Sweden's Visby Airport announces its operations are now fossil-free
Thu 16 Aug 2018 – Swedish airport operator Swedavia has claimed its operations at Visby Airport have become entirely fossil-free. Swedavia is aiming to have all 10 of its airports fossil-free by 2020 at the latest, with Visby achieving the objective two years ahead of the deadline. Carbon emissions have decreased from around 300 tonnes to zero in the space of 10 years as a result of efficiency measures and replacing all fossil fuel-powered vehicles – from fire trucks to snow removal equipment. Energy consumption has also fallen steadily over the period and the airport’s energy is provided by renewable electricity. Sweden is targeting its entire domestic air transport sector to be fossil-free by 2030 and to include international air transport by 2045 as a result of large-scale use of aviation biofuels.
“There is a great transformation under way in the transport sector right now, with reduced fossil carbon dioxide emissions being the top priority,” said Gunnar Jonasson, Airport Director at Visby Airport, Sweden’s twelfth largest airport. “Our airport is a large enterprise that uses many vehicles and equipment, as well as a lot of energy to enable air transport to and from the island of Gotland.”
Swedavia’s vehicle fleet accounts for more than 95% of fossil CO2 emissions produced by the company so vehicles are being replaced with electric alternatives where possible or otherwise powered by biogas or biodiesel. A new airside refuelling station for biogas has recently been opened at Stockholm Arlanda.
For about a decade, Swedavia has been a climate-neutral company, offsetting those emissions it cannot do as a result of current measures through certificates purchased from UN CDM climate projects.
Last year, Swedavia announced it was becoming the first company in the world to purchase aviation biofuel corresponding to the amount used for business trips taken by its employees. It bought 450 tonnes of biofuel via the Fly Green Fund at a cost of SEK 7.5 million ($820,000) for official business travel in 2016. The fuel was produced by AltAir and delivered by SkyNRG in partnership with AirBP, and was used on a SAS flight from Arlanda to Copenhagen. The Fly Green Fund is a Nordic region initiative founded in 2015 by SkyNRG, NISA (Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation) and Karlstad Airport that enables organisations and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint by flying on sustainable aviation fuel. Funding partners include Swedavia, KLM, SAS and European Flight Service.
“We at Swedavia want to lead the way and help increase the demand for aviation biofuel,” said Swedavia CEO Jonas Abrahamsson last year. “We pay the added cost for the more expensive biofuel, which is something that other companies, organisations and individuals also have an opportunity to do now. When demand rises, market players will dare to invest in this alternative to today’s fuel.”
In April this year, the Swedish air transport industry presented government ministers with a road map to show how the sector can contribute to the government’s goal of fossil-free travel by 2045. The industry has identified a large-scale switch to biofuel as one of the most important solutions, together with efficiency improvements and the development of new technology, such as hybrid-electric aircraft.