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Flying sharks

There was a news article recently about Swiss air starting to use a new innovative coating on their plane. The coating simulates the skin of a shark to reduce the air drag and hence reducing the fuel consumption.

This sounds cool and while the companies are sure doing it purely to cut costs it will also have a direct impact on the plane's carbon emissions. But how big of an impact?

According to the studies the "shark skin" reduces the fuel consumption by 1%. Doesn't sound much, and currently that's only from ten or so planes in the Swiss air's fleet. But putting it into perspective of a persons carbon emissions the numbers start to seem meaningful.

Average human in western "1st world" countries produce a bit over 1000 tonnes of CO² over their lifetime. An average passenger plane on the other hands produce about 62 000 tonnes, over a year! So that 1% equals roughly 60 persons lifetime carbon emissions every year.

This really shows how little we as a consumers can do to these matters (we still should) and how little it takes from companies to actually have a meaningful impact.