Why do we need airships today?
The need to transport goods and people across the globe will always exist, and increase. Hans Rosling, a brilliant statistician, beautifully shows the multitude of benefits we have enjoyed through better access to transportation. But the transportation sector has a detrimental effect on our planet. This sector accounts for around 25% of the global impact. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels (+114 %), followed by international shipping (+33 %) and road transport (+22 %). Emissions must be decreased by around two thirds by 2050, compared with 1990 levels, in order to meet the long-term 60% greenhouse gas emission reduction target as set out in the 2011 Transport White Paper (EEA, 2019). The aviation industry has set ambitious goals to increase fuel efficiency and halve their CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to 2005. In their prognosis, half of this reduction is achieved through new-generation technologies, which are "yet to be developed". What follows is that aircraft manufacturers who introduce "quantum leap" technology are most successful (see, for instance, Darecki).
The issue of transportation and the environment is paradoxical in nature, since transportation conveys substantial socioeconomic benefits, but at the same time transportation is impacting environmental systems. Remote areas lack access to infrastructure. Research supports this increases the already large gap between the developed and developing world, holding back economic development, raising unemployment and promoting poor standard of living.
In other words: the planet needs transport, but it needs much, much better transport. And this is where hybrid airships come in.