Turbo Expo 2023: How Can Industry Meet Net-Zero Goals, Keynote Address

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The 68th ASME Turbo Expo 2023 kicked off this morning with the keynote address, Pathways to Net-Zero Carbon Emission.

The 68th American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbo Expo 2023 Technical Conference and Exposition, held June 26 – 30 in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center, kicked off this morning. This year’s five-day meeting is hosting 2,598 attendees with an agenda that includes more than 900 technical presentations, 23 panel sessions, 48 tutorials, and 119 exhibitors.

This year’s theme is sustainability. “Sustainability is essential to the future of engineering,” said Thomas Costabile, P.E., Executive Director and CEO of ASME.

The keynote address, Pathways to Net-Zero Carbon Emission, examined innovations and pathways to net-zero 2050, with a focus on sustainability, reliability, and affordability.

Mark Cousin, Chief Technology Officer at Universal Hydrogen, addressed the role of hydrogen in aviation. “Hydrogen is one solution to the climate crisis, but it isn’t the solution to everything,” he said.

Interestingly, commercial aviation has one of the worst emissions problems. As such, there is increased pressure on airlines and OEMs to decarbonize or curtail traffic volumes. So why hydrogen? In relation to kerosene, it is safe, clean, lightweight, and affordable. And why now? Because there is decarbonization pressure, government support (via the Inflation Reduction Act), growing supply, and a cost parity between hydrogen and jet fuel.


Universal Hydrogen’s solution in the aviation industry is a modular solution. Modular hydrogen distribution reduces infrastructure costs, eliminates transfer losses, and simplifies fueling. “Every time you transfer hydrogen from one vessel to another, you lose hydrogen,” Cousins said. “Or, you have to have a very complex recovery process. Our solution involves the use of modules that are filled at the point of production, and then distributed using the existing Dangerous Goods dry freight network and loaded onto aircraft like cargo.”

Anne E. White, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Research Administration at MIT, stressed the need for collaboration to reach 2050 net-zero goals. She said the MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium are strong models for the types of collaboration required. White said her research lab believes nuclear fusion could be among the transformative technologies to remake our energy systems.

And lastly, Flavio Leo, Director, Aviation Planning and Strategy for the Massachusetts Port Authority, said that infrastructure needs must be met while incorporating new energy requirements.