German cross-industry initiative launched to promote research and development of sustainable aviation biofuels
Christoph Franz, Chairman and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, and Dr Klaus Nittinger, President of aireg, at the association's launch in Berlin
Fri 10 June 2011 – Leading research institutions and representatives from the aviation industry in Germany have come together to form an association aimed at supporting research activities into renewable energy sources, notably biofuels, for the sector. Called the Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany – aireg – the 20 members include airlines such as Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Condor and TUIfly, along with Munich Airport and aerospace manufacturers EADS, MTU Aero Engines and Rolls-Royce Deutschland. Among the research bodies participating are two universities, as well as the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ). Launching the association, Germany’s transport minister said in the light of the recent decision to restructure the country’s energy supply system, air traffic must make a contribution to achieving climate protection goals.
The association describes itself as a platform for promoting science and research in “climate-friendly” aviation fuels, with an overriding emphasis on sustainability, and aims to promote the use of regenerative energy sources in German aviation and help in political decision-making on the introduction of biofuels.
“In addition to the development of more efficient aircraft and engines, biofuels can also contribute to measures to reduce greenhouse gases,” said Dr Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development.
The President of aireg is Dr Klaus Nittinger, a former chairman of Rolls-Royce Deutschland and has had a long association with Lufthansa, more recently as an advisor to the airline’s board on fleet issues.
Commenting on the launch, he said: “With the founding of aireg, we are at long last bundling national activities so as to achieve the challenging emission reduction targets for the aviation industry. A later expansion of activities to the European level is conceivable.”
Acknowledging that aviation biofuels are currently only available in small quantities, the association says sustained industrialisation will be a key task of industry and research efforts. “In this context, it must always be ensured that vegetable-based biofuel production does not compete with food production and that sustainability criteria must be complied with,” says aireg.
The full list of the 20 members comprises Air Berlin, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, Booz & Co, Condor Flugdienst, Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DGLR), Deutsche Lufthansa, Deutsche Post, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), EADS, Flughafen München, Forschungszentrum Jülich, ISCC System, JatroSolutions, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH), TUIfly and VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie.
A website is expected to be launched shortly.
In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany recently announced it would phase out nuclear energy by 2022. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she now wants Germany to become a trailblazer for renewable energy. Her plan is to compensate for nuclear plant shutdowns by reducing electricity consumption by 10% by 2020 and, in the same period, more than double the share of renewable energies to 35%.