FedEx Fuel Sense initiatives continue to help cut jet fuel use and reduce aircraft emissions intensity
Wed 22 Apr 2015 – FedEx has revealed it saved 100 million gallons of jet fuel from its FedEx Express airline operations in 2014 against a 2005 baseline, avoiding over 976,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. It attributes the achievement to the company’s Fuel Sense programme as well as aircraft fleet modernisation, with more than 330 million gallons of jet fuel saved through 46 initiatives introduced since 2007. Details of seven new Fuel Sense programmes launched in 2014 are outlined in its latest annual Global Citizenship Report (GCR). FedEx has a goal of reducing aircraft emissions intensity by 30 per cent by 2020 from the baseline and has so far achieved a 21.4 per cent cut. At its World Hub in Memphis, FedEx has just added 15 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered GSE cargo tractors, funded by a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Energy.
Absolute jet fuel use by the FedEx fleet of over 650 aircraft in 2014 dropped by 34.4 million gallons compared to the previous year, representing a reduction in aircraft emissions intensity of 1.5%. Emissions from jet fuel burned by FedEx aircraft in 2014 amounted to 10.5 million tonnes, compared with 10.8 Mt in 2013 and 11.1 Mt in 2012.
The Fuel Sense team has now saved 334 million gallons of jet fuel since 2007, it estimates, avoiding 3.25 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
Two Fuel Sense initiatives undertaken over the past year involve reducing the weight carried on aircraft. For three years, FedEx has been designing and testing more than 100 new types of lighter weight containers and after 21,000 flights, it says it has narrowed the field down to three models. Once all 23,000 of its older containers have been replaced, the company estimates the overall weight will be 1.25 million pounds (nearly 570 tonnes) lighter, saving around 2.4 million gallons of fuel and reducing carbon emissions by 22,729 tonnes.
The second initiative involves replacing paper manuals and charts carried by pilots with electronic versions. This has removed 32 tons of paper from planes and in the process saved around 370,000 gallons of jet fuel and 3,572 tonnes of CO2.
FedEx is also working with the FAA on a number of other initiatives to conserve fuel, including reducing distances between flight tracks at take-off, updating wake turbulence separation standards and enhancing optimum profile descents.
“We believe that we can decrease our environmental footprint while simultaneously expanding our business – and the data backs that up,” said Mitch Jackson, VP Environmental Affairs and Sustainability. “This year, we continued to reduce our emissions even as our revenue and the number of items we deliver has gone up.”
Another FedEx goal is to obtain 30% of its jet fuel from sustainable alternative fuels by 2030 and it reports active engagement with bodies such as CAAFI, ASTM, The Nature Conservancy and the US Departments of Energy and Agriculture.
“Developing a sustainable jet fuel product that can be produced at scale and transported to where it’s needed at a competitive price is a challenge that can only be solved by working together with our industry peers, academia, governmental agencies and companies in the alternative fuel supply chain, including refineries and distributors,” says the report.
On April 9, in a collaboration with ground support equipment (GSE) supplier Charlatte and Plug Power, FedEx rolled out what it claims is the world’s first zero emissions, hydrogen fuel cell GSE tractor. Producing only water and heat as by-products, the 15 tractors join a fleet of more than 1,500 others at the World Hub that move over two million shipments daily. The units are fuelled by hydrogen dispensed directly into the fuel cell systems by the driver from a 15,000 gallon liquid hydrogen refuelling infrastructure located on the airport ramp.
“While these hydrogen fuel cell powered cargo tractors may not look big, they are capable of pulling 40,000 pounds of cargo on airport dollies in even the harshest weather conditions, and they embody our strong commitments to innovation and to reducing our environmental footprint,” said John Dunavant, Vice President of the Hub.