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The Future is Electric (Yes, Even Planes) – Michael Barnard

Charting the Path to Net Zero Emissions, One Electric Plane at a Time

Podcast Summary

If you want a roadmap for decarbonization, just ask Michael Barnard. As the Founder and Chief Strategist of consulting firm The Future is Electric, Michael helps his clients plan for a cleaner, more sustainable future. As a huge proponent of electric aviation, he also sits on the advisory board of forward-thinking aircraft company FLIMAX. 

In this episode, Michael lays out our collective path to net zero and explains how we will be flying greener in the near future:

  • Fittingly called The Future is Electric, Michael’s consulting firm focuses on how we can use electrification to decarbonize our world. Their work covers all key industries, including ground transportation, agriculture, heavy industry, marine shipping, aviation, and beyond. 
  • How do we achieve total decarbonization? According to Michael, step one is to build as much renewable energy capacity as possible. Step two is to electrify everything. What about places where we can’t use electricity? Michael insists on giving it a second look (or a third, or a fourth) — we can probably electrify it somehow!
  • There’s no denying it — decarbonization of aviation is hard. Michael has forecasted the industry’s path to zero emissions out to 2100. Right now, we’re working on making biofuels cheaper and more accessible. Next, we need to focus on electrification — first with small planes, then gradually larger. By 2060 or 2070, he says, we’ll be flying the first electric plane across the Pacific. After another 30 – 40 years, fossil fuel powered planes will be a thing of the past. 
  • As an advisory board member for FLIMAX, Michael is accelerating electrification of the aviation industry. FLIMAX is focused on aerial tourism (or “flightseeing”), an emerging market for affluent classes throughout the world. Their electric planes offer a quieter, more environmentally friendly ride than gas-powered alternatives. Plus, they can fly much lower than helicopters, giving customers a better view. Imagine flying over the Serengeti in one of these!

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