GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 25 JUNE 2018
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British Airways waste-to-fuels project with Velocys secures £4.9m funding including a UK government grant
Fri 22 June 2018 – The British Airways municipal solid waste (MSW) to jet fuel project with renewable fuels company Velocys has secured funding totalling £4.9 million ($6.6m) to deliver the next development phase. The package includes a grant of £434,000 ($580,000) from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition. UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the project had the potential to transform the aviation industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. The remainder of the funding has been committed by the project’s two partners and Shell. The next phase, expected to be completed in early 2019, will include a detailed pre-front end engineering and design (FEED) study and identification of a potential site for the production plant.
The award of the DfT grant, together with the new policy support provided by the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), were welcomed by the project partners. “We are very pleased that the government has recognised the importance of alternative fuels for aviation and has supported our joint project with Velocys that will help to reduce carbon emissions and create UK jobs and growth,” said British Airways CEO Alex Cruz.
The BA/Velocys project follows the airline’s ill-fated partnership with Solena that folded in November 2015 (see article), having failed to attract the necessary funding or gain government support at the time. That project had undertaken an engineering study and also identified a location for the production site, an ex-refinery by the River Thames estuary to the east of London.
The next phase of the new project will choose a location from a short-list that has been drawn up and then obtain the relevant planning permissions before the start of site permitting activities. Subject to a final investment decision that is expected to be taken in the first half of 2020, the plant would take hundreds of thousands of tonnes – the partners have not yet been more specific on production capacity – of post-recycled waste, destined for landfill or incineration, and convert it into sustainable fuels. The jet fuel produced is expected to deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions of over 70% and a 90% reduction in particulate matter emissions compared with conventional jet fuel.
Velocys will lead the project and has committed £1.5 million ($2m) to this next development phase, a significant proportion of which, it says, is in the form of an in-kind contribution. The company is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and capitalised at around £40 million ($53m), with 25% of the shares held by Russian oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.
“Successful funding of this next development phase further demonstrates the strength of Velocys’ renewable fuels business,” said David Pummell, CEO of Velocys. “Today the UK has taken another step forward towards becoming a world leader in low carbon aviation. Government funding, recent policy changes and successful completion of the feasibility study have enabled Velocys and its partners to move forward to the next phase in developing the UK’s first waste-to-renewable jet fuel plant.”
UK-based Advanced Plasma Power (APP) has been selected as the preferred gasification technology licensor for the project. The company offers a conversion solution of waste to synthesis gas before onward conversion to fuels through Velocys’ Fischer-Tropsch process. APP says its Gasplasma process combines two well-established technologies – gasification and plasma treatment – that have decades of proven commercial operation.
Velocys reports it will be working with APP during the pre-FEED stage and, subject to appropriate conditions being met, intends to use its technology for the project.
Having recently announced a sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) strategic tie-up with Dutch supplier SkyNRG (see article), oil major Shell will supply technical support to the project.
“Shell’s ambition is to be a leader in advancing the sustainable solutions that can deliver a low carbon future for the aviation industry,” said Anne Anderson, Vice President Global Aviation. “In addition to combining innovative technologies with a diverse set of technical expertise and industry backgrounds, this project brings together partners across the aviation industry that share this aim. Biofuels can play a valuable role in a future low carbon energy system, and especially in sectors like aviation where the alternatives to liquid fuels are limited.”
The changes to the RTFO that came into effect in April, which now enable renewable jet fuels to qualify for credits under the scheme (see article), will boost the long-term viability of the project, believe the partners.
“The waste-to-jet fuel project has the potential to help transform the aviation industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality around our country’s airports,” said the Transport Secretary. “That is why we are providing support to this important technology as part of our £22 million of funding [see article] for alternative fuels, which will pave the way for clean growth in the UK.
“Supporting important developments like this is just part of our work to help ensure our aviation sector is greener than ever, and we will explore further measures as part of our Aviation Strategy.”
London Gatwick adds carbon neutrality renewal with new accreditation to zero waste Carbon Trust standard
Fri 22 June 2018 – Just recertified as a carbon neutral airport through measures including 100% renewable electricity and Gold Standard carbon credits, London Gatwick has become the first airport to achieve a Zero Waste to Landfill accreditation from the Carbon Trust. The standard was launched in November 2016 to recognise an organisation’s achievements in reducing its environmental impact through actively diverting non-hazardous waste streams from landfill. Other recent initiatives by the airport include installing 100% energy efficient LED lights on the runway and introducing financial incentives for airlines using quieter aircraft. Gatwick has just published its annual Decade of Change report that monitors progress in 2017 against 10 sustainability targets.
Gatwick was the first London airport to become carbon neutral under the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation certification programme and its sustainability report shows a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions from fuel and energy last year.
“I warmly congratulate Gatwick on its ongoing sustainability drive and motivation to make further efficiencies, clearly embracing climate action as part of the company culture,” commented Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI Europe. “Its three-year renewal at the highest level of the programme, combined with a 360-degree strategy to lower its broader environmental impact is something that other airports and companies beyond air transport can learn from.”
Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport, also reports a 5% drop in annual energy consumption per passenger and airport operations well below annual mean air quality limits for both NO2 and PM10 emissions. It also saved one million litres of water last year in the airport’s valet parking car wash.
The Carbon Trust standard is intended to provide a robust framework for verifying zero waste to landfill claims, and is aligned with the methodology of the Carbon Trust Standard for waste. It aims to support an increasing number of organisations that want independent and credible recognition of their achievements in improved waste management.
Gatwick says it has met the standard through reducing waste and finding ways to reuse materials, and is turning waste into energy by building the world’s first on-airport plant able to convert aircraft cabin waste on site into energy (see article). It reports increased recycling rates including sending all empty coffee cups and plastic bottles for specialist recycling.
Previously, in 2016, the airport became one of only two UK airports to be awarded triple certification to the Carbon Trust standard for reducing carbon emissions and water use, and improving waste management.
“As an airport, we recognise the importance of a sustainable operation, which is why exceeding our ambitious environmental and community-focused targets has been a priority for us ever since new ownership in 2009,” said Gatwick Airport Chief Executive Stewart Wingate. “We will strive to improve our sustainability performance even further and will be introducing some more exciting initiatives in the coming months.”
Gatwick Airport – Community and Sustainability , The Carbon Trust Standard
Four more European airports become carbon neutral as Amsterdam Schiphol takes industry eco-innovation award
Thu 21 June 2018 – Four airports – Brussels, London Stansted, Rome Ciampino and Treviso – have joined 30 other European airports as carbon neutral certified under the airport industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. The highest of four levels in the programme, to reach neutrality airports have to reduce emissions under their direct control as much as possible and offset the remaining residual emissions. The industry trade association ACI Europe has set a target of having 100 carbon neutral airports in Europe by 2030. At its annual Best Airport Awards this week, carbon neutral Amsterdam Schiphol won the Eco-Innovation Award for its outstanding environmental performance and innovative approaches to environmental management. At ACI Europe’s annual meeting in Brussels, Dr Michael Kerkloh, its President and also CEO of Munich Airport, said sustainability was the next frontier in the industry’s evolution.
According to ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec, there are now 133 European airports in the carbon programme, which was launched in June 2009 by ACI Europe and has now been extended to all ACI world regions, with 237 airports in 66 countries participating. Those accredited in Europe were responsible for 65% of European air passenger traffic and in the year June 2017 to May 2018 collectively managed to cut CO2 emissions under their direct control (Scope 1 and 2) by 163,277 tonnes, a reduction of 7.6%.
The four levels of accreditation start with Mapping (Level 1), in which an airport first measures its carbon footprint, progressing on to Reduction of the airport operator’s carbon footprint (Level 2) and then engaging others on the airport site to reduce their CO2 (Level 3 Optimisation) before reaching Neutrality (Level 3+).
The programme is independently administered by engineering and environmental consultancy WSP and overseen by an independent advisory board of representatives from the UNFCCC, ICAO, UNEP, the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), Eurocontrol and Manchester Metropolitan University.
“At the UNFCCC, we regularly underline that genuine progress on climate action relies on a proactive approach by industry and society at large, not just governments,” commented Niclas Svenningsen of the UNFCCC’s Secretariat and who heads the Climate Neutral Now initiative. “Airports are one part of the air transport supply chain, but their example is powerful. I congratulate the newly certified carbon neutral airports and urge others to consider what they can do to be the next ones.”
Having joined the programme at the start, Brussels Airport had held Level 3 accreditation since 2012 before now moving to the highest level.
“Brussels Airport has been working for years to limit its impact on the environment. This forms part of our long-term vision of further developing the airport in a sustainable way,” said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. “Each and every business activity, project and management decision is tested against its impact on the environment. This conscious global approach has enabled the airport to reduce its carbon footprint year-on-year. Our target is to emit 40% less CO2 by 2030. Last year, we achieved a reduction of 34% in comparison to 2010. We are therefore well on our way to achieving our target.”
London Stansted, named by ACI Europe as being in the top five of the fastest growing large European airports, joins other MAG (Manchester Airports Group) airports Manchester and East Midlands in becoming carbon neutral. MAG becomes the UK’s first carbon neutral airport group. Rome Ciampino joins Rome Fiumicino to become the second carbon neutral airport operated by Aeroporti di Roma.
In awarding Amsterdam Schiphol its Eco-Innovation prize, the judges noted that in addition to its already-reached carbon neutral status, the airport is also aiming to achieve climate neutrality for aircraft emissions up to 3,000 feet. The airport was also recognised for its implementation of circular economy principles and the use of renewable energy.
Over the past year, Schiphol has laid claim to operating the largest electrical bus fleet in Europe at and around the airport, introduced the first wind turbines providing power totalling 20 GWh for the Royal Schiphol Group, installed sustainable heating and cooling at a number of piers and built a sustainably constructed morgue.
Ceremonies to make the airport awards and present the four carbon neutral airports with their accreditation took place at this year’s ACI Europe & World Annual General Assembly in Brussels this week. The President of ACI Europe and CEO of Munich Airport, Dr Michael Kerkloh, told the conference that Europe’s airports saw sustainability as the number one challenge for the future of aviation.
“By facilitating air connectivity for their communities, airports have a clear social mandate,” he said. “But beyond all the macro-level figures about the economic benefits of aviation, we must provide a satisfactory answer to our citizens when they ask this simple question: ‘What’s in it for me?’. For that, we must reinforce, prove and better articulate our wider societal value.”
He said the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme had shown the power of collective action by airports had delivered tangible results. To build on the achievement, Kerkloh said a broader vision of sustainability was now needed.
“This means that we need to go beyond environmental protection and CSR and also put sustainability in its socio-economic dimension at the core of our business strategy,” he said. “This is about increasing our outreach and contribution to our local communities, but also leveraging the function of airports as multi-purpose facilities and living spaces. For that, the Board of ACI Europe has mandated our organisation to develop, within a year, a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the airport industry. This will include looking at establishing a set of sustainability metrics for airports. This is an ambitious goal, and I really look forward to making sure we deliver by June 2019.
“Sustainability is the next frontier in our business evolution.”
Industry urges adoption of CORSIA MRV rules and rapid progress on offset eligibility and sustainable fuels criteria
Wed 20 June 2018 – Aviation industry representatives have urged members of the governing ICAO Council to adopt the rules necessary for the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The 214th Session of the 36-State Council is currently taking place in Montreal and is due to consider the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) before the meeting finishes next week. Since the agreement to implement the scheme was reached by all ICAO Member States at their Assembly in late 2016 (A39-3), this June session has been identified as crucial for the adoption of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) rules that affect every airline in the world with annual CO2 emissions from international flights above 10,000 tonnes. These operators are expected to submit emissions monitoring plans before the end of this September and then start monitoring their CO2 emissions from 1 January 2019.
“It is imperative that governments agree to these standards now, to give us in industry enough time to prepare for the 1 January start date for CORSIA compliance,” said Michael Gill, Executive Director of the cross-sector Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). “We have been hard at work for the past 18 months educating airlines and business aircraft operators about their obligations. We now need the standards to be adopted to provide certainty for operators as they prepare for implementation.”
The SARPs are part of a package of the scheme’s elements on which all States were asked for their comments. Since the consultation closed in March, the responses have been analysed by the ICAO Secretariat and the package reviewed by ICAO’s Air Navigation Commission (ANC), which provides support and advice to the Council on SARPs.
Although the SARPs are expected to be adopted by the Council this session as a new volume (IV) to Annex 16 (Environmental Protection) of the Chicago Convention, it is believed that other important elements of the package may not be decided. These include the eligibility criteria for emissions units to be permitted for use by the industry when offsetting its emissions growth and the sustainability criteria for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Some States are unhappy with the criteria that have been proposed and may seek changes. Other States want the package unchanged and adopted in its entirety but if the Council decides to reopen discussions then they have informed ICAO they will ask for changes of their own.
“These two remaining elements are just as important to the success of the scheme and operators need certainty on them as soon as possible,” said Gill. “We need to see further progress made this year on the offset units that can be eligible for use under CORSIA – this is to ensure that offset providers have enough time to develop suitable projects and to guarantee there is a sufficient volume of eligible units available for airlines to purchase. The rapid establishment of the technical advisory body to recommend eligible units is necessary.”
An alternative fuels technical group of experts under ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environment Protection (CAEP) had recommended to the Council 12 sustainability principles that should be enforced when defining the criteria for the use of sustainable aviation fuels that can be set against an airline’s offsetting requirements under CORSIA. However, as a result of interventions by some States, 10 of the principles have been sent back to CAEP by the Council for further analysis and evaluation. These States argue that the principles set the bar too high for large-scale SAF production, whereas others – including industry – see a need for further work on developing additional sustainability requirements.
“Sustainable aviation fuels are a core component of our industry’s future. The aviation industry feels it is imperative for any use of new energy sources to adhere to a strong set of sustainability criteria. Industry was part of the process to develop the draft criteria as part of ICAO technical discussions and urge the Council to complement the criteria already agreed with the remaining broader set of sustainability principles,” said Gill.
If adopted, the SARPs would become effective from October 2018 – the date by when a majority of States have to register their disagreement for the SARPs not to be implemented, although no difficulties are expected – and applicable from 1 January 2019.
ATAG – CORSIA , ICAO – CORSIA
Sustainable aviation fuels incentive under new EU renewable energy directive not enough, says IATA
Tue 19 June 2018 – The EU Council, European Parliament and European Commission have agreed a new post-2020 regulatory framework that includes an EU-wide binding renewable energy target for 2030 of 32% with a 14% for transport energy. The current Renewable Energy Directive (RED I) sets a 2020 target for 20% consumption but more ambition is required if climate commitments to the Paris Agreement targets are to be met, says the Commission. The new directive, RED II, includes reference to a contribution of aviation and marine fuels from renewable sources towards meeting the target, and aims to provide an added incentive for the supply of sustainable aviation fuels in the EU. However, IATA has expressed disappointment that the incentive does not go far enough.
One of the main thrusts of RED II is the phasing out of conventional food crop-based biofuels because of concerns over Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and a cap on their use is to be introduced starting at 7% in 2021 and progressively going down to 3.8% in 2030.
By contrast, feedstocks that have low ILUC impacts when used for biofuels should be promoted for their contribution to the decarbonisation of the economy, argues the Commission, especially feedstocks for advanced biofuels, for which technology is more innovative and less mature and therefore needs a higher level of support.
The RED revision therefore introduces an obligation on transport fuel suppliers to provide an increasing share of advanced biofuels. In order to give preference to their deployment, the contribution of advanced fuels supplied in the aviation and maritime sectors are to be considered 1.2 times their energy content. From 2021, advanced biofuels should also emit at least 70% fewer GHG emissions than fossil fuel alternatives.
However, said IATA, the multiplier does not go high enough and a major opportunity had been lost to create a regulatory framework to encourage the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
“On behalf of its 290 global airline members, IATA is disappointed in the outcome of the RED II trilogue,” said the association’s Regional VP for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman. “The aviation industry has committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and to cut CO2 emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050. But we need government support to bring sufficient quantities of SAF, at an affordable price, to market.”
An IATA spokesman told GreenAir: “We have been arguing for some time that the 1.2 multiplier should be increased, with 2 our preferred metric. But the important issue was to create a differential from maritime sustainable fuels, which are much easier to produce and therefore if there is no differential we won’t expect to see much incentive to produce SAF. This was recognised by the European Parliament and we had high hopes that a higher multiplier would make it through the trilogue. It did not, hence our disappointment.”
Added Schvartzman: “The outcome of a multiplier of just 1.2 means Europe will stay in the slow lane of SAF production. This decision means that not only is the EU not ready to support the de-carbonisation of aviation, but it is missing a huge opportunity to create jobs and improve fuel security in an uncertain world.
“Despite this disappointing outcome, the airline industry will continue to invest in SAF and a whole range of measures to cut carbon and create a sustainable future for air travel. And we call on Member States in the RED II implementation to consider specific support for aviation and also call on the Commission to establish a specific SAF strategy.”
In a more optimistic response to the RED II trilogue talks, a spokesman for one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of renewable transport fuels, Neste, said: “We welcome the support for aviation biofuels as emissions of aviation are growing and sustainable aviation biofuels, such as our MY Renewable Jet Fuel product, are one of the most efficient means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation industry.”
One outcome of the talks is reported to be a complete phase out of controversial palm oil use in European transport by 2030, despite protestations from two of the world’s leading producers, Malaysia and Indonesia. To date, airlines have resisted any use of palm oil in flights using biofuels. However, 88 civil society groups from 34 countries have sent an open letter calling on ICAO States to reject plans for the use of aviation biofuels to be incentivised under the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme, fearing that large quantities of biofuels made from palm oil will be used in order to meet greenhouse gas targets.
“Palm oil is one of the main drivers of deforestation worldwide, which a major cause of carbon emissions, yet we could soon see airlines rewarded under absurd, industry-friendly UN rules to burn biofuels made from it,” said Simone Lovera, Executive Director of Paraguay-based Global Forest Coalition, one of the letter’s signatories.
At its AGM last year in Cancun, IATA passed a resolution that committed the industry to ensuring SAF conform to “robust” sustainability standards.
Said IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac: “It is important people are reassured that CORSIA-compliant sustainable aviation fuels will be held to the highest environmental standards. Our resolution makes clear our determination that we will only use SAF that conserve an ecological balance and avoid the depletion of natural resources.”
An ICAO technical experts group has recommended 12 governing principles covering sustainability criteria for the production of sustainable aviation fuels for compliance under CORSIA but 10 have been sent back by the ICAO Council for further evaluation after disagreements were expressed by some countries, notably Brazil, a move that has angered EU States.
Oil giant Shell commits to sustainable aviation fuels as it enters long-term collaboration with SkyNRG
Tue 5 June 2018 – Once criticised for a lack of enthusiasm towards sustainable fuels for aviation, the global oil giants are now sensing an opportunity to meet a worldwide demand from the aviation sector for such fuels. Total and BP have already made significant investments in the field and now Shell has agreed a long-term strategic collaboration with Dutch sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplier SkyNRG. The multi-year partnership will bring together Shell Aviation’s technical and commercial expertise, global supply chain and carbon management operations with SkyNRG’s long track record and in-depth knowledge of the SAF market. The two parties stress their long-term commitment to developing opportunities and solutions for low-carbon aviation fuels. They say the initiative will be structurally supported by a joint business development fund.
The collaboration will focus on new opportunities to extend the use of and build more resilient SAF supply chains, coupled with the development of a range of comprehensive carbon management options to support customers of the two companies.
Shell supplies aviation fuels and lubricants at around 850 airports in 32 countries, refuelling, it says, an aircraft every 14 seconds on average.
“We want Shell to be a leader in the low-carbon transition in aviation fuels,” said Anne Anderson, Vice-President, Shell Aviation. “This agreement with industry pioneers SkyNRG demonstrates the type of progressive collaboration which can help us move towards a lower carbon emissions future. Working together, we believe we can advance sustainable solutions for the benefit of our entire industry.”
Responded SkyNRG CEO Maarten van Dijk: “In addition to bringing together the right mix of technical expertise and operational excellence, it’s the shared ambitions of SkyNRG and Shell Aviation to develop this new industry that makes this collaboration an obvious one. Shell Aviation’s long-term commitment sends a strong signal that the involvement from all players across the industry is critical to delivering the sustainable solutions that are vital for the future of aviation.”
Founded by KLM and Spring Associates in 2010 to develop the SAF market, RSB-certified SkyNRG has now supplied over 25 airlines on all continents.
Global airline industry urged to prepare for monitoring CO2 emissions as CORSIA nears adoption
Tue 5 June 2018 – With less than seven months before CO2 monitoring requirements under ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme come into force, the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) has reminded airlines and business aircraft operators of the urgent need to prepare. Although the voluntary pilot phase doesn’t start until 2021, all operators with international services – regardless of whether the country the operator is registered has agreed to join from the start – must start monitoring their CO2 emissions from 1 January 2019. A major reason for this is so a baseline of global emissions from international flights can be established for future carbon offsetting obligations. A lower baseline, which is fixed until the end of the scheme in 2035, as a result of a failure by operators to report emissions could lead to higher offsetting costs for the industry as a whole.
Speaking at the IATA annual general meeting in Sydney, ATAG Executive Director Michael Gill said: “We can be proud that the aviation sector has promoted and developed the world’s first sectoral climate change mechanism with CORSIA, but we also need to comply with it. From 1 January next year, all operators with international services must start monitoring and reporting their emissions. In fact, even before the end of this year, it is recommended that airlines have a monitoring plan in place.”
Gill reported ATAG had been working closely with IATA and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to help operators prepare for implementation.
“So far this year we have held 16 regional workshops and global webinars with over 200 airlines taking part. Another seven hands-on workshops will take place over the summer. In addition, a suite of tools is available to help operators meet their obligations under CORSIA. I am confident that the industry will be ready to play its role in making CORSIA a success and contributing to our broader climate action plan.”
He said there was a misconception by some that only those airlines based in countries that have volunteered to participate in the early phases of CORSIA were required to take action.
“We encourage all airlines to make sure that they assign a focal point in their organisation for CORSIA compliance and they are receiving all the information they need from their respective associations,” he said.
Gill called on governments around the world to speed up their preparations as well, a message echoed by IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac in his state-of-the-industry address at the AGM on Monday.
“The commitment to sustainability must be shared by governments,” he told delegates. “The 73 governments already signed on to CORSIA cover 88% of aviation. We want more to join – ideally 100% coverage. It’s not just about signing up. Under the leadership of ICAO, governments agreed to CORSIA as a universal measure to address aviation’s carbon footprint. They must put all their efforts into honouring that commitment with a successful implementation.”
ICAO’s 36-State governing Council starts its 214th Session next week in Montreal that will consider responses from all Member States to the draft CORSIA Implementation Package. As well as policy and guidance material, the Package contains the all-important Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for CORSIA, the mandatory rule-book that is expected to be adopted by the Council during the three-week Session. Following a final letter to all States on the adoption, States have until September to approve or disapprove the CORSIA SARPs and until November to file differences. The SARPs then become applicable from 1 January 2019.
Of ICAO’s 192 Member States, it is understood 103 have responded to the draft Package, with 64 providing no comments. Of the remaining 39 replies, 21 States – mainly from Europe and also the United States – supported the proposed elements of the Package as drafted but conditional on there being no subsequent revisions proposed to the main issues. The other 18 States provided comments, with some dissent, on those main issues which relate to the mandatory nature of CORSIA, sustainable aviation fuels and the eligibility of emissions units.
ATAG – Countdown to CORSIA , IATA - CORSIA , ICAO – CORSIA
Global CO2 emissions from airlines expected to rise 4.4% this year as fuel consumption continues to grow
Mon 4 June 2018 – Carbon emissions from airlines are forecast by IATA to grow to 897 million tonnes (Mt) in 2018 as a result of an historically high fuel consumption of 94 billion US gallons. This is an upward forecast from the industry association in December 2017 when it estimated carbon missions would reach 874 Mt from a lower fuel consumption. Its new forecast would represent a 4.4% increase on 2017 emissions of 859 Mt. Against a backdrop of increasing oil prices, IATA forecasts the airline industry will spend $188 billion on its fuel in 2018, or around 24.2% of its overall expenses, up from 21.4% in 2017. Speaking at the opening of its annual general meeting in Sydney, IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac urged more governments to join the ICAO CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme from the start in 2020 as well as support the implementation of sustainable aviation fuels.
Sustainability is central to our future, de Juniac said in his industry report. “From 1 January 2019 – less than seven months from now – all airlines must report fuel consumption in preparation for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA,” he told airline leaders. “This scheme will keep our promise to cap net emissions, achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020.
“But the commitment to sustainability must be shared by governments. The 73 governments already signed on to CORSIA cover 88% of aviation. We want more to join – ideally 100% coverage. It’s not just about signing up. Under the leadership of ICAO, governments agreed to CORSIA as a universal measure to address aviation’s carbon footprint. They must put all their efforts into honouring that commitment with a successful implementation.
“We also want governments to step up on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAFs have a critical role in our aim to cut emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050. But we need more governments to join the US and Europe in establishing policy frameworks to reduce cost and incentivise production.”
According to IATA statistics, the global CO2 level in 2005 was 650 Mt so the industry is already emitting well over half a billion tonnes per year more than its 2050 50% reduction target. Emissions in 2017 were 5.9% higher than in 2016 and if the anticipated 4.4% year-on-year increase in 2018 was to be maintained, the industry could be responsible for not far short of one billion tonnes of global CO2 by the start of CORSIA in 2020. It should be noted that CORSIA only covers emissions from international flights, which according to ICAO’s environment committee, CAEP, were around 65% of the global total in 2010 and the share is expected to grow to nearly 70% by 2050 (ICAO Environmental Report 2016, p. 16).
The rise in fuel consumption is driven by a continued strong growth in passenger numbers and a rise in new destinations added by airlines. A 7.0% increase in Revenue Passenger Km (RPKs) is expected in 2018 – although down from 8.1% in 2017 – with stronger economic growth pushing traffic ahead of capacity growth, says IATA in its 2018 Mid-year economic performance report.
“We expect 1% of world GDP to be spent on air transport in 2018, totalling $871 billion,” says the report. “RPKs, which have been growing well above trend helped by the economic upturn, are forecast to remain strong in 2018 as stronger economic growth partly offsets the drag from the rise in oil prices. Falling travel costs have been adding several percentage points to RPK growth over the past several years.”
Airlines and their customers are forecast by IATA to generate $133 billion in tax revenues next year. In his report, de Juniac criticised Sweden, the Netherlands “and others who are inventing new environment taxes and charges”, and India for taxing international travel in contravention of ICAO resolutions.
As a result of improved balance sheets and substantial investment, IATA says commercial airlines are expected to take delivery of over 1,900 new aircraft this year, with the global fleet now at almost 30,000 aircraft.
“Sustained high fuel costs had also made it economic to retire older aircraft at a higher rate, but that effect has weakened,” points out the report. “Around half of this year’s deliveries will replace existing fleet, making a significant contribution to increasing fleet fuel efficiency.”
Fuel efficiency in terms of Available Tonne Kilometres (ATKs) are expected to improve 1.5% in 2018 as new aircraft deliveries grow and fuel prices rise sharply. IATA says the annual average per RTK fuel efficiency from 2009-2014 stands at 2.4% compared to the 1.5% industry target, and the continued fuel efficiency gains had partially decoupled CO2 emissions from expanding air transport services. The 2018 fuel efficiency gain would save over 14 million tonnes of CO2 and $2.9 billion in fuel costs, it added.
IATA’s 74th AGM started yesterday with the World Air Transport Summit. Proceedings available here including a video of a 20-minute interview with Matti Lievonen of Neste on alternative fuels.
Initiative launched to encourage adoption of sustainable jet fuels by business aviation sector
Fri 1 June 2018 – The business aviation sector has come together to raise awareness and encourage adoption by business aircraft owners, operators and fuel suppliers of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SJAF). At the centre of the initiative is a guide to explain and promote the benefits of such fuels that has been put together by a coalition of the sector’s trade associations. It was released this week at the EBACE event in Geneva when industry leaders signed a commitment to redouble efforts to reduce their sector’s environmental footprint and in particular to focus on SJAF development and uptake. The ‘Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Aviation Jet Fuel’ explains the science behind the fuels, why they are safe to use in business jets and why operators should use them.
“I am proud to formally announce our industry is now ready to fly with ASTM-approved, drop-in sustainable alternative jet fuels,” David Coleal, President of Bombardier Business Aircraft and head of the environment committee of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), told a media luncheon at Europe’s premier business aviation show. “We want to dispel the myths around SAJF and make it better understood to increase its adoption rate. The guide will educate on the use and benefits of SAJF, and provide technical information on sourcing and flying with alternative fuels. It also provides background on the development and approvals process of SAJF and sharing the science behind the safety aspect, which is our industry’s top priority.”
He said SAJF would be an important factor in reaching the aviation industry’s goal of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 but acknowledged that as well as opportunities, there were challenges to be overcome. “Limited production, lack of awareness, infrastructure challenges and the economics have combined to impede the widespread adoption of this fuel,” he said.
“We recognise there is more work to do ahead and in the coming months we will ‘walk the talk’,” he added and said pilot programmes would take place to demonstrate the viability of alternative fuels at selected business aviation airports.
Ed Bolen, President of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), said: “Through announcing this initiative, we want to remind the world that business aviation is committed to environmental sustainability.”
The aviation industry, he noted, had come to together in 2009 to set aspirational goals that included becoming carbon neutral from the 2020s through a four-pillar strategy that included carbon offsetting and developing new technologies.
“The sooner we can get moving on new technologies like SAJF, the sooner we can move off carbon offsetting,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the European Commission’s Claudia Fusco pointed out that ICAO forecasts indicated aviation emissions could increase 300-700% by 2050 and technical innovations had helped but not kept pace with the industry’s emissions growth.
“We need the aviation sector’s help in achieving environmental sustainability and meeting the global climate commitments of the Paris Agreement,” she said. “The EU is committed to minimising the dependence on fossil fuels for energy, and alternative fuels are one of the possible solutions, but I must emphasise these solutions must be truly sustainable.”
She believed EU travellers would be prepared to pay more if it ensured a more sustainable future for the air transport sector and said there was a need for strong collaboration among policymakers, regulators and aviation industry stakeholders.
Speaking to GreenAir on the sidelines, Bruce Parry, Senior Environment Manager of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), said the SAJF initiative underlined the importance of bringing together key stakeholders to gain their commitment to realise the expansion of sustainable aviation fuels. He said the fuels were important in the context of ICAO’s CORSIA global offsetting scheme for emissions from international aviation but hoped they would be used for domestic and well as international flights.
The five associations behind the initiative – GAMA, NBAA, EBAA, International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) – were provided with technical assistance from the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
“The commitment of this coalition to continued emissions reduction is one shared across the business aviation sector,” said Juergen Wiese, EBAA Chairman. “Thanks to a continuous focus on emissions, business aircraft today are cleaner, quieter and more fuel efficient than ever before. This initiative is our next major milestone in our work on emissions.”
Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel Initiative & Business Aviation Guide
Additional reporting by Andrew Pozniak
EU backs industrial-scale sustainable aviation fuel production project and Camelina cultivation research
Wed 30 May 2018 – A new EU-backed project has been launched to demonstrate the first industrial-scale production and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Europe. The four-year BIO4A initiative will also investigate the potential of reclaiming dry marginal land at risk of desertification in the Mediterranean region for cultivating the Camelina crop as biomass for producing SAF. BIO4A (Advanced Sustainable Biofuels for Aviation) has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation programme and will be coordinated by the Italian research organisation RE-CORD, which is located at the University of Florence. Organisations from France, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium will take part. SAF made from lipids such as used cooking oil will be produced at Total’s remodelled La Mède biorefinery in France.
In addition to Total, there are five other BIO4A members: SkyNRG, National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain (CENER), Camelina Company España, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and ETA-Florence Renewable Energies. The project is expected to contribute to the European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath initiative by demonstrating that SAF industrial production capacity exists in the EU. Its activities will cover all steps of the value chain, from sourcing of sustainable feedstocks to conversion into ASTM-certified SAF, and through to blending and distribution to end users at various airports across Europe.
According to the consortium, the fuel will then be distributed through standard airport infrastructure for commercial flights operated by multiple European airlines. It adds the project will analyse a series of business cases “to design effective and attractive market strategies, based on real trading experiences, for the market uptake of aviation biofuels.”
BIO4A’s research work on recovering marginal lands in the European Mediterranean (EU MED) region will aim at developing a cost-effective, long-term strategy to increase soil resilience to climate change and fertility through adopting a combination of biochar and other soil amendments. This in turn would sequester and store fixed carbon into the soil and produce a low-ILUC biofuel for aviation from Camelina, a drought-resistant non-food crop from which oil can be used for jet biofuel production. Scenarios for potential replication in the EU MED region will be modelled, together with a full chain life-cycle and sustainability analysis.
The initial production target for the La Mède biorefinery is 5,000 tonnes of HEFA (hydrotreated esters and fatty acids) sustainable aviation fuel. Formerly a petroleum refinery, Total announced in 2015 that it was to invest €200 million in transforming La Mède into a 500,000-tonnes per year biorefinery primarily to manufacture biodiesel from used oils and renewable feedstock. The biorefinery is due to open this summer and is located in France’s southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. In January, the installation of an 8 MW solar plant at the facility was completed, which will cover around half of the biorefinery’s energy needs.
Commenting on BIO4A, the project’s coordinator at RE-CORD, Prof. David Chiaramonti, said: “Air transport is among the most critical sectors to decarbonise and, along with heavy vehicles and maritime, a priority for the European Union. BIO4A is a significant step towards clean aviation in Europe as it will bring forward the use of sustainable biojet in terms of volume and innovation. Moreover, the research on increasing the resilience of EU MED dry marginal land to climate change will open a new window for sustainable biomass production in the EU.”
Added Eline Schappers, Head of Supply and Operations at SkyNRG: “We’re proud to be part of this project and are looking forward to setting up efficient and large-scale supply chains to further integrate sustainable aviation fuel use in Europe.”
The project follows closely on the announcement of another H2020-backed European sustainable aviation fuel initiative involving SkyNRG. The REWOFUEL three-year project, led by France’s Global Bioenergies, is aiming to demonstrate technology for the conversion of forestry residues into isobutene derivatives for use in renewable jet fuel (see article).