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Electrification of Aircraft: Challenges, Barriers, and Potential Impacts

COURSE NO: R01-013
Electrification of Aircraft: Challenges, Barriers, and Potential Impacts
Course Highlights

This engineering online PDH course presents an overview of the current state and potential future development of aviation electrification.


Aircraft accounted for an estimated 9% of U.S. transportation energy consumption in 2019 (Davis and Boundy 2020). Though this portion is fairly small, in 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that air would be the only transportation mode expected to see sustained growth in energy demand, increasing this percentage to 14% by 2050, which represents annual growth of about 1.1%.


Current carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from commercial aviation are estimated to be 186 million metric tons (MMmt) CO2e, and CO2 emissions are projected to grow to 209 MMmt CO2e in 2050. The aviation sector is considered difficult to decarbonize, and the primary alternative fuels are sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which are primarily fuels derived from biomass sources. DOE goals for biofuels with a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas over petroleum-derived fuels (DOE 2016) suggest SAF could potentially reduce 2050 CO2e by 105 MMmt CO2e per year.


Electric aircraft are expected to increase operational efficiency and reduce emissions and noise. To illustrate the emerging current and future challenges of e-aircraft, a case study is considered of the potential use of small electric aircraft for short flights between small regional airports and a hub airport.


The 1 PDH online course is intended for mechanical, airport, transportation, and electrical engineers who are interested in learning about aircraft and airport design.
Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Familiarizing with the advantages of electric aircraft in reducing noise and emissions
  • Learning about aircraft market potential and electrified aviation industry development
  • Recognizing the importance of application to currently underserved markets
  • Determining operational requirements about charging infrastructure, grid integration, and regulatory requirements
  • Understanding the range of e-aircraft availability, including small-scale and hybrid technologies
Course Document
In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the course document titled, “Electrification of Aircraft: Challenges, Barriers, and Potential Impacts,” NREL/TP-6A20-80220, by Amy Schwab, Anna Thomas, Jesse Bennett, Emma Robertson, and Scott Cary, October 2021.
To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of ten (10) questions to earn 1 PDH credit.
The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you will be able to print it after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email it to you. Please note that you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: