GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 26 MAY 2017
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ICAO in race to finalise CORSIA details as it concludes latest global outreach initiative
Fri 26 May 2017 – With barely 18 months before all countries with aircraft operators undertaking international flights are required to start monitoring carbon emissions, ICAO faces a major challenge in finalising the important standards that will underpin its global CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme. While 69 Member States have so far agreed to participate from the beginning of the pilot phase in 2021, many more will be affected by the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements of the scheme. However, the ICAO leadership is confident that the draft standards are on course to be formally adopted in a year’s time, although concedes additional resources will be needed for the development and implementation of the scheme. The UN agency’s environment chief, Jane Hupe, told a recent seminar in Montreal that CORSIA should not be seen as a ‘carte blanche’ which allowed the sector to increase its emissions unchecked and the aim was to do everything possible to reduce aviation’s climate impact.
ICAO has just completed a series of five regional seminars to inform its Member States on the details and progress of CORSIA, with a total of 431 participants from 92 States that collectively account for 94.8% of total international air traffic (RTKs).
“The objective of these seminars was to ensure the successful and timely implementation of CORSIA by States,” Hupe told GreenAir. “The seminars shared information on CORSIA’s design elements and provided an opportunity for States to share their existing readiness to implement the scheme. They provided momentum behind a desire to learn more about the details of CORSIA and what is required for implementation.
“This is a great sign for two reasons: firstly, there is a growing interest in CORSIA and with that we anticipate a growth in participation in the pilot and first phase, and, secondly, the level of understanding from the States has increased to a point where they are starting to ask more in-depth questions.”
The series concluded with the Montreal seminar that discussed the outcome as well as the lessons learned from the regional events, one of the most important being the need by States for assistance and resources – so-called capacity-building. Whereas mandatory reporting by US airlines to their government on jet fuel consumption has been in place for decades and airlines operating in Europe have been subject to MRV provisions under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for over five years, this is new territory for many States and their aircraft operators. Even those States that are not participating in the voluntary phase of CORSIA will have to set up a carbon emissions monitoring and reporting system.
“Continuing to bridge the gap in the level of understanding will remain a primary focus of the ICAO Secretariat,” said Hupe.
For ICAO itself, developing and implementing the scheme on time is proving a major challenge. “Our initial assessment has indicated that we will need additional resources to complete the development and implementation of CORSIA, as this is above and beyond what we have done in the past,” said ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu in an interview on the sidelines of the Montreal seminar. “CORSIA is the first global market-based measure (MBM) scheme for any industry sector so, yes, this is outside our historical experience.
“That said, ICAO is very well positioned to undertake this role as it is not only working closely with its Member States, but also coordinating with expert groups made up of industry, NGOs and other UN organisations. This collaboration is key to the success of CORSIA.”
Dr Aliu said States had been petitioned to provide additional support to meet the demands of developing and implementing the scheme, and ICAO was encouraging States to build CORSIA partnerships and cooperate on implementation. “We are also working very closely with and receiving expertise support from the UNFCCC Secretariat, as well as exploring partnerships with other international organisations and States,” he added.
During a meeting held at the recent UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn, Ellysar Baroudy of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) said in a presentation the organisation was in talks with ICAO over the use REDD+ forestry credits of offset emissions under CORSIA. The FCPF assists developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
“The growing commitment of our partners to support the ICAO capacity building and assistance efforts demonstrates how critical these activities are to the achievement of ICAO’s aspirational climate goals,” said Dr Aliu. “Adequate financial resources within the international aviation sector itself are paramount to the realisation of the goals.”
Work has already begun to provide States with some of the necessary tools to assist them with CORSIA implementation. Set up following the ICAO Assembly in 2010, Member States were encouraged to submit State Action Plans that identified the appropriate measures to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation in line with the ICAO aspirational goals. The number of States that have since submitted plans is now 103, representing more than 90% of international RTKs.
“Action plans provide the big picture,” explained Hupe. “Many States have been working to update their plans with a more robust quantification of the expected emissions reduction from the selected mitigation measures. There is a clear synergy between action plans and CORSIA. For example, plans containing a robust data collection, monitoring and reporting mechanism provide a good basis from which CORSIA MRV can be derived. They can also reflect the results of CO2 emissions offsetting under CORSIA by participating States.”
The CORSIA resolution adopted by the ICAO Assembly last October calls for the technical framework of the scheme – the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) – to be adopted by the governing Council in 2018 and for implementation by Member States from 2019. Under the guidance of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), an expert task force (GMTF) is working on technical recommendations concerning MRV requirements and processes, which will serve as the basis for draft SARPs. These will be reviewed and approved by CAEP before they are passed to the Council for its review, which is expected to begin later this year, before consultation with States.
Work also continues at ICAO to determine the eligibility of emissions units, or carbon credits, for use by aircraft operators to meet offsetting requirements under CORSIA. This is an area of much speculation, which Hupe is keen to dampen. “This is work in progress for which more time is needed before a decision is made,” she said.
Gabon and El Salvador are the latest countries electing to participate in CORSIA from the beginning – two countries that would be entitled under the de minimis rules to be exempted from the entire duration of the scheme. Joining them is Saudi Arabia, a long-standing opponent of aviation CO2 market-based measures. Hupe says the move followed the country’s active participation at the Middle East regional CORSIA seminar in Cairo in April.
This brings the number of States intending to join the pilot and voluntary phases from 2021 to 69 and ICAO is expecting more to take part from the beginning.
“The provision of capacity building and assistance will encourage more ICAO Member States to join the scheme. I am very pleased with the progress being made and look forward to more States volunteering in the future,” said an optimistic Dr Aliu, who has no doubts that all the countries which have already pledged to participate, including China and the United States, will take part from the beginning and others will follow as the SARPs are finalised.
“Through the recent CORSIA seminars and other capacity building materials, I believe States will have a better view of the functioning, the implications and the benefits of participating in CORSIA and opt to volunteer for participation in the pilot and first phases.”
Two important international aviation nations, India and Russia, continue to oppose joining the voluntary phases although their Council representatives attended the Montreal seminar and made interventions. Russia has consistently argued against the application of MBMs to international aviation on the grounds they take away finance that could be used to improve efficiencies and safety, and has doubts about the ICAO aspirational carbon-neutral growth goal. India’s worry is that CORSIA could adversely impact the country’s growing aviation market and has some concerns over the technical aspects of implementation. However, it has not entirely ruled out participation from the first phases and it is understood certain Indian airlines are encouraging their country to join.
Although the 69 countries that are now signed up represent 87.6% of international RTKs, this still leaves well over 100 States that have not volunteered and Hupe said efforts would continue to encourage them to join and, if they haven’t already done so, submit Action Plans.
“When we have the draft SARPs ready we will reach out to these States that have not yet engaged in the CORSIA process,” said Hupe.
In conjunction with carbon market trade body International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the aviation industry too embarked on a regional series of workshops recently to help airlines understand the workings of CORSIA.
Michael Gill, IATA’s Director of Aviation Environment, told the Montreal seminar there was now a higher level of understanding about CORSIA that had been broadened to a wider group of stakeholders. “We have found a strong need for more capacity building but also a desire and commitment from everyone to see CORSIA successfully implemented,” he said. “IATA and the other regional airline and business aviation associations will continue to support the process and work together to upscale the understanding of their members so they are ready for implementation.
“The key aspects for an aircraft operator are having the right resources in place and knowing in advance what is required to comply with CORSIA. We are also looking for as much preliminary information from ICAO as is possible, and as early as possible, while recognising that the Council has the final word in approving the SARPs.
“It is also important to recognise that CORSIA, which has been conceived as gap filler, is just one of the basket of measures [to reduce aviation CO2 emissions] and everyone in the sector needs to continue driving ahead with work on the other measures.”
On the sidelines of the seminar, Nancy Young, VP Environment at Airlines for America (A4A), told GreenAir there was still more work to be done behind the scenes by the CAEP GMTF and gaps to be filled but the draft SARPs were well in hand. “When people can see those, which we hope will be in the next couple of months, CORSIA is going to become a lot more real and operators can really begin to prepare,” she said. “There is a question about when the Council can release this information but there are discussions over whether some guidance material can be issued before the formal SARPs are published in the middle of 2018. This would help States and operators advance their preparations.”
New technology and operational efficiencies help easyJet reduce emissions below 80 grams per passenger/km
Tue 23 May 2017 – Fuel efficiency gains at Europe’s second-largest airline easyJet have resulted in carbon emissions per passenger kilometre falling below 80 grams for the first time and are on track to be reduced by a third in 20 years, it says. The low-cost carrier attributes the milestone to improving technology and a continued long-term focus on reducing weight and improving operating efficiency. Since it began reporting on carbon emissions in 2000, easyJet’s emissions have reduced from 116.2 grams to 79.98 grams – a reduction of 31%. It is now targeting a further reduction to around 77 grams by 2020 as new Airbus A320neo aircraft join the fleet.
“At easyJet we want to make sure that we take our passengers where they want to go with the lowest carbon emissions. Through our efficiency programme we continually look for ways to reduce fuel usage and emissions,” said Captain Chris Foster, who leads the airline’s carbon efficiency programme.
“By using modern aircraft and flying them efficiently, we will have successfully reduced the carbon impact of our flights by a third in 20 years, delivering a step change in the environmental impact of our flights.”
The easyJet fleet is made up of 266 Airbus A320 family aircraft, with new deliveries since 2013 featuring Sharklet wing tips that deliver a 4% fuel and CO2 saving. Next month, the carrier will take delivery of its first of 130 new generation CFM LEAP-1A-powered A320neo aircraft, which are expected to be 15% more fuel efficient as well as reducing noise by half.
The airline says its engineering and flight operations teams are constantly looking for every small efficiency gain and to ensure the aircraft are as lightweight as possible. Pilots are using only one of the two engines while taxiing, which averages 20 minutes for each flight, the equivalent of around four million miles a year. Airport electrical power is used as much as possible on the ground, rather than the aircraft’s jet fuel-burning auxiliary power unit. Under the airline’s enhanced maintenance programme, aircraft engine compressors are washed regularly to ensure they operate as efficiently as possible.
Weight reductions onboard the aircraft have also been made and the Recaro seats in use offer increased passenger space, says easyJet, while being 26% lighter than previous seats. In October 2015, easyJet ordered 30,000 SL3510 lightweight seats from Recaro, both to retrofit its current fleet and equip new aircraft. At just 9kg per seat, every retrofitted aircraft will be 600kg lighter than before. Replacing 27kg of paper navigational charts on each aircraft with Panasonic Toughpads has delivered a reduction of over 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year since this was completed in 2014.
EasyJet is also looking to future technology to make further reductions in carbon emissions and, it says, “fundamentally change the way we fly.” The airline is developing a hybrid plane concept that would use a hydrogen fuel cell stowed in the aircraft’s hold. The zero-emissions system would capture energy as the aircraft brakes on landing to charge the system’s lightweight batteries when on the ground that can then be used by the aircraft, for example, when taxiing (see article).
It also recently announced it would be providing an airline operator’s perspective to US start-up Wright Electric, which is developing a commercial passenger plane to run on electrical battery power (see article).
EasyJet – Corporate Responsibility
Hawaiian celebrates “100 Percent Day” as it passes milestone to reduce APU usage
Tue 23 May 2017 – Hawaiian Airlines has achieved a key fuel and carbon emissions objective of having all its wide-body aircraft arriving at airports on a single day to be connected with electrical power at the gate. In the past year, the carrier has been working towards a goal of having gate power available to its entire wide-body fleet within three minutes of arrival as aircraft fly between Hawaii, 11 US cities and 10 international destinations. Through significantly reducing usage of onboard auxiliary power units (APUs) by an estimated 30 minutes a flight, Hawaiian estimates it could save around 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and cut CO2 emissions by 5,933 tonnes – roughly enough fuel to fly the airline’s wide-body fleet for a day.
APUs burn jet fuel to keep lights, avionics systems, air conditioning and other equipment on while the aircraft is on the stand but airports are also keen for airlines to make use of more efficient external power where possible. Hawaiian line service and ground crews have already met the three-minute target on 92% of flights on average and during the recent “100 Percent Day”, 47 wide-body flights received external power at airports from Auckland to New York.
“It’s very much like a carefully choreographed dance requiring great timing and tight coordination of everyone involved in bringing our airplanes to the gate once they’ve landed,” explained Jon Snook, the airline’s EVP and COO. “Our teams must ensure the availability of working external power at the gate, monitor minute-by-minute the estimated arrival time of the aircraft and ensure all personnel are in place and ready to receive the aircraft.”
Hawaiian already provides external gate power to its narrow-body fleet that average 170 daily flights between the Hawaiian islands. It also owns portable power units that can be deployed in the event jet-bridge electricity is unavailable or malfunctioning.
Reducing APU usage aligns with its ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment, says the airline, which claims to operate one of the youngest fleets in the US industry, with 18 new A321neos shortly to be added starting later this year. Last year, Hawaiian conducted two demonstration gate-to-gate best practice flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland under the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE).
It also recently became the first US carrier to join the IAGOS international scientific monitoring project that is researching climate change and air quality worldwide. Hawaiian has equipped an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool to collect valuable data from across its far-reaching network.
Singapore Airlines aims to adopt regular usage of sustainable fuels as it starts first in a series of biofuel flights
Wed 3 May 2017 – Singapore Airlines (SIA) has undertaken its first sustainable biofuel flight as part of a series of 12 ‘green package’ flights over a three-month period on the non-stop San Francisco to Singapore route. Operating its latest-generation and most fuel-efficient aircraft – the Airbus A350-900 – the airline claims the series of flights are the first in the world to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised flight operations. The biofuel for the SQ31 flight is produced by AltAir Fuels from used cooking oil and supplied by SkyNRG in cooperation with North American Fuel Corporation (NAFCO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Aviation Oil (Singapore) and EPIC Fuels. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is facilitating the use of the optimised flight operations and air traffic management (ATM) best practices to reduce the fuel burn and carbon emissions from the flights.
The ‘green package’ initiative is aimed, reports CAAS, at supporting efforts under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 to develop Singapore as a Leading Green Economy, where businesses adopt more efficient and sustainable processes and measures to reduce their resource and environmental impact. The flights are also intended to raise awareness of sustainable biofuels for aviation and provide an insight on the economics, logistical requirements and performance of biofuels. In the long run, the participants in the series hope to push for the adoption of regular, commercially-viable sustainable aviation biofuel usage in the country.
“This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong. “This initiative is especially memorable as our first biofuel flight departed on 1 May, when the airline celebrated its 70th anniversary.”
China Aviation Oil (CAO) is the largest physical jet fuel trader in the Asia-Pacific region and the sole supplier of imported jet fuel to China’s civil aviation industry, as well as a supplier of jet fuel through subsidiaries to airports in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
“CAO’s key strategic objective is to become a niche player in future sustainable transportation fuels,” said CAO CEO Meng Fanqiu. “This first biofuel transaction marks our Group’s maiden contribution to a sustainable and healthy aviation future.”
Having already supplied over 25 airlines worldwide with sustainable aviation fuels, SkyNRG CEO Maarten van Dijk said his company was now committed over the long term to working with SIA, which is a member of the industry’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, to develop a regional supply for such fuels in Singapore.
The optimised flight operations to be employed during the ‘green package’ series include User-Preferred Routes, Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedure, 30/30 Reduced Oceanic Separation and Time-Based Arrivals Management.
Both SIA and CAAS have participated in the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) programme, and in January 2010 carried out a demonstration flight from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo that yielded fuel savings of 6%. In May 2011, regular ASPIRE flights were launched on the Los Angeles to Singapore route, with other routes since being added, including SIA’s ‘Capital Express’ service between Singapore, Canberra and Wellington. The ‘green package’ flights will also adopt ATM best practices from the ASPIRE programme.
“This is part of CAAS’ ongoing effort to develop new initiatives to achieve the sustainable growth of aviation,” commented CAAS Director-General Kevin Shum on the latest series of flights. “Collaboration is key in this effort. CAAS is therefore committed to continuing our work with industry partners to advance and drive greater innovation on this front.”
Singapore Airlines – Environmental Efforts
LAX and Gatwick step up recycling efforts with initiatives to turn airport waste into energy
Tue 2 May 2017 – Los Angeles International (LAX) and London Gatwick airports have started recycling initiatives to turn waste into either natural gas fuel or onsite energy use. In partnership with the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN), LAX is beginning a 90-day pilot programme involving the collection of food waste from a targeted sample of airports restaurants and concessionaires, which will then be transported offsite for conversion into natural gas using an anaerobic digestion process. Solid and liquid organic waste that cannot be converted into methane gas will be converted into commercial-grade fertiliser. Gatwick Airport and DHL Supply Chain, meanwhile, have opened a new waste management plant, which they claim makes the airport the first in the world to turn both food and packaging waste into energy onsite.
The Organic Waste Recycling Pilot programme at LAX involves one full-service and one fast food restaurant, a café and the United Club airline lounge, which are considered representative samples of the types of food-selling establishments found throughout the airport. At each location, the Maintenance Services Division (MSD) of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) will collect food waste from each and prepare it for collection and transportation. LASAN will then transport the waste to the City of Los Angeles Transfer Site for further consolidation before transporting it to CR&R Environmental Services for the anaerobic digestion process and conversion into natural gas fuel.
“We expect the programme will become a significant part of the wide variety of environmentally-conscious programmes now underway at LAX and Van Nuys,” said LAWA CEO Deborah Flint.
LAX already has another food recycling initiative in place, the Harvest Food Donation programme, in which the airport and concessionaires have so far donated over 150,000 pounds (68 tonnes) of unconsumed, pre-packaged food to local non-profit organisations. LAWA MSD has also removed and repurposed over 47 tons of non-native plants for animal consumption at Los Angeles Zoo as part of its work in protecting the health of the LAX Dunes habitat, home of the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly. Under LAX’s Clean Construction programme, more than 83% of debris was recycled during the construction of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, as well as leading to significant GHG savings during recent taxiway construction.
The new £3.8 million ($4.9m) waste management plant at Gatwick disposes of Category 1 waste onsite and converts it and other organic waste into energy to heat the waste management site and power its water recovery system. Through the plant, waste is turned into a dry-powdered organic material, used as fuel to heat the site and dry the waste for the next day.
Category 1 waste forms the majority of waste from non-EU flights and is defined as food waste or anything mixed with it, such as packaging, cups and meal trays from international transport vehicles. The airport currently treats 2,200 tonnes of Category 1 waste annually offsite, around 20% of the total 10,500 tonnes waste generated.
The new plant will process around 10 tonnes of waste per day and includes a waste sorting centre to maximise recycling onsite. By concentrating all activities in one location, Gatwick says its waste is transported four times more efficiently than before and so reducing local traffic and carbon emissions.
The airport aims to save £1,000 ($1,300) per day in energy and waste management costs through the plant’s operation, which has the capacity to produce additional energy that could one day be used to power other areas of the airport.
Gatwick is aiming to improve its current recycling rate of 49% to around 85% by 2020, higher than any other UK airport.
“On our journey to become the UK’s most sustainable airport, our new world-beating waste plant turns a difficult waste problem into a sustainable energy source,” said Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate. “We’re confident it sets the benchmark for others to follow in waste management.”
Los Angeles World Airports – Recycling , Gatwick Airport – Sustainability