GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 20 JANUARY 2017
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Growth in UK aviation has been delivered without any increase in carbon emissions, finds airline industry report
Fri 20 Jan 2017 – Although carrying 20 million more passengers than 10 years ago, this growth has been achieved without an increase in carbon emissions, claims a new report from Airlines UK, the trade body representing UK-registered airlines. It cites government data showing that in 2015, jet fuel deliveries to UK airports – for both UK and non-UK airline operations – were 10% lower than in 2006. By investing in more than 470 new aircraft since 2005, at a cost of £37 billion ($45bn), UK airlines had helped the industry to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 million tonnes, it says. The report seeks to set out how future UK demand for air travel can be met while ensuring the sector limits its environmental impact and hits emission reduction targets. It also calls on government to support these efforts with favourable policy decisions.
“Overall, we are exceeding the industry target for improving our performance on carbon reduction, with an increase in fuel efficiency of 12% over the past decade,” said Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, formerly the British Air Transport Association. He pointed out that his members had a further 397 aircraft, which offered at least a 13% improvement in fuel efficiency over existing aircraft, currently on order and due to enter into service in the coming years.
The most recent government data shows that in 2014, flights from all airlines operating in the UK were responsible for 35 million tonnes of CO2, representing 6.4% of total UK CO2 emissions, with 6% of that total coming from international flights and domestic flights accounting for the remainder (0.4%). The data shows greenhouse gas emissions from UK-based international aviation fuel use were estimated to be 32.9 MtCO2e, compared to a peak of 35.7 MtCO2e in 2006, which in turn had more than doubled from 15.6 MtCO2e in 1990. For the first time, therefore, growth in UK passenger numbers from 2006 to 2014 was delivered without any increase in emissions.
Against the aviation industry’s global fuel efficiency improvement target of 1.5% per year from 2010 to 2020, the report estimates overall UK progress of an average 1.9% improvement since 2010.
The report sets out the carbon impact of UK aviation and details four areas to help achieve the global industry target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050: the continued introduction of new aircraft; greater fuel efficiency; the use of sustainable fuels; and support for international carbon offsetting. It aims to complement the work of industry group Sustainable Aviation, which recently published its updated Carbon Road-Map.
Airlines UK says its members, along with industry partners, are working to create greater fuel efficiency through initiatives such as more direct routings for aircraft, uninterrupted climb and descent procedures, and reduced engine taxiing. Members have also been involved in larger airspace trials beyond the UK border, such as a collaborative project, called Topflight, to improve the efficiency of transatlantic flights, and the XMAN trial to reduce the amount of time aircraft spend in airborne holding patterns on arrival to Heathrow Airport.
The trade body requests government to prioritise and support industry efforts to deliver airspace modernisation, and include airspace as a critical part of long-term strategic decision-making under the remit of the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.
Filling each plane – using the right-sized aircraft and utilising complex booking systems to ensure high load factors – also contributes to more efficient fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, adds the report. It says average passenger load factors on member-airline flights have increased from 79% in 2005 to 83% in 2015.
As a result of 10 years of investment in improving fuel efficiency, 20 million tonnes of carbon emissions have been saved since 2005 by UK airlines, it estimates.
Sustainable aviation fuels developed from waste produced from domestic, commercial and industrial processes offer further opportunities for reductions in CO2 emissions of up to 24% by 2050, says the report, which endorses the conclusions of the Sustainable Fuels UK Road-Map published by Sustainable Aviation in 2015. Airlines UK said it welcomed the recent consultation by the government on including sustainable aviation fuels in its updated renewable transport fuel policy (see article).
“However, we are concerned that the policy must support all the wide-ranging and innovative schemes to produce sustainable aviation fuels, including those being championed by our members,” it added. “Airlines UK calls on the government to provide a long-term policy for encouraging UK sustainable aviation fuel production that will help stimulate research, development and investment.” Without a long-term policy, investment in this sector would be limited and innovations would lag behind other nations, it warned.
In order to meet lower emission goals and once all industry initiatives have been exhausted, the report acknowledges some form of carbon offsetting scheme is required. The inclusion of aviation since 2012 into the current form of the EU Emissions Trading System had resulted in a net reduction so far of 6 million tonnes of CO2 from UK airlines, it estimates.
Airlines UK said it welcomed the role played by the UK government in the ICAO negotiations to reach the global agreement on the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
“The government must now focus on the implementation details, particularly avoiding duplication with the coverage of this scheme and other regional schemes,” recommends the report. “The government should also start negotiations with other countries to agree how CORSIA will deliver a halving of global net CO2 reductions by 2050, whilst delivering economic growth.”
Finally, the report calls on the government to continue its support for the UK aerospace industry in its efforts to deliver affordable, new aircraft technology and grow the number of high-value jobs in the UK.
“This report sets out in detail the carbon impact of UK aviation and what the industry is doing to deliver sustainable growth. It is clear that airlines are making enormous efforts to reduce their carbon emissions,” commented Alderslade. “Further work is needed – some of it requiring government support – but the report demonstrates that the direction of travel is positive.”
Airlines UK report – ‘Responding to the Carbon Challenge’
Feasibility study identifies sites to support supply of up to 50 million gallons per year of aviation biofuel to Sea-Tac Airport
Thu 19 Jan 2017 – A first-of-its-kind study has identified the best infrastructure options for delivering blended sustainable aviation biofuel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). Commissioned by the Port of Seattle, Boeing and Alaska Airlines, the study evaluated more than 30 sites around Washington State that could potentially support the receipt, blending, storage and delivery infrastructure required to supply Sea-Tac with up to five million gallons per year of biofuel in the short term (12-18 months) and 50 million gallons per year in the long term (two to 10 years). An aviation biofuel production plant was not considered in this study but will be an important next step once a long-term biofuel source is identified, say the partners. Sea-Tac has a goal to power every flight departing the airport with biofuel.
“Unlike the biofuel itself, fuel blending and delivery infrastructure cannot grow on trees,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. “We needed this comprehensive analysis to confirm that we can offer commercial airlines feasible and sustainable delivery options while reducing our environmental footprint and being a good neighbour to surrounding communities.”
In pursuing an integrated supply chain, sites were selected based on the capacity to accommodate delivery of unblended biofuel by pipe, rail, barge and/or truck, and were evaluated based on land use, zoning and environmental considerations. The most feasible sites were then determined based on the construction costs of the required infrastructure, environmental constraints, permitting and planning, and other contingencies to help determine an overall score and final recommendation.
The study found that a small biofuel receiving and blending facility at the Sea-Tac Airport Fuel Farm would be the most cost-effective solution in the short term. Over the long term – due to their access to marine, rail, truck and the Olympic Pipeline – refineries in the Anacortes area would prove the most cost-effective options for large volumes of aviation biofuel. Also over the long term, the Philips 66/Olympic Pipeline Company sites in Renton showed potential to accommodate receipt and blending facilities for moderate-to-large volumes.
Once the long-term biofuel source has been identified, further work will be required to determine the relative proximity of a production plant to the sites considered in the study. The closer the source of the biofuel to a blending and integration facility, the lower the costs associated with the fuel, explains the Port.
“Commercial aviation is committed to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, and biofuels are key to achieving that goal,” said Ellie Wood, Boeing’s Regional Director of Environmental Strategy. “We’re encouraged that this study shows the viability of making a biofuel blend available to every flight at Sea-Tac Airport. As part of our global strategy to develop and commercialise biofuel, we’re proud to support our hometown partners and keep the Pacific Northwest in the forefront of these innovative efforts.”
Added Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ SVP Communications and External Relations: “This study represents a critical milestone toward powering our planes with a sustainable aviation biofuel made right here at home. After recently flying the first commercial flight with new biofuel made from forest residuals from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska Airlines is eager to see how biofuel flights can become a daily reality at our hometown hub at Sea-Tac.”
Port of Seattle – Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Infrastructure Feasibility Study
Gatwick Airport joins global renewable electricity alliance and expects to reach carbon neutrality shortly
Thu 19 Jan 2017 – London Gatwick has become the first airport to join the RE100 global alliance that commits businesses to using 100% renewable electricity. It joins over 80 of the world’s most influential companies that cover sectors such as IT, telecoms, retail, food and banking. With the private sector accounting for around half of the world’s electricity consumption, switching demand to renewables will accelerate the transformation of the global energy market and aid the transition to a low-carbon economy, says the initiative. The 87 companies in the alliance create enough renewable electricity demand to power Holland each year. Gatwick has already been purchasing 100% renewable electricity since 2013, a key factor in its efforts to becoming carbon neutral. Meanwhile, Athens International has become the first Greek airport to become carbon neutral, raising the number of airports worldwide to achieve this status to 28.
Gatwick claims as a result of continued investment in energy and fuel efficiency, its environmental footprint is the same or better today than in the early 1990s despite passenger numbers doubling.
CEO Stewart Wingate said the airport was on a journey to become the UK’s most sustainable airport and one of the greenest in the world.
“We are serious about growing sustainably and we have some ambitious plans to develop in the most environmentally responsible way possible,” he said. “We expect to see our world-first waste plant generating heat for our North Terminal this year and we are introducing an electric car sharing service, the first of its kind for a UK airport.”
Electricity comprises 80% of the airport’s operational carbon footprint, and the airport says the remaining emissions will be offset through international, national and local renewable energy programmes. Having reached Level 3 of the airport industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme for the last three years, Gatwick is in the process of certification towards the carbon neutrality Level 3+, which it expects to achieve this spring.
RE100 was started in 2014 by non-profit business and government consultancy The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, as part of the We Mean Business coalition, and is now being rolled out in China and India in addition to Europe and the United States. Gatwick is one of three new companies to join the alliance, announced during the current World Economic Forum in Davos.
“It is really encouraging to see companies such as Gatwick committing to bold climate action, helping us move towards a net zero emissions economy,” said Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group. “But we need to see faster progress. In order to deliver on the Paris Agreement and keep global warming well below two degrees, we need governments to remove policy barriers and create investment incentives that can provide easier access to renewable energy. And we need more business leaders to influence the usage of renewable power right along their supply chains.”
UK campaign group Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) was less enthusiastic about Gatwick’s moves. “We welcome initiatives that will increase the use of renewable electricity in the UK. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Gatwick’s commitment extends only to the airport infrastructure and vehicles. The planes that fly out of Gatwick are still powered by fossil fuels and will remain so for decades to come,” said AEF Deputy Director, Cait Hewitt, pointing out that 99% of the airport’s emissions come from the aircraft that use it rather than the airport itself.
Opened in 2001, Athens International Airport (AIA) was one of the very early adopters of ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme that started in 2009, becoming accredited in the very first year and has since then renewed and upgraded the levels of its certification. It was one of the first airports to invest in solar technology, building a €20 million ($21m) photovoltaic park. It continues to add energy and fuel saving measures, such as the certification of its energy management system to ISO 50001, the continued modernisation of airport equipment and the optimisation of energy systems.
“By achieving carbon neutrality, AIA continues to tangibly demonstrate its commitment to the fight against climate change. We are proud to be among leading airports, not only as a major economic engine, but also through our reduced ecological footprint, thanks to the environmental awareness and complementary efforts of our colleagues and partners across the airport community,” commented CEO Dr Yiannis Paraschis.
Added Niclas Svenningsen, head of the UNFCCC’s Climate Neutral Now initiative: “The ambitious efforts of a growing number of carbon neutral airports are testament to how seriously this industry is working on addressing its direct impact on climate change. With 25 European airports now carbon neutral, the airport industry is already halfway towards meeting its pledge at COP21 of having 50 carbon neutral airports in Europe by 2030. We look forward to more progress in the year ahead.
Aviation impacts on local air quality addressed in new report from UK industry group Sustainable Aviation
Wed 18 Jan 2017 – Air quality in urban areas has become an increasingly contentious issue in the UK and arguments over expansion of air traffic capacity around London have centred on concerns over potential rising levels of local airborne pollutants. Industry group Sustainable Aviation (SA) has now published a paper on air quality at and around UK airports, and what the sector is doing to mitigate impacts. The group says aviation’s contribution to overall UK emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) is very small but acknowledges air quality levels around some airports exceed health-based target levels. Air quality is therefore a key priority for both government and the industry, maintains SA, and its paper lays out a range of initiatives being taken to reduce NOx and PM emissions, and suggests a number of areas where the right policy support could enable further reductions.
Nationally, reports SA, emissions of key air pollutants are falling and are below the government’s legally binding emission ceilings. However, over 600 locations across the UK have been identified by local authorities where health-based air quality objectives are not being met. Locations – which tend to be focused on urban areas, and follow motorways and main roads – that fail to meet objectives are designated air quality management areas (AQMAs). Only one airport, Heathrow, is within an AQMA, with four others – Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Manchester – near to AQMAs.
Local authority air quality action plans (AQAPs) are required to ensure air quality objectives in a particular area where exceedances are occurring are met as quickly as possible. They serve as important regional strategies that primarily work to improve air quality but also offer a range of secondary benefits, such as public transport improvements and support for green spaces. Airports contribute to local policies, working alongside authorities to support AQAPs by introducing their own strategies and measures to reduce emissions at the airport.
According to SA, aircraft contribute 1% of UK NOx emissions and 0.1% of UK PM10 (particulates smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter) emissions. Total on-airport emissions are, it points out, slightly higher as they include emissions from other sources such as ground equipment, airport roads and car parks. A number of airports periodically produce air quality emission inventories that quantify emissions by source. The SA paper uses the most recent data from Gatwick and Heathrow to provide a broad overview of on-airport NOx and PM10 emission sources. It says estimating aircraft emissions is particularly difficult, however, especially as they also take place up to 3,000 feet (or 1,000 metres) above ground level under the landing and take-off cycle.
Through the collaborative cross-industry Sustainable Aviation approach – whose members include airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and air navigation service provider NATS – a wide range of emission reduction initiatives have been implemented.
The paper provides examples of a range of best practice procedures and operations to mitigate emissions at UK airports. These include:
- Reduced engine taxiing;
- The use of electrical power and conditioned air by parked aircraft;
- Improved coordination of aircraft movements to reduce delays and emissions from taxiing aircraft;
- Training staff to drive airport vehicles more efficiently;
- When safe to do so, pilots adjust power on take-off to reduce emissions and noise;
- The use by airports of renewable energy technologies and more efficient boilers;
- The replacement of diesel-powered vehicles and handling equipment by cleaner versions; and
- Encouraging greater use of new generation, more efficient aircraft.
Airport surface access is an important contributor to air pollution and SA says a government focus on road transport emissions will be key to reducing overall UK emissions. Nationally, road transport contributed 32% of NOx and 18% of PM10 emissions in 2013. Depending on location, emissions from non-airport-related road traffic near to airports vary greatly, for example accounting for around 14% of NOx emissions in the vicinity of Gatwick, but 27% at Heathrow. At Gatwick and Heathrow, airport-related traffic contributes around 9% of airport NOx emissions and 38% of PM10 emissions.
Examples of action taken by some UK airports to reduce surface access emissions include:
- Reducing the number of HGV journeys into airports by bulking up retail deliveries at consolidation centres;
- Supporting the use of ultra-low emission vehicles through introducing electric vehicle charging points and hydrogen fuelling;
- Investing in public transport to make access for passengers and staff easier and more sustainable;
- Reducing emissions from staff commuting through flexible working, car sharing and cycling.
SA believes government can play an important part in creating a framework for well-connected airports, with high-quality, 24-hour public transport for passengers, airport staff and local communities.
SA says its member airports regard sharing information about air quality at airports to be important and all host airport consultative committees that have an independent chair and representation from local authorities and local public interest groups.
The paper, prepared by SA’s Air Quality Working Group, concludes by identifying four next steps to continue progress in reducing emissions:
- Focusing on road transport and helping to improve surface access to airports;
- Expanding low-emission vehicle policy support to specialist airport vehicles and equipment;
- Providing policy certainty so that the private sector will invest in cleaner-burning sustainable aviation fuels; and
- Ensuring R&D programmes continue to be supported during and after the process of the UK leaving the EU.
“I am excited by the diverse and extensive range of activities already underway throughout the UK aviation industry to address our direct and indirect emissions,” says the Chair of Sustainable Aviation, Ian Jopson, in the foreword to the paper. “The range of innovative projects currently in progress also gives longer term confidence that significant improvements are feasible. The challenge will be how we all work together to realise these. I look forward to developing the opportunities highlighted in this paper with government in the coming years.”
Roger Gardner, a member of SA’s Advisory Board, adds: “From being a lower priority topic for many airports, it is clear that air quality improvement is now embedded with all airports both as part of their sustainability strategy and community engagement work.
“Engine manufacturers have long been focused upon pollution reduction and that trend continues but, despite a gradually improving air quality situation around airports, there remains a strong health-based imperative to maintain and increase that push.”
Sustainable Aviation information paper – ‘UK Aviation and Air Quality’
Latest atmosfair airline CO2 efficiency rankings show global air traffic growing at twice the rate of emissions
Fri 13 Jan 2017 – An analysis by German climate protection organisation atmosfair of 32 million flights in 2014, covering 92% of global aviation traffic, shows CO2 emissions increased by 3% over the previous year, about half the rate of their traffic volume growth. The annual atmosfair Airline Index (AAI) compares airline emissions by city pairs of more than 200 airlines worldwide from a range of respected independent data sources and evaluates and ranks those airlines by their respective CO2 efficiency. It finds those airlines investing in new aircraft models with high seating configurations and load factors performed best in improving their carbon efficiency. As to be expected, regional and leisure airlines headed the AAI table, with a Chinese airline, China West Air, achieving the highest ranking. China is now catching up with the EU in terms of efficiency, says atmosfair, with 10 airlines, compared to 16 from Europe, in the top 50.
“Climate efficiency knows no country of origin,” said atmosfair Managing Director, Dr Dietrich Brockhagen. “The airline that knows how to adapt its modern fleet to demand and how to ideally combine technology with operations will achieve high rankings, whether that airline comes from Europe, Asia or South America.”
The 2016 AAI report estimates that the overall average efficiency gain by all airlines resulted in 1.9% less CO2 per passenger kilometre since last year’s index. However, Brockhagen believes the progress is not enough in global climate terms.
“Our results show that global air traffic is not on target, neither for the 1.5⁰C nor the 2⁰C goals from Paris,” he said. “While some airlines have been able to significantly improve their CO2 efficiency by purchasing new aircraft, the overall technical development is not rapid enough in light of increasing traffic volume.”
The analysis of data from sources such as ICAO, IATA, OAG and FlightGlobal included 22,300 city pairs, and efficiency differences between airlines can be substantial, finds atmosfair. Fuel consumption per passenger and kilometre on the same route can be twice as high for one airline compared to another. The best results, it says, are achieved by airlines that use modern aircraft that ideally fit to the respective flight distance, have high seating capacity and good occupancy rates for passengers and freight.
To compile the index, CO2 emissions are computed for all flown routes and include the aircraft type, engines, use of winglets, and seating and freight capacity, as well as their utilisation on every flight. Airlines are awarded efficiency points between 0 and 100, separated into short (<800km), medium (800-3800km) and long haul (>3800km) distances. The efficiency points are then assigned to seven efficiency classes from A to G – similar to the EU energy efficiency label. The index covers four airline categories: network, low-cost, charter and regional carriers but does not take into consideration different airline business models.
By 2014, the year of the data compilation for the latest index, the highly efficient Boeing 787 was only just beginning to make an impact and the Airbus A350 did not start commercial operations until early 2015. Since new aircraft do not make up the majority of the fleet for any carrier, reports atmosfair, no carrier reached efficiency class A, and only the top 10 made it into class B.
Regional carrier China West Air, which carried 4.3 million passengers in the reference year, topped the AAI ranking for the first time, reaching 83% of the technically achievable optimal potential due, says atmosfair, to its very dense seating and very high occupancy. The Chongqing-based airline, which was founded in 2006, has a fleet of 27 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft with an average age of 3.4 years.
TUIfly was ranked the best charter airline worldwide through its use of efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800 that maximises seating configurations and the carrier’s high occupancy levels. LATAM Brasil (formed from the merger of TAM and LAN) was ranked the highest network carrier, followed by Air Berlin. Other network carriers featuring in the top 30 rankings were Royal Brunei, KLM, Jet Airways, Shenzhen, Virgin Auustralia, Sichuan, Avianca, Alaska and Emirates.
Low-cost carriers are rated separately because, says atmosfair, they often benefit from subsidies and therefore can offer artificially low ticket prices compared to distances flown and therefore produce CO2 emissions that otherwise would not have been created in the first place. The best low cost carriers were ranked in efficiency class B – which included Aer Lingus Regional, AirAsia, easyJet, IndiGo, Indonesia AirAsia, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Spring Airlines and Thai AirAsia – but the majority were in class C and some even in D.
Non-profit atmosfair was founded in 2004 following a research project for the German government and advises organisations on reducing CO2 emissions at source through, for example using video conferencing instead of business travel. Remaining CO2 emissions are compensated on behalf of clients and individuals through CDM gold standard offsets. By using the index, environmentally-conscious travellers can choose the most efficient carriers on a given route.
Commercialisation of ATJ fuels gets boost with funding from the US DOE to develop two demo facilities
Thu 12 Jan 2017 – The commercialisation of alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel in the United States has taken a step forward with awards from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) towards the development of two demonstration-scale facilities. As part of the DOE’s first-phase federal funding of six projects in total, LanzaTech will receive $4 million to design and plan a demo facility using industrial off gases to produce low-carbon jet and diesel fuels. The second award of $3.7 million has been made to Georgia-based AVAPCO to help develop a demo-scale integrated biorefinery that combines the company’s biomass-to-ethanol process with project partner Byogy’s ATJ technology to produce renewable jet fuel from woody biomass. The two projects are expected to match at least half of the DOE funding and, depending on their progress, continuation to the second phase could each attract further funding of up to $45 million in fiscal year 2018 towards construction of the facilities.
“Economics and sustainability are key to realising the potential of alternative aviation fuels,” said Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech CEO, commenting on the award. “Jet fuel accounts for as much as 40% of an airline’s operating costs and the sector has made substantial commitments to reduce their CO2 emissions by 2025. So fuels must address both of these needs to succeed at commercial scale. Thanks to the DOE, the partners in this project will accelerate the commercial production of low-cost, low-carbon jet, gasoline and diesel in the United States.”
Outside the US, LanzaTech is currently building its first two commercial ethanol facilities using waste gases. In China it is partnering with the country’s largest steel company, Shougang, and in Belgium with ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel manufacturer. LanzaTech will work with ArcelorMittal on the DOE-funded US project, which is expected to produce up to 3 million gallons per year of jet and diesel fuels by 2020.
Under the LanzaTech process, the waste gases from steel manufacturing, which would otherwise be flared, are recycled to produce a low-cost ethanol intermediate, Lanzanol. In the US project, both Lanzanol and cellulosic ethanol will then be converted to jet fuel via the ATJ process developed by LanzaTech and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
“The ability to produce tightly-specified aviation fuel or, alternatively, high-cetane diesel is a unique feature of this technology that will enhance its competitiveness in US as well as global markets,” said Suresh Baskaran, Chief Science and Technology Officer for PNNL’s Energy and Environment Directorate.
The technology was initially developed with DOE funding by PNNL and subsequently scaled up by LanzaTech to produce 4,000 gallons of sustainable jet fuel from Lanzanol and other ethanol sources for fuel quality testing and ASTM approval purposes, plus a proving flight with airline partner Virgin Atlantic that is yet to take place.
To date, a complete set of specification and fit for purpose data has been collected in collaboration with the Air Force Research Lab and Southwest Research Institute. LanzaTech’s Freya Burton said a research report was submitted last year and aviation OEMs are currently reviewing the data to decide the next step in the fuel evaluation process for eventual revision of the ASTM D7566 Annex 5 to include ethanol as a feedstock.
To demonstrate process versatility on the US project, reports the company, ethanol from other waste gas streams will be converted, including Californian agricultural residue-derived cellulosic ethanol produced via fermentation of biomass syngas by industrial biotechnology company Aemetis. Illinois-based Ambitech will be LanzaTech’s engineering partner, with an additional engineering contribution from Aemetis.
Other project partners include technology providers Petron Scientech, CRI Catalyst Company, Nexceris and Gardner Denver Nash; Michigan Technological University, which will be evaluating the environmental footprint of the fuels being produced; and Audi, which will evaluate diesel and gasoline fuel properties.
In addition, the project has received support from Airlines for America (A4A) and the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI).
“We are excited to see this demonstration-scale effort moving forward, and laud BETO’s selection of LanzaTech and their unique technology for this award,” commented CAAFI Executive Director Steve Csonka. “The aviation enterprise remains committed to the use of competitively-priced sustainable alternative jet fuel, and we look forward to continuing to work with LanzaTech on several ongoing efforts that we believe can lead to near-term, full-scale commercialisation.”
Last week, BETO and the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released a Funding Opportunity Announcement to support research and development of ‘Integrated Biorefinery (IBR) Optimization’. Funding of up to $22.7 million is being made available to address the financial and technical challenges involved in IBR scale up.
Swedavia takes first delivery of jet biofuel purchased through the Nordic Fly Green Fund initiative
Wed 11 Jan 2017 – Swedish airport operator Swedavia has become the first company to purchase jet biofuel through the Nordic Fly Green Fund initiative, which aims to provide finance to assist in the development of large-scale jet biofuel production and usage in the region. Swedavia took delivery of 450 tonnes of biofuel, costing SEK7.5 million ($825,000), just before the New Year and corresponds to the amount of fuel used for the company’s business travel in 2016. The fuel was used on a Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) flight from Stockholm Arlanda to Copenhagen on January 5 and marked another step in being the first time jet biofuel has been supplied to an aircraft through the airport’s regular fuel logistics infrastructure. Swedavia said its investment in the fuel would help both promote domestic production and achieve the ambition of making Swedish domestic air travel fossil-free by 2030.
“We at Swedavia want to lead the way and help increase the demand for aviation biofuel,” commented CEO Jonas Abrahamsson. “We pay the added cost for the more expensive biofuel, which is something that other companies, organisations and individuals also have an opportunity to do today. When demand rises, market players will dare to invest in this alternative to today’s fuel.”
The initiative to purchase jet biofuel is also part of Swedavia’s target of zero emissions of fossil CO2 from its own operations by 2020.
The jet biofuel was produced by AltAir Fuels in the United States and delivered by SkyNRG in partnership with Air BP.
The Fly Green Fund was set up by SkyNRG, the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation (NISA) and Karlstad Airport, with five partners: Swedavia, Braathens, SAS, KLM and a leading business aviation company, EFS. The partners pay the Fund’s administrative costs so that the money coming into the fund can be used to towards jet biofuel purchase and production. Companies and individuals can then offset their air travel carbon footprint through payments to the Fund, which has been set up as a non-profit company. So far, it has three corporate customers with annual agreements – Swedavia, Löfbergs and Resia – and a growing number of private customers who can pay directly from their mobile phones via a Swedish payment system called Swish. Swedavia has promoted this method at its airports through social channels.
Three-quarters of the funds received are used for the purchase of sustainable jet biofuel, the remainder to support production in the Nordic region of such fuels.
Fly Green Fund Managing Director Maria Fiskerud described the Swedavia jet biofuel purchase as a milestone for the Fund.
“By buying sustainable aviation fuel for their staff flights, Swedavia reduces its own carbon footprint and contributes to developing a sustainable future for aviation,” she said. “Our other corporate and Swish customers have contributed as well. We are grateful to everyone that has been part of this. It is a real joint effort and shows that together we can grow the sustainable aviation market in the Nordics. We have set an example for others to follow.”
Added SkyNRG CFO Theye Veen: “It is great to see that so much is happening in the Nordics. After founding the Fly Green Fund two years ago and after a lot of ground work, this is a huge result thanks to Swedavia. It is a good example that airports are perfectly positioned to support the development of sustainable aviation fuels.”
COMMENTARY: Regional action must be front and centre in efforts to cut aviation’s climate impact
Tue 10 Jan 2017 – For too long, the debate about addressing aviation emissions has been reduced to regional versus global measures, with an assumption by many that global always trumps regional. Now the dust has settled on the 39th ICAO Assembly, we can see for the first time what a global measure can deliver, and the results are not as remotely encouraging for global action as many presumed, writes Andrew Murphy of Transport & Environment (T&E).
Research commissioned by T&E has found that environmental coverage of ICAO’s global market based measure (the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – CORSIA) has the potential to deliver fewer emission reductions over its lifetime than the full inclusion of aviation emissions in a reformed EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
Even if the geographic scope of the EU ETS is restricted to cover only flights within Europe and half of the emissions from flights to and from Europe, CORSIA barely edges out the EU ETS over its 2021-2035 lifetime. And all this presumes CORSIA will include effective enforcement and airtight offset rules – which is far from certain.
What makes these findings so important is that Europe took most of its aviation emissions out of the EU ETS for at least five years in order to facilitate an ICAO outcome, and may extend this exclusion for another four years while ICAO preparations continue – making a total of nine years of delay, all to facilitate a global measure which has the potential to deliver even less ambition than Europe acting regionally.
What explains this result? The simple reason is that the EU ETS is far more environmentally ambitious than ICAO’s CORSIA, with a reformed EU ETS delivering a declining cap from 2004-2006 emissions while CORSIA fails to deliver even the promised stabilising of emissions at 2020 levels. This of course isn’t so surprising – the EU is a major emitter, responsible for 18% of all global aviation emissions, and it’s appropriate that along with other major emitters like North America, it adopts more ambitious policies. ICAO’s remit, as in areas such as safety and security, is to establish global minimum – or lowest common denominator – standards.
European policy-makers should read the T&E report in full. The current European Commission has bought into the industry line that global is automatically better, and that European climate action can be suborned entirely to ICAO (and IMO for shipping) for climate action. Its transport decarbonisation paper, released last summer, is a classic example of this flawed thinking. While it proposed quite ambitious action for other transport modes, both shipping and aviation were outsourced to the lowest common denominator approaches at IMO and ICAO, directly contradicting the Kyoto and Paris requirements that developed countries can and must do more.
It’s clear that CORSIA falls well short of the ambition required by the Paris Agreement and resistance will remain strong within ICAO to do much more, given the fragility of the whole deal as it is today.
Encouraging greater efficiency is essential, but CORSIA won't deliver this. CORSIA’s low level of ambition and the chronically low price of offsets, which industry and many in ICAO are striving to perpetuate, will provide no incentive for airlines to deliver in-sector emission reductions. Quite the contrary, ultra-low offset costs can easily be passed on to customers, effectively neutralising environmental risk for the industry. ICAO’s failed efforts last year to agree a CO2 standard that would have any impact on efficiency of future aircraft is further strong evidence, were it needed, that the airline industry has neatly positioned ICAO where it wants it to be.
The report rehabilitates the necessity of regional ambition, which has endured almost a decade of sustained attack by industry and their compliant transport ministries. We can now toss out the myth that we have to choose between global and regional action – neither alone will deliver the ambition required. And with ICAO’s Assembly resolution endorsing developed countries taking the lead, the path is open to regional ambition like never before.
European policy-makers should not delay anymore – the EU ETS must be strengthened and defended. The full scope snap-back now in force should apply at least until 2021 when voluntary offsetting by carriers is set to start to operate. For flights within Europe, CORSIA should never apply as it would cut the emission reductions the EU ETS could achieve by three-quarters. In addition, reliance on offsets for aviation would undermine Europe’s decision that as from 2021 economy-wide emission reductions must be delivered within Europe.
Industry lobbying for global over regional is now exposed for what it is – not an effort at greater ambition but an attempt to weasel out of climate action. Industry should drop its hysterics about a ‘patchwork of measures’. The map of CORSIA participating countries is the ultimate patchwork. Instead it should accept that only global and regional measures, working in tandem, can deliver the ambition needed. And European policy-makers should accept they have a responsibility to ensure Europe leads on climate ambition in all sectors, and not try to outsource the job to ICAO.
The author, Andrew Murphy, is a policy officer with Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).