GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 25 SEPTEMBER 2015
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Industry and governments must do more to reduce the rapid growth in aviation emissions, finds study
Fri 25 Sep 2015 – Despite advances, there is a large untapped potential for fuel efficiency gains that would cut costs and reduce emissions in the aviation sector, finds an aviation and shipping study by the New Climate Economy, a flagship project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Saving fuel has major economic benefits as well as reducing emissions and the paper cites the example of American Airlines, which has invested $300 million in efficiency measures since 2005 while saving $1.5 billion in fuel costs. Aviation and shipping now produce 5% of global carbon emissions and by 2050 that share could rise to 32%, and this fast growth could undermine global efforts to keep warming under 2 degrees C, warn the authors. Progress within both the international civil aviation and shipping UN agencies ICAO and IMO needs to be dramatically accelerated, says the Global Commission.
The Washington DC-based economic think tank found political barriers are hindering that progress and calls for greater efforts to further reduce in-sector emissions by incentivising investments in energy efficiency and alternative fuels, and through ambitious industry standards.
“What we need now is strong leadership from ICAO and IMO, backed by major companies in each sector, to turn the talk into concrete action,” said the Global Commission’s Michael Jacobs.
The think tank recommends ICAO agrees at its next Assembly in 2016 to implement a global market-based measure (MBM) from 2020 that is ratcheted up over time in line with the global 2 degrees C pathway. The MBM should, it argues, include the potential to raise revenue that could be used to provide support for developing countries and for their climate action. However, it adds, offsetting as a means to meeting emission targets should only be seen as a partial, temporary measure, given the need to decarbonise the global economy over the long term.
It also calls for the agreement negotiated at the UNFCCC climate conference in Paris to clearly articulate the need for the international aviation and shipping sectors to set ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with the 2 degrees C pathway.
ICAO should also strengthen efforts to increase the stringency of its aircraft CO2 standard currently under discussion and ensure it covers all newly delivered aircraft when implemented, says the paper. This will require further efforts by industry, governments and other stakeholders to increase R&D in aircraft and engine design to reduce unnecessary fuel burn both on the ground and en route.
It also recommends governments and industry work together to advance sustainable biofuels to reach a commercial scale, while ensuring the delivery of real emission reductions and the use of stringent sustainability criteria. Finally, the Global Commission calls on governments to make strong efforts to provide alternative modes of transport where viable, such as high-speed rail, to reduce demand for air travel.
“Introducing international efficiency standards will ensure that aviation and shipping make their fair contribution in the fight against climate change,” said lead author of the paper Ipek Gencsu. “But even without the climate benefits, the economic case for taking action in these sectors is very powerful. It should not be delayed any longer.”
The Global Commission was established by seven countries – Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as an independent initiative to examine how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change. It is chaired by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and co-chaired by the economist Lord Nicholas Stern. The Commission comprises 28 leaders from 20 countries, including former heads of governments and finance ministers, heads of international organisations, leading business people, investors, city mayors and economists.
The New Climate Economy , ‘Raising ambition to reduce international aviation and maritime emissions’ paper (pdf)
Acceleration of fuel efficiency programme helps Qantas make up ground on environmental target
Thu 24 Sep 2015 – The fuel efficiency of the Qantas Group – which includes low-fares carrier Jetstar – has improved 5% overall since 2009, which is below the Group’s own target of an average 1.5% improvement per year. However, says the airline in its latest Annual Review, progress in better performance is expected with continued fleet renewal and ongoing fuel burn reduction initiatives. As part of the Qantas Transformation programme, the airline has accelerated an existing fuel efficiency and optimisation programme that helped reduce total carbon emissions by 2.1% during the Group’s 2014/15 financial year. The average age of the fleet has been reduced from 7.9 years in 2012/13 to a current 7.7 years, and from 2017 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will start to replace older 747s on international routes. Qantas believes that over the longer term, biofuels present the biggest opportunity to achieve major reductions in carbon emissions.
Qantas Group aviation fuel consumption in the last financial year was 4.63 billion litres, a 102,297 litre reduction from the previous year, despite a 0.4% increase in capacity (Available Seat Kilometres) and a 2.6% increase in demand (Revenue Passenger Kilometres). Carbon emissions reached 11.86 million tonnes, a 259,241 tonne reduction from 2013/14, with 98,350 tonnes of carbon saved through Group fuel efficiency initiatives.
Qantas and Jetstar were among the first airlines to introduce a voluntary carbon offsetting programme in 2009 and, in contrast to the experience of most airlines with similar schemes, has experienced a good take-up. Around 7% of customers are choosing to offset their emissions through the Fly Carbon Neutral programme, claims the Group. Qantas reports that as a result it made a contribution of A$1.2 million ($840,000) last year towards the purchase of verified carbon offsets. Projects supported include the North Kimberley fire abatement project in Western Australia, which generates Kyoto Australia Carbon Credit Units, and the April Salumei virgin native rainforest conservation project in Papua New Guinea.
In 2014/15, a new offsetting programme – the Qantas Future Planet Partnership – was launched for the Group’s major corporate customers.
Australia’s leading sustainable tourism operators are supported by allowing airline customers to use Qantas Points to book holidays with them.
On the ground, Qantas says it is on track to meet and exceed electricity, water and waste-to-landfill 2020 reduction targets for its facilities. In 2014/15, a start was made nationally to replace fluorescent tube lighting with energy efficient LED lights in airports, hangars, ramp areas, warehouses and flight simulators. This is expected to reduce annual energy consumption by more than 13 million kilowatt hours and save over A$2 million ($1.4m) per year on energy costs.
On World Environment Day in June, an improved onboard recycling programme was launched on Qantas domestic services so that all recyclable waste on Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft is now separated and recycled. This is due to be followed by other new waste and recycling initiatives over the 2015/16 period.
“Our latest Review highlights our new approach to sustainability and combines our financial, environmental, social and governance performance into a single and streamlined report, bringing to the forefront our willingness to identify opportunities and mitigate risks to ensure our business has a strong, sustainable future,” commented Alan Milne, Head of Group Fuel and Environment.
Qantas Annual Review 2015 – Environmental Leadership (pdf) , Qantas – Environment
Fuel efficiency and emissions reporting software company Aviaso acquired by Honeywell Aerospace
Thu 24 Sep 2015 – Fuel efficiency and emissions savings software products and services provider Aviaso has been acquired by global aerospace company Honeywell. The former privately held Switzerland-based company was founded in 2007, employs 40 people in Zurich and Sofia, Bulgaria, and has around 20 airline clients, mostly in Europe. Its products gather data on aircraft usage in order to identify and communicate ways airline customers can save fuel consumption through an intuitive software interface. The company also provides software for emissions reporting, as well as consulting for fuel efficiency and emissions management. Honeywell says the acquisition will strengthen its product portfolio as well as broadening its presence in Europe. Rival fuel efficiency software company ETS Aviation was acquired by Boeing last year and integrated within its Jeppesen UK subsidiary (see article).
“Aviaso brings new products to our broad aerospace services offerings, along with several opportunities for Honeywell to offer our airline customers a full suite of services that improve aircraft performance and safety,” said Carl Esposito, VP Marketing & Product Management at Honeywell Aerospace. “This acquisition strengthens Honeywell’s leadership in delivering energy-efficient solutions to our airline customers, and adds increasingly valuable fuel management services to our growing portfolio.”
Added Aviaso CEO Rudolf Christen: “Combining our technologies and experienced teams will result in new products that help airlines around the globe realise fuel-efficiency savings.”
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
The Aviaso software includes more than 100 ready-made analysis reports that allow an airline to understand its fuel consumption and identify potential fuel savings by monitoring fuel-saving initiatives for each and every flight. In addition, the software can provide comprehensive reporting to ensure full compliance with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
The latest customer to use Aviaso software is Lufthansa Cargo, the third airline in the Lufthansa Group to do so, which is implementing numerous fuel efficiency measures in the air and on the ground towards a target of lowering the specific fuel consumption of its freighter fleet by 26% by 2020 compared to 2006. Some of the areas the software will be used to quantify and monitor fuel and emission savings include aircraft weight reduction, optimised fleet planning, increased aircraft performance and identification of shortcut possibilities.
“We introduced several very useful cargo-specific extensions to our Fuel Efficiency tool in order to meet the requirements of Lufthansa Cargo,” said Christen. “For example, the analysis of weight distribution based on load positions and cargo compartments is now fully supported.”
Aviaso , Honeywell Aerospace
Industry, NGOs and governments to discuss global aviation environmental and climate issues at Geneva meeting
Thu 24 Sep 2015 – The aviation industry gathers next week in Geneva for the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit, hosted by the cross-sector Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). The conference will look ahead to the December UNFCCC climate negotiations in Paris and the impact the outcome might have in the lead up to the next ICAO Assembly in little over a year’s time, when countries are hoping to reach a global agreement on a market-based measure (MBM) to address international aviation emissions. It will also tackle a range of other environmental issues such as sustainable alternative aviation fuels, aircraft noise, new technologies and emerging environmental Issues. Keynote speakers include Solar Impulse CEO and pilot André Borschberg and Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council.
Other presentations will made by inter-governmental representatives from outside the aviation sector, with John Scanlon of CITES on the subject of air transport’s role in reducing the illegal trade in wildlife, Dr Margaret Harris of the World Health Organization on aviation’s humanitarian role and John Kilani of UNFCCC providing an update on the current state of the climate negotiations. NGOs will be represented in panel sessions by Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund and Tim Johnson of the Aviation Environment Federation.
The conference will look at industry goals out to 2050 and in a break from previous formats there will be technical breakout sessions focusing on aviation climate solutions, noise management, community engagement, environmental management and emerging environmental issues. Other panel sessions will discuss technology’s role in meeting the 2050 target of reducing emissions by 50%, including the part to be played by sustainable fuels; the industry’s carbon-neutral growth goal and the prospects for a global MBM; and achieving long-term aviation sustainability.
According to ATAG, around 300 delegates are expected to attend the event, which takes place September 29-30, and various industry bodies are due to make announcements on aviation and climate change action. ATAG Executive Director Michael Gill says it will be an opportunity to bring experts and leading figures from across the aviation industry together in one place.
“There are a number of key environment challenges that the industry is working on, together with governments,” he said. “Climate change is a subject that all parts of society is tackling. Aviation has taken a proactive approach and united together to advance its own plans, including ambitious goals for reducing emissions. We will be discussing those goals and the measures being taken to meet them at the Summit – including the important work to design a global MBM for air transport from 2020.”
Global Sustainable Aviation Summit
New aircraft fuel efficiency improvements return to historical average but lag ICAO fuel burn goals, finds ICCT report
Fri 18 Sep 2015 – Despite progress in aircraft fuel efficiency performance, airframe and engine manufacturers are currently lagging behind goals established at ICAO for medium and long term technology advances in fuel burn reduction, according to analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The environmental research NGO has undertaken a study into the fuel efficiency improvement of commercial jet aircraft from 1960 to 2014 and has found the rate of improvement to vary greatly over the period. The biggest gains were made during the 1980s, when average annual fuel efficiency improved by 2.6%, whereas little or no improvement was seen during the 1970s and in the period from 1995 to 2005. Overall, the average fuel burn of new aircraft between 1968 and 2014 reduced by a compound annual reduction rate of 1.3% and with new aircraft types coming to market, the short term trend is a return to the historical average, predicts ICCT.
The ICCT report updates a 2009 study covering the period from 1960 to 2008, in which it not only covers new aircraft types and data since then but also uses refined metrics for measurement, including the efficiency metric value (MV) developed by ICAO CAEP for its aircraft CO2 standard that is due to be completed early next year. The metric used for the earlier study was based on fuel burned per passenger-km flown, as measured from the departure gate to the arrival gate, so including all fuel consumed for taxi, take-off, cruise, approach and landing. The most prominent difference between this metric and the ICAO MV is the latter takes into account only the cruise performance.
According to ICCT’s findings, the data suggests that over the long term, efficiency improvements measured under the MV largely track those under the fuel/passenger-km metric, although they diverge during certain periods. The most likely driver of this relates to the ICAO aim of making the MV ‘transport capability neutral’, meaning that differences in fuel efficiency associated with aircraft capabilities – such as range, payload and speed – should not be reflected in the metric.
The average fuel burn of new aircraft fell by about 45% from 1968 to 2014. The sharp reduction observed in the early 1970s can be explained by the entry into service of the first modern twin-aisle aircraft, the Boeing 747. Combined with its size and the use of the first high bypass turbofan engines, the early models of the aircraft contributed to a large increase in fuel efficiency. Deliveries of the aircraft, which made up to 39% of the total market in 1970, started to drop and smaller and less fuel efficient aircraft, such as regional jets, began to take over the market. The fuel efficiency of later years became more stable owing to a large number of commercial models and relatively consistent delivery patterns.
After remaining flat for a decade after 1995, average fuel burn of new aircraft began to fall again in 2005. By 2010, the average fuel burn of new aircraft fell by 1.1% per year on a fuel/passenger-km metric and a somewhat smaller amount of 0.7% on the ICAO MV. In total, the average fuel burn of new aircraft dropped by around 10% from 2000 to 2014 when measured on the fuel/passenger-km basis, corresponding to a 11% increase in fuel efficiency.
One driver in efficiency trends is jet fuel prices. The sharp increase starting in 2003 correlates well with the end of a period of flat efficiency for new aircraft in 2004, notes the report. However, it adds, improvements since 2005 remain relatively modest compared to those seen in the 1980s when the aviation sector faced a fuel price spike linked to the ‘Oil Shock’ of 1979 and US airline deregulation.
“While additional fuel efficiency improvements are expected over the short term as aircraft like the A320neo and 777X enter into service, fuel prices alone may not provide a consistent, long-term motivation for fuel efficiency improvements in the aviation sector,” says the report.
Despite progress, ICCT believes manufacturers are about 12 years behind 2020 and 2030 fuel burn reduction goals for new aircraft that were set by an ICAO CAEP panel of Independent Experts in 2010. The panel conducted a study, based on single-aisle and small twin-aisle aircraft, into potential future technologies, in order to determine medium and long term goals as part of a basket of measures to achieve ICAO’s collective global aspirational goal of improving annual fuel efficiency by 2%. The study estimated the fuel efficiency of new aircraft could be improved by up to 40% in 2020 and as much as 90% in 2030 compared to a 2000 technology baseline.
The authors of the ICCT report, Anastasia Kharina and Dan Rutherford, conclude there is therefore a strong need for a meaningful ICAO CO2 standard to provide extra incentive for new technology development and deployment and to help industry meet its environmental goals. They say a future update of their report would be necessary to reflect changes linked to aircraft such as the A320neo, 737 MAX, 777X and CSeries that are due to enter into service between 2016 and 2020 – before the earliest application date of the CO2 standard – and would be useful in reassessing industry’s progress towards the fuel burn technology goals.
ICCT report – Fuel efficiency trends for new commercial jet aircraft: 1960 to 2014
Partnerships are a key driver to achieving international aviation climate goals, says new ICAO Secretary General
Thu 17 Sep 2015 – With the expected future growth in aviation traffic, it is essential to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy the wide-ranging benefits of air transport tomorrow on an environmentally sustainable basis, said ICAO’s new Secretary General, Dr Fang Liu, in a keynote address yesterday to an environmental seminar held by the UN civil aviation agency. The seminar is taking place in advance of a major UN summit in New York next week that is expected to adopt global Sustainable Development Goals effective from 2016, and sessions of the seminar have been aligned to the appropriate goals. The event has also been planned to showcase actions by the international aviation sector to reduce emissions ahead of the forthcoming Paris COP climate conference. Former ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González told delegates that international aviation CO2 emissions were projected to grow by more than four times over the next 30 years unless urgent action was taken under all of ICAO’s ‘basket of measures’.
In her keynote, Dr Liu said: “Through invaluable partnerships and determined cooperation between States and industry, the international aviation sector has been actively progressing a comprehensive strategy to address its CO2 emissions. Our States have agreed to achieve ICAO’s global aspirational goal of improving fuel efficiency by 2% per year and to stabilise sector-wide CO2 emissions at 2020 levels.”
Dr Liu, who recently took up her leadership post, said ICAO’s activities and actions effectively contributed to 14 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, with 10 of them relating directly to global environmental and climate change mitigation objectives. Such activities that supported the goals included the new CO2 emissions standard for aircraft, which is expected to be finalised by February, sustainable alternative fuels, end-of-life aircraft recycling and the development of a global market-based measure (MBM) to tackle international aviation CO2 emissions growth.
“We now find ourselves on a shared journey towards achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020,” she told delegates in her first speech covering environmental issues. “I strongly believe that this can be achieved by continuing to work together and actively pursuing further partnerships.
“Under Goal 3, we must all be taking urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts, and ICAO’s capacity building and active engagement of States in their development and implementation of voluntary action plans for aviation emissions reductions is a good and practical example of our commitment. Cooperation, partnerships and innovation are the keys to our successful future and to the eventual realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
In his address to the seminar, Kobeh, now an ICAO Council Goodwill Ambassador, said that despite substantial progress by ICAO on environmental activities, urgent action was required to achieve the 2% fuel efficiency goal. “And,” he added, “if we are to be ready for carbon neutral growth in 2020, we need to act now – climate change science clearly tells us that.”
Despite progress and improvements in technology and operational measures, as well as the development and deployment of alternative fuels, he said some of their benefits would not be fully ready by 2020 and ICAO trends for international aviation CO2 growth showed there would be a future substantial gap in emissions above 2020 levels. ICAO was responding to the challenge, he said, through partnerships with other international organisations, support for States through capacity building and the submission by States of their action plans to reduce emissions.
Kobeh said the agreement by the last Assembly on the development of a global MBM reflected the strong support of States for a global solution for the aviation industry, although “significant efforts” needed to be undertaken in order for a decision to be taken at the next Assembly on implementation from 2020.
“I have seen aviation experience many challenges,” observed the ICAO veteran. “The environment, and climate change in particular, is a significant one.”
In a seminar presentation on greenhouse gas trends in aviation to 2050, Gregg Fleming of the US Department of Transport’s Volpe Center said current projections showed the international aviation emissions gap in 2050 compared to 2020 would be over 1,000 million tonnes. This would be despite future contributions from technology improvements and improved air traffic management and infrastructure use.
International aviation fuel efficiency is expected to improve to 2050, he said, but additional measures above aircraft technology and operational improvements would be required to achieve the 2% annual fuel efficiency aspirational goal and to achieve carbon neutral growth relative to 2020. Although experts on ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) were still analysing the future availability of sustainable alternative fuels and their potential life-cycle emissions savings, he believed State targets could close up to 25% of the gap and if the maximum potential contribution from alternative fuels could be achieved, and assuming zero net carbon, the gap could be closed completely.
Fleming noted there was greater uncertainty in predicting future aviation demand than that associated with the range of contributions from technology and operational improvements.
The two-day ICAO Global Aviation Partnerships on Emissions Reductions (E-GAP) seminar features sessions covering aviation and climate change scientific understanding; aircraft life-cycle design and technology; operational improvements and eco-airports; sustainable alternative aviation fuels; carbon markets; financing for environmental initiatives; and State Action Plans and capacity building.
ICAO E-GAP – Slide presentations and speeches
First flight imminent as South African tobacco crop to jet biofuel project earns RSB sustainability approval
Mon 14 Sep 2015 – The South African ‘Project Solaris’ initiative that is developing an energy-rich tobacco crop for use as a feedstock for producing aviation biofuel has been awarded certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). The project, formally launched in late 2014, has involved RSB from the start so as to ensure its standards have been incorporated into all aspects of the supply chain to ensure environmental and social sustainability. The patented nicotine-free and GMO-free Solaris oil seed is owned by Italian company Sunchem Holdings, and the other main partners in project – Boeing, SkyNRG and South African Airways (SAA) – are planning to use first quantities of jet biofuel produced from the crop within the next few months on a flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Sunchem is also planning to launch a similar supply chain in Italy to produce sustainable jet biofuel.
Sunchem South Africa (SA), a joint venture between Sunchem Holdings and an international group of investors, started cultivation trials of its seeds in 2013 on 11 hectares of land in the Limpopo province of South Africa. The tobacco plant is capable of being harvested up to three times a year and has shown to yield significant quantities of oil, which led to 50 hectares (123 acres) being seeded in September 2014.
However, admitted Sunchem SA Managing Director Joost van Lier, developing a biofuel crop in what is described as South Africa’s ‘breadbasket’ province had drawn the company into the food versus fuel debate. But, he said: “Having to undergo a systematic process of evaluating the social and environmental ramifications of this development as prescribed by the RSB has allowed us to feel confident in promoting Solaris, not only as a financially viable crop for farmers in the region, but also one that will not affect food security or lead to environmental degradation.”
Added RSB Executive Director Rolf Hogan: “Project Solaris has demonstrated it can deliver sustainability on the ground in line with the RSB’s global standard. This is the result of a serious commitment to working with local stakeholders, rural development and reducing greenhouse gases while safeguarding the Limpopo’s unique natural environment.”
SAA’s Group Environmental Specialist, Ian Cruickshank, said the airline was a proud RSB member and subscribed to the environmental and social sustainability principles of the RSB standard. “This certification ensures that future fuels contribute to reductions in CO2 and are environmentally sustainable and contribute social and economic benefits to our rural economy where it is needed most,” he commented.
The RSB certification would be a key factor in the development process of Project Solaris, according to Sunchem Holding Managing Director Sergio Tomassini. “RSB believed in our technology and gave us the right advice to improve it during our scale-up programme,” he said.
“By receiving RSB certification, Project Solaris is achieving an important milestone for itself and for the aviation industry itself,” said Maarten van Dijk, CEO of SkyNRG. The Amsterdam-based jet biofuel specialist will lead commercialisation of the Solaris product and will also supply South African Airways with the biofuel.
As well as producing aviation biofuel, Tomassini said a deal was close to supplying a South African shipping company with marine diesel made from Solaris oil. Other by-products from the tobacco plant biomass include cake for animal feed and biogas. As a tobacco producing country, Malawi also presented opportunities and having found a local partner and government support, he expected to start local tests of Solaris with a view to future production of aviation biofuel and the by-products in the country.
Sunchem also has ambitions for the crop in southern Brazil, said Tomassini, and Boeing is a premium sponsor and promoter of the Solaris technology worldwide. He said Sunchem is launching a new sustainable value chain with Alitalia, Boeing Italy and Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni, and the company was also exploring opportunities in eastern Europe. Sunchem has received a grant through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme to help develop and optimise its seed-to-oil process.
“We are unique because of our patent and seed, and we can really create competitive advantages to all participants in the supply chain, especially farmers,” Tomassini told GreenAir.
Project Solaris , RSB , Sunchem , SkyNRG , South African Airways – Environment , Boeing – Environment
Miami International embarks on major $32m two-year energy efficiency project
Fri 11 Sep 2015 – Miami International Airport (MIA) has launched what it claims to be one of the largest energy-saving programmes ever undertaken in Florida and the eastern United States. Over the next two years, the project will spend $32 million on installing air conditioning and ventilation upgrades, water conservation retrofits, energy-efficient lighting and other green initiatives. It is expected to result in savings of more than $40 million in utility costs over the 14 years of an agreement with Florida-based FPL Services and is part of a commitment to reduce the airport’s annual carbon footprint by 20% and water consumption by 28 million gallons. Meanwhile, Dallas-Fort Worth has been newly certified at Level 3 Optimisation under the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, the highest level so far achieved by a North American airport.
“As one of the largest energy consumers in Miami-Dade County, we are implementing measures like the Sustainability Project to be its most efficient consumer as well,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio González. “In addition to protecting our environment, being an energy-smart airport is smart business. The savings will help us to decrease our operating costs and lessen the financial burden passed on to current and prospective airlines, which in turn supports our growth and our local economy. This innovative programme will further strengthen MIA’s position as a global leader in airport sustainability.”
Currently in Phase 3, MIA has partnered with FPL Services for the past 10 years on implementing energy conservation projects throughout the airport, including lighting retrofits and renovations, chiller replacements and plant upgrades, cooling tower retrofits, air-handling unit replacements and the installation of low-flow water fixtures. Around 400 different types of lighting have been eliminated and 100,000 light bulbs upgraded to streamline maintenance and reduce energy. In total, the airport is looking to save 35 million kilowatts of energy annually.
The Sustainability Project, which is expected to create 300 jobs during the installation, is part of Miami-Dade County’s community-wide GreenPrint initiative to use less water and energy.
Miami International Airport – Sustainability Project , FPL Services
FAA awards $100 million in next CLEEN phase to aid development of green aircraft and biofuel technologies
Thu 10 Sep 2015 – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has marked the launch of the second phase of its Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN II) programme by awarding $100 million to eight companies to develop and demonstrate technologies that reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise. The companies are expected to match or exceed the FAA’s investment and so bring the total CLEEN II funding to in excess of $200 million. One of the goals of the second phase is to achieve a 40% reduction in fuel burn relative to the most efficient aircraft in service during the year 2000 and the FAA anticipates that technologies developed under the programme will be on a path for introduction into commercial aircraft by 2026.
“CLEEN II represents a genuine investment and commitment by the FAA and the industry to find ways to make aviation even cleaner, quieter and more energy efficient,” commented FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We expect that when they enter service, these new technologies will benefit US aircraft for years to come and build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect the environment.”
The eight companies selected by the FAA are Aurora Flight Sciences; Boeing; GE Aviation; Delta TechOps/MDS Coating Technologies/America’s Phenix; Honeywell Aerospace; Pratt & Whitney; Rolls-Royce; and Rohr/UTC Aerospace Systems. Under CLEEN II, technologies will be developed and matured, which will include full-scale ground and flight test demonstrations, with the aim of bringing them to market.
As well as the 40% fuel burn reduction target, other goals of CLEEN II include cutting NOx emissions during take-off and landing by 70% over the 2011 ICAO standard without increasing other emissions; lowering noise levels by 32 decibels relative to the FAA Stage 4 noise standard; and expediting the commercialisation of drop-in sustainable jet fuels through support for the ASTM approval process.
“By partnering with private industry on advancing the next generation of aviation technologies, the Department is helping shape a world-class transit system that is efficient and environmentally sustainable,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who described the programme as finding innovative ways to strengthen the economy while reducing carbon emissions.
The five-year CLEEN II aims to build on the first phase (CLEEN) of the public-private partnership programme that started in 2010 and which focused on nine projects in the areas of energy efficient aircraft technologies and sustainable jet fuels. The first of these technologies is expected to enter service in 2016, says the FAA.
Participants in the first phase included Boeing, GE, Honeywell, P&W and Rolls-Royce, which together matched or exceeded FAA funding of $125 million. Boeing tested two aircraft technologies that could reduce aircraft fuel burn by up to 2%, which if used fleet-wide in the US would save an estimated 340 million gallons of fuel a year worth some $1.2 billion at 2009 prices. GE developed technologies to reduce fuel burn, emissions and noise, including testing of a scaled Open Rotor engine.
Under CLEEN, Honeywell developed and tested technologies to increase engine efficiency and reduce engine weight, as well as cold testing of an alternative jet fuel blend to support ASTM approval of HEFA jet biofuels. Pratt & Whitney used the CLEEN funding to help develop and demonstrate its ultra-high bypass ration geared turbofan engine and associated technologies, whereas Rolls-Royce carried out similar development of technologies aimed at increasing thermal efficiency and weight savings in the turbine section of its engines. The funding also helped Rolls-Royce with laboratory and engine component testing of new alternative jet fuels under development that could be approved by ASTM for commercial use.
APPOINTMENTS: Changes at Cathay Pacific as Watson moves to parent company and Chan to head Environmental Affairs
Thu 24 Sep 2015 – Mark Watson, Cathay Pacific’s Head of Environmental Affairs for the past seven years, has moved to the airline’s parent company, the Swire Group, to assume the role of global Head of Sustainable Development. In this expanded role, Watson assumes responsibility for overall group sustainability strategy and performance including those companies under Swire Pacific (including aviation, beverages, marine, trading & industrial and property divisions) as well as the group’s private entities. He will report directly to Cathay Pacific and Swire Pacific Chairman, John Slosar.
Within Cathay Pacific, the Environmental Affairs Department will now be headed up by Evelyn Chan, previously the airline’s Environmental Projects Manager. She will assume responsibility for the delivery of the CX group’s sustainable development strategy and targets, and will report to James Tong, Cathay Pacific’s Director of Corporate Affairs.
COMMENTARY: ICAO must design robust sustainability criteria for aviation biofuels into its market measure
Fri 25 Sep 2015 – Aviation industry leaders will gather next week in Geneva for their green conference and congratulate themselves on their efforts to reduce emissions. But a reality check is needed. A bio-fuelled flight here and a more efficient engine there are great – but they don’t disguise the fact that aviation emissions are continuing to soar, and there is still no policy in place to control them. WWF is working with colleagues in the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) to ensure both aviation is covered in the Paris climate deal, writes James Beard, and the UN aviation agency ICAO delivers the key features of a market-based measure (MBM) to cap aviation emissions at its Assembly one year from now.
The heart of the MBM will likely be a carbon offsetting scheme, but it will also set a framework that for the first time recognises emission reductions from biofuels in international flights. WWF supports the use of biofuels in aviation because, unlike power generation, there are not really any other low-carbon energy sources on the table.
However, we only support the use of sustainable biofuels. Past experience, for example with EU policy for road biofuels, has shown extreme care must be taken in designing biofuel policies in order to avoid unintended – and very damaging – consequences for people and planet. Biofuels are certainly not a silver bullet for aviation’s emissions problem.
ICAO needs to develop criteria to ensure airlines are using the right kinds of biofuel, which means tackling indirect land use change (ILUC) and supporting all three dimensions of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. This is a key aspect of making sure the MBM is environmentally effective, works in a way that is fair for all peoples of all countries, and is consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be agreed by world leaders this weekend.
The number one priority for preventing dangerous climate change is reducing our use of fossil fuels, including aviation kerosene. Fossil fuels start out buried deep underground, whereas biofuels are made of plants and wastes that are above ground, so when biofuels substitute for fossil fuels, they help keep that fossil carbon locked away. This is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean all biofuels are always good. In order for biofuels to really combat climate change, they must emit less carbon over their full lifecycle than kerosene – and that includes emissions from both direct and indirect land use change.
ILUC occurs when biofuel production reduces availability (and increases prices) of crops for other sectors, such as food. As a result, natural environments like forests and grasslands will be converted into new cropland, which can damage habitats and increase emissions. ILUC emissions are difficult to measure as they are not in the control of biofuel producers, but estimates must nevertheless be counted in order to fully understand the GHG impacts of biofuels.
This is a key lesson of EU biofuels policy, which initially failed to address ILUC at all, and after years of policy wrangling and investment hiatus, ended up putting a cap on the use of crop-based biofuels. If ICAO wants to avoid similar policy battles down the road, it needs to get the criteria right from day one.
Another option is to demonstrate project level mitigation measures that address ILUC, for instance, using the ‘low ILUC risk’ certification module offered by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), based on a methodology developed by WWF, Ecofys and EPFL. Biofuels that demonstrably present low ILUC risk by increasing yield or by using degraded land or waste could be exempted from accounting for ILUC emissions.
In UN lingo, there are three dimensions to sustainability: not just environmental, but social and economic too. It would be pretty shocking if the UN aviation agency’s sustainability criteria for biofuels did not use the UN’s own definition of sustainability, especially with the MBM coming hot on the heels of the new SDGs. But incredibly, there is a real risk of that. Even though all three dimensions of sustainability were highlighted in the 2013 ICAO Assembly Resolution (p. 98), discussion on social and economic criteria could be booted into the long grass.
When ICAO does come to look at the full spectrum of sustainability, it can again look to existing initiatives like RSB and the aireg (the German aviation biofuel association) criteria that WWF-Germany helped to develop. Biofuel certification schemes that support all three dimensions of sustainability – social, economic and environmental – actually help promote sustainable development, and avoid the risks of undermining it.
As well as addressing GHG emissions, criteria should also ensure that biofuel production does not:
- cause damage to natural habitats and ecosystems;
- lead to local scarcity of water for drinking, for other economic activities, or for downstream freshwater ecosystems; and
- negatively impact on soil and air quality in biomass producing regions.
In poverty-affected regions, certification can also promote the social and economic development of local, rural and indigenous people and communities. For instance, RSB ensures that developers offer training and employment to communities, with a particular focus on offering opportunities to people at risk of being marginalised, such as women and young people.
RSB certification also ensures that biomass production respects human, labour and land rights, and enhances food security. The food security issue is closely tied to economic sustainability. The main cause of hunger is not lack of food, but lack of money to buy food.
WWF worked hard to make sure the SDGs reflected a simple fact: sustainable development is impossible without effective climate change policy, and effective climate change policy is impossible if it ignores sustainable development.
If ICAO does not address ILUC in its biofuels criteria, then it runs the risk of incentivising biofuels that make climate change worse, and if it ignores the wider environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability, then it risks incentivising biofuel production that undermines the objectives of the SDGs.
If, on the other hand, ICAO does address ILUC and the full spectrum of sustainability, then it will help drive truly sustainable biofuels that provide material near-term benefits to people living in poverty, and the invaluable long-term benefit of a stable climate.
ICAO’s choice on biofuels is clear: increase climate risk, undermine sustainable development and be unfair to developing countries, or be fair, promote sustainable development and help safeguard a stable climate for all.
The author, James Beard, is an aviation and bioenergy specialist with WWF-UK