First commercial Swedish biofuel flights as SkyNRG and Statoil announce Karlstad Airport as the country's first BioPort
Refuelling bmi flight: (L-R) Peter Landmark, Karlstad Airport; Thorbjörn Larsson, Statoil; Merel Laroy SkyNRG; Maria Hollander, Paper Province; Ian Woodley, bmi; Susanne Dekker, SkyNRG; and Per-Samuel Nisser, Karlstad Municipality
Thu 26 Jun 2014 – Dutch sustainable jet fuel provider SkyNRG and aviation fuel supplier Statoil Aviation have announced Karlstad Airport as the location for their first BioPort in Sweden. The BioPort is expected to supply sustainable jet fuel to commercial flights departing from the airport in 2015 and is intended as a first step in developing a sustainable jet fuel platform in the region since the two fuel suppliers announced the formation of SkyNRG Nordic in March. To mark the installation at the airport of a fixed storage tank facility for sustainable aviation biofuel, the first regular commercial flights in Sweden to be made using aviation biofuel took place today. One flight was operated by bmi regional between Karlstad and Frankfurt, the other by Nextjet between Karlstad and Stockholm.
“This facility is the first stationary storage tank for aviation biofuel in Europe, possibly even the world,” said Thorbjörn Larsson, Vice President at Statoil Fuel and Retail Aviation. “By joining forces, we were able to establish this small but very important step that is contributing to the development of biofuels and thus to a long term and sustainable future for aviation.”
The environmentally certified Karlstad Airport is owned and operated by the local municipality, which has set it clear environmental objectives. The airport handled 110,000 passengers and 2,700 departures last year, with other airlines serving the airport including SAS and Norwegian, along with a number of charter holiday carriers.
“For many years, Sweden has been a driving force in the environmental sector and again we take a leading position in Europe. Sweden wants to be a role model for others and show that it is possible to develop the aviation industry to be more environmentally friendly,” said Peter Landmark, CEO of Karlstad Airport. “We hope that through our efforts we can inspire other airports and reach European environmental objectives together.”
Added Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO of SkyNRG, which has supplied more than 20 airlines around the world with jet biofuel: “We are very happy that we have made our first concrete appearance in the market as SkyNRG Nordic, powered by Statoil Aviation. It’s clear that we think Karlstad has great potential to become a major producer and user of sustainable jet fuel.”
The partners say they intend to use the Karlstad facility to gain more experience and improvements in downstream biofuel blending and logistics. They are also working with the regional business cluster The Paper Province on a feasibility study on the production of sustainable jet fuel using available feedstocks from the local forestry industry.
The Karlstad region is home to over 100 companies with international expertise in pulp and paper technology that collaborate in The Paper Province cluster. “We have seen that there are opportunities to exploit the resources of the forest more effectively by better use of waste products, including the production of aviation biofuel,” said Maria Hollander, CEO of The Paper Province.
Supplying departing aircraft with biofuel on a regular supply basis was welcomed by Thomas Roetger, Assistant Director, Aviation Environment – Technology, with IATA. “This is a big step forward – so far biofuel has only been supplied to specific flights from individual airlines,” he said. “The area around Karlstad Airport has a high potential for sustainable biojet production from locally available feedstock such as forestry residues and waste streams.
“However, the main remaining obstacle to biojet fuel deployment is still its high price. IATA and SkyNRG are working together on innovative ways to attract funding to support this environmentally-friendly technology. This needs to be complemented by a favourable legislative framework.”
In an effort to solve the price problem, where aviation biofuel is 3-4 times more expensive than normal aviation fuel, SkyNRG has teamed up with Statoil to establish a ‘climate compensation’ fund supported by business, the public sector and private individuals to cover the differential. In the longer term, they say, the fund will also be used to support research.
Ian Woodley, Board Director of British Midland Regional, which operated one of today’s biofuel flights, said: “Together with our partners at Karlstad Airport and Statoil, we intend to fly even more frequently on sustainable jet fuel. Indeed, we hope that this Karlstad biofuel programme will act as the blueprint for new sustainable jet fuel routes across Europe.”