When we finally kiss goodbye to fossil fuels, I'd be willing to bet that aviation will be one of the last transpiration sectors to make the transition. From the energy needed to get off the ground to the sheer amount of fuel/stored energy needed to travel long distance, there are just too many barriers that don't exist for ground transportation.
That said, interesting things are happening in aviation too. UK-based Electroflight is aiming to build the world's first high performance, battery powered, electric aircraft. Initially, the application will be for airplane racing, but eventually the makers hope that it will serve as a catalyst for innovation across the aviation industry.
I confess, I don't know a lot about airplanes, so I'm just going to go ahead and paste some of the specs from Electroflight's website:
—Take-off weight including 75kg pilot of 420kgs
—Thrust (full power) 500kgs
—Maximum level speed 250kts, stall speed 60kts
—Twin 'engine' safety
—Rate of Climb (vertical) 9,000ft/min
—Airframe loading (piloted) +/-10G
—Airframe loading (UAV) +/-15G
—Ceiling (pilot on oxygen) 25,000ft, (UAV) 100,000ft
—Maximised pilot safety with aircraft parachute and crash cell
It all sounds very impressive to this particular luddite. Check out Robert Llewellyn's recent visit to the Electroflight headquarters for more details.