Various raw material are utilized and fabricated into detailed parts which are later assembled based on structural configurations. Basically, detailed parts are assembled to make simple panels which are later combined to make super panels and greater level assemblies to produce components like wings, fuselage and finally the aircraft. Nowadays, efficient production of aircrafts by changing the integral design and using innovative techniques has been the focus (Branko sarh, 2009).

The aircraft manufacturing industry is striving hard to include various sustainability techniques in order to overcome the pollution caused during the production phase of an aircraft. One of the strategies is that the usage of recycled raw materials during the production phase which are compatible with the environment derived from renewable sources and produced by national suppliers. The other solution is to improve the manufacturing process in order to producer less scraps and residues (Santos,2016). The usage of biopolymers composites reinforced with natural fibers to produce different panels of an aircraft was found to be the promising solution to reduce the pollution. Apart from this, improving engine performance and combustion efficiency has reduced green house gas emission and fuel consumption. The usage of biofuel in place of aviation fuel has in fact reduced the pollution to greater extent. Also, advanced composite materials and alloys has been introduced in order to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft and to achieve green aviation. (Zuo-Ming Lin, 2013).

1.2 Aim

The main aim is to perform the triple bottom analysis of the sector 2304, aircraft manufacturing of the Australian economy and to compare it with triple bottom line analysis of Australian household.

2. Methods and Data

2.1 Input output analysis data and model:

The input output analysis is useful for economic analysis of a country or region. They can be used as the powerful tool to provide valuable information about industrial structure of economy. The data used in this paper is extracted from Australian Bureau of statistics (ABS) 2017 Australian national accounts. 114 different sectors have been considered within the Australian economy and 26 broad sectors were also considered for rest of world. (ROW). Mainly, three parameters such as Greenhouse gas emissions, wages and salaries and the number of persons employed were considered to determine the environmental input- output analysis.

As a whole, input output analysis table helps to determine environment and economic input output framework, analysis of composition of exports and foreign value-added levels in national exports. (Paul, 2013).

2.2 Calculations using Input- output table:

  • Initially, it is essential to verify whether there is equilibrium between total supply and total demand for each sector. The total input and total output for each sector is calculated by adding the rows of input- output table.
  • Secondly, Fj or the Direct intensity matrix is calculated for all the three extensions like Greenhouse gas emissions, persons employed and wages and salaries. The formula used to calculate Direct intensity matrix (DIM) is
  • Leontief Inverse Matrix (L) is determined using the formula

After calculating Direct intensity multipliers and Leontief Inverse matrix, Total intensity matrix can be calculated by fj and L.

Finally, the various footprints can be calculated by multiplying Total intensity matrix with the final demand of each vector.

4. Discussion on Carbon Footprint Scenarios

A major contributor to greenhouse gas emission is aviation industry. The annual carbon footprint for Australian aviation between 1990 and 2010 is shown in figure 1. Figure 1 shows that the footprints of Australian aviation has increased from 3 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes between 1990 and 2010. The growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions for aviation sector is 4% per annum for Australian aviation sector which is consistent with global aviation sector in which the growth rate for carbon dioxide emissions is 3% per annum.

The commercial aviation emissions of Australia is shown in figure 2. The carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 is lower than carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 because of COVID-19. The global air transport in 2020 is reduced due to COVID-19.

The Australia-jet fuel consumption is shown in figure 3. It is seen that jet fuel consumption is 40 barrels/day in 1980 and it is increased to 163 barrels per day in 2019. As the fuel consumption is increasing day by day, it will to generation of more greenhouse gas emissions.


A lot of greenhouse gases are generated by Australian household. The greenhouse gases are generated from various activities of households such as cooling, heating, transport, wastes and appliances as shown in figure 4.

An Australian household at least 1/5th of Australian greenhouse gases which implies that 15 tonnes/household per year is generated by each household. The amount annual of greenhouse gas emissions generated by each household can vary (3 tonnnes to 30 tonnes) depending on the style of living,

The emission savings of households for different countries including Australia is shown in figure 5

Australia has been contributing towards global efficiency fuel improvement and trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation as well as from domestic aviation. Various measures are being implemented by Australian aviation sector to get better the Australian aviation system. These measures are discussed as follows.

The Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Scheme is an international scheme that is designed to evaluate the efforts of airport participating regarding minimization in greenhouse gas emissions. In the past few years, Sydney, Parafield, Gold Coast, Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sunshine Coasts airports have gotten their certificate from Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Scheme as shown in table 1

Table 1: Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Scheme status of Australian Airports


Current Status

Gold Coast Airport


Adelaide Airport


Hobart Airport


Brisbane Airport


Parafield Airport


Sunshine Coast Airport


Sydney Airport


In 2016, Adelaide Airport installed rooftop solar power system. The capacity of this solar power system was 1.28 MW and this solar power system has been contributing to 10% of annual energy requirements of the Airport.

In August 2016, Darwin Airport installed 4 MW solar array (cost is approximately $13 million) and this array has been sharing 2/3 peak load of Airport per year. At present, it is the largest investment of private sector in Australia. It is believed that the power bills of the airport will be reduced by $1.5 billion/annum.

In 2015, the Virgin Australia Group (Virgin Australia) tried to lessen the operating aircraft in Australia for the purpose of fuel savings. With the continued efforts of this group led to delivery of the Virgin Australia’s 737-800 Max aircraft in 2019. It is an efficient aircraft and the fuel efficiency of this aircraft lies between 14 and 22 per cent depending on the operation of flight pattern and network.

The first Australian Airport to get advantages of investing in solar power is Alice Springs Airport. Alice Springs Airport invested in solar photovoltaic technology and integrated it with internal electricity grid. This airport fulfills 85% of its energy needs through solar installation. This installation covers steel parking structures which will provide shade to cars.

Canberra Airport’s new terminal is included in the list of the most carbon friendly buildings in Australia. This building saves water and energy. Two tri-generation plants are installed in this building which generate electricity from natural gas. The waste heat produced is used for heating of building in winter. Hot water for domestic use is also generated by waste heat.

The Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) was set-up in February 2008. The purpose of its setup was to help the aircraft industry to save fuel and money through management of air traffic and technological innovation. ASPIRE is a collaboration between Airservices Australia, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States of America, Airways New Zealand, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Limited.

In March 2011, Airservices Australia, Airports Authority of India, and Air Traffic and Navigation Services of South Africa established the Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE) in order to improve the sustainability and efficiency in aviation sector across the Indian Ocean region and Arabian Sea.

5. Conclusion on Carbon Footprint Scenarios

The energy consumption by Australia is rising continuously. Most of the Australians are taking energy for granted as the price of electricity and gas in Australia is lower as compared to developed countries. Australians should change their attitudes toward energy consumption. Australians can reduce carbon footprints in these ways: switching over to renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro and wind power, reduction in luxurious appliances such as dishwashers, and construction of energy efficient homes (for example windows should be open during daytime in winter to let sunshine for warming, it will reduce the use of heaters).

A major contributor to greenhouse gas emission is aviation industry. Australia has been contributing towards global efficiency fuel improvement and trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation as well as from domestic aviation. Various measures are being implemented by Australian aviation sector to get better the Australian aviation system. These measures include installation of solar panels on various rooftops of airports, the Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) setup, Indian Ocean Strategic Partnership to Reduce Emissions (INSPIRE) setup, efforts of Virgin Australia Group etc.

6. References for Carbon Footprint Scenarios

Chen, G., Wiedmann, T., Hadjikakou, M. and Rowley, H. (2016) City Carbon Footprint Networks. Energies, 9(8), 602.

Hoekstra, A. Y. and Wiedmann, T. O. (2014) Humanity’s unsustainable environmental footprint. Science, 344(6188), 1114-1117.

Wiedmann, T. O., Schandl, H., Lenzen, M., Moran, D., Suh, S., West, J. and Kanemoto, K. (2015) The material footprint of nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(20), 6271-6276.

Wolfram, P., Wiedmann, T. and Diesendorf, M. (2016) Carbon footprint scenarios for renewable electricity in Australia. Journal of Cleaner Production, 124, 236-245.

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