GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 19 SEPTEMBER 2018
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Airlines and NGOs spell out differing positions over CORSIA implementation and the future of the Aviation EU ETS
Tue 18 Sept 2018 – International airline associations have written a joint open letter to the European Commission urging it to ensure the ICAO proposed rules governing the CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme are adopted uniformly and in their entirety throughout Europe. They also call for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements of the EU ETS to be aligned with those of CORSIA in order to avoid an added administrative burden, and for all international intra-EEA flights to be removed from the scope of the EU ETS from January 2021 when the first voluntary phase of CORSIA starts. In response, a group of Europe-based NGOs has called on the Commission to resist any moves to amend, barring certain non-essential MRV provisions, the EU ETS directive and for the EU to reserve its position on CORSIA until a review of the ICAO scheme has taken place.
The letter from 10 European and non-European airline associations plus IATA says it is fundamental that the international standards and recommended practices (SARPs) for CORSIA, which have been adopted by the ICAO Council as a new Volume IV of Annex 16 to the Chicago Convention, are similarly adopted and implemented by Europe in full and for all international flights that are subject to CORSIA. If CORSIA and EU ETS MRV requirements were not aligned, they say, operators and authorities would have to comply and administer two schemes and two sets of rules in parallel.
“The SARPs have been the fruit of several years of technical work in ICAO and are just as robust as the EU ETS MRV,” maintain the associations.
The industry argues that with the implementation of CORSIA’s pilot phase from 1 January 2021, there is no further need for the EU ETS to apply to emissions from international flights between airports in the European Economic Area from this date. They point to the A39-2 resolution adopted by the ICAO Assembly in 2016 that states market-based measures should not be duplicative and international aviation CO2 emissions be accounted for only once.
“If the EU were to attempt to exclude international intra-EEA flights from the application of CORSIA or subject international flights to both EU ETS and CORSIA, this would set a very damaging precedent, incurring ineffective and costly duplications and compromising the implementation of CORSIA,” they say.
The letter concludes: “Our associations and the broader airline industry are fully committed to CORSIA and we are now in a crucial period of preparation for CORSIA’s implementation. We believe European States should continue to play a key role in addressing aviation’s emissions by being amongst the first to implement Annex 16, Volume IV, without differences.
“We therefore hope we can count on your commitment to ensure European States meet their commitments under the Chicago Convention and implement Annex 16, Volume IV in its entirety from 1 January 2019.”
The three NGOs – Transport & Environment, Aviation Environment Federation and Carbon Market Watch, which are members of the ICSA NGO alliance recognised by ICAO – say the proposed SARPs still await the views of ICAO Member States, which have until October 22 for an initial response and December 1 to notify ICAO of any differences to be filed. The Commission is expected to propose a common position for EU/EEA States to take.
The NGOs urge the Commission to delay a response to ICAO about the proposed SARP rules and voluntary participation in CORSIA until the completion of a review they say is mandated under the EU regulation adopted by the Council and Parliament in December 2017 amending the directive (2003/87/EC) covering the EU ETS and aviation.
“Any reply proposed by the Commission should reserve European and Member State positions through filing a general difference to protect Europe’s right to meet its legal obligations under international law, in particular the Paris Agreement,” says the NGO’s letter.
“Given CORSIA’s unresolved issues, its environmental weakness and lack of alignment with European climate ambition, industry calls to replace the EU ETS are premature and must be rejected.
“A requirement to replace the EU ETS, with its more ambitious target and reliance on allowances, with CORSIA, which has a weaker target and relies on offsets of as yet unknown quality and which count for zero towards climate targets under EU law, would itself constitute a breach of the Paris Agreement’s ‘no backsliding’ provision in Article 3.”
States have until 30 June 2020 to notify ICAO of their intention to participate in the first voluntary phase and the NGOs say no decision should be made by Europe until the mandated review has taken place. “There is the option to volunteer all flights or none, or just flights to and from Europe, thus excluding flights between EU States,” they add.
The 2017 amendment to the directive extended the derogation from the EU ETS obligations for flights to and from third countries until 31 December 2023, “subject to review, to allow the experience necessary for the implementation of the ICAO scheme to be gathered.”
In response to an ICAO consultation earlier in the year on the draft SARPs, European countries backed the implementation of the CORSIA ‘package’ but warned against attempts by others to water down the environmental ambition of the scheme in relation to the quality of eligible emission units used to offset emissions and the sustainability of alternative fuels claimed for emission reductions.
“We are willing to contribute to a global compromise, but not with a lower environmental integrity than proposed,” responded one European country to the consultation.
Letter from airline associations (AFRAA, AASA, A4A, A4E, AIRE, AACO, AAPA, ALTA EEA, ERA, IATA)
Letter from NGOs (AEF, CMW, T&E)
Editor’s note: The impact of CORSIA on the Aviation EU ETS will be discussed by representatives from the airline industry, NGOs and the European Commission in a panel session at the Aviation Carbon 2018 conference in London on November 5. The event is co-organised by GreenAir Online. Details here.
United operates longest-ever transatlantic biofuel flight and pledges to halve GHG emissions by 2050
Mon 17 Sept 2018 – United Airlines has operated the longest non-stop transatlantic biofuel journey to date when a 30/70 blend of biojet produced from Carinata oilseed and conventional jet fuel powered a Boeing 787 flight from San Francisco to Zurich. The biofuel content of 16,000 gallons was refined and supplied by World Energy’s AltAir Fuels plant in Paramount, California. United says it is the first airline globally to use sustainable aviation biofuel on an ongoing daily basis and has sourced more than 2 million gallons since 2016. It claims responsibility for over half of the industry’s current commitments to biofuel usage. To mark the flight, the airline said it was becoming the first US carrier to publicly pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 from a 2005 level. United CEO Oscar Munoz said with rising fuel prices, the financial case for sustainability was clear.
“At United, we believe there is no point in setting challenging and ambitious goals without also taking tangible steps towards achieving them, especially when it comes to securing the health of our communities and our planet,” said Munoz. “While we’re proud to be the first US carrier taking such an ambitious step, it is a distinction we look forward to sharing as the rest of the industry catches up and makes similar commitments to sustainability.”
In an op-ed on Business Insider, he said if other airlines did so then they would learn that cutting emissions and “doubling down on sustainable aviation fuel was the surest way to control cost and help boost profits.”
The price of oil had gone up by nearly 50% in the past year and was costing his airline more than $15,000 every minute, more than its combined spend on ground operations, facilities and landing fees, he said.
“Regardless of whether oil prices rise or fall, the inherent volatility and environmental impact of fossil fuels exert their own costs, to the bottom line, the customer and the planet. The ultimate hedge against those costs is to transition to alternative and renewable sources of energy.”
Carinata seeds are sold by Canadian agri-tech company Agrisoma Biosciences and claims growers in place throughout the Americas and Australia, where Carinata is grown as a second crop to complement existing crop production, enabling additional income and soil health benefits for farmers. The harvested grain is crushed to recover the oil to produce jet biofuel and, as a by-product, high-protein animal feed. It is the first oilseed to be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.
Commenting on the United flight, Agrisoma CEO Steve Fabijanski said: “At 11 hours, it is the longest transatlantic biojet flight undertaken to date and with the fuel-efficient Boeing 787, represents the lowest carbon footprint commercial flight across the Atlantic. It is our second international biojet flight powered by Carinata, but there are more to come.”
Earlier this year, biofuel produced from Agrisoma’s Carinata and also supplied by World Energy was used in a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne.
United Airlines is already investing more than $30 million in California-based waste-to-biojet producer Fulcrum Bioenergy, which it says is the single largest investment by any airline in alternative fuels, and the deal to purchase nearly one billion gallons of biojet from the producer is the largest offtake agreement so far by an airline.
To meet its 50% GHG reduction pledge, in addition to expanding the use of sustainable aviation fuels, United said it would continue to invest in new fuel-efficient aircraft and implement further operational changes to conserve fuel.
Gap between the most and least fuel efficient transatlantic airlines has increased over past three years, finds ICCT study
Mon 17 Sept 2018 – Transatlantic airline fuel efficiency between 2014 and 2017 improved by an average 1 per cent per year as a result of the use of new aircraft with lower fuel burn but is less than the industry goal, finds a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The study analysed 20 airlines operating non-stop flights between the United States and Europe and found the carbon intensity gap between the most and least efficient carriers increased from 51% in 2014, when ICCT published its first study, to 63% in 2017. Unsurprisingly, the new low-cost entrants into the transatlantic market, Norwegian Air and WOW performed better than the bigger mainline carriers with their business models of lower seating densities and higher percentage of premium seats. However, the underlying fuel burn of an airline’s fleet was found to be the most important driver overall, accounting for around 40 per cent of the variation in fuel efficiency across carriers.
ICCT found the biggest changes in the transatlantic market since its 2014 study were the increase in operations from European low-cost carriers and the further utilisation of newer aircraft.
The industry average fuel efficiency improved from 33 passenger kilometres per litre of fuel (pax-km/L) in 2014 to 34 pax-km/L in 2017 after an adjustment for a common modelling methodology. Norwegian’s combination of higher seat counts and use of very efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and WOW’s densely-packed Airbus A321-200 narrowbody aircraft helped top ICCT’s fuel efficiency rankings.
A general trend observed by the authors of the study is that the fuel burn per passenger kilometre increases on transatlantic routes as the aircraft size and weight increases, leading to airlines that predominantly use very large four-engined aircraft – such as Lufthansa and British Airways – having the lowest rankings. Major improvers in the ranking from 2014 to 2017 include Virgin Atlantic (30 to 35 pax-km/L) and Aeroflot (30 to 33 pax-km/L) as a result of moving from four-engined aircraft to the more fuel-efficient twin-engined Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 777-300ER respectively.
“Although larger airplanes with more premium seating may conjure up feelings of luxury travel, they do not help the airline’s environmental performance,” say the authors. “BA does operate fuel-efficient Boeing 787 aircraft on transatlantic routes, with average fuel efficiencies at or above the industry average.”
ICCT says the introduction of the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 can contribute to meeting ICAO’s long-term aspirational goal of increasing the fuel efficiency of international flights by 2% annually. The demand for these new aircraft types, as well as models under development like the A330neo and 777X, will increase in line with a rise in demand for air travel and come to dominate the global airline widebody fleet, it predicts.
All other things being equal, airlines operating aircraft with lower fuel burn tend to be more efficient, but operational parameters such as payload carried are also important and should be tracked, adds the study.
In order of decreasing importance, the key drivers to transatlantic airline fuel efficiency in 2017 were aircraft fuel burn, seating density, freight share of total payload and passenger load factor.
The authors point out that while ICAO has adopted the 2% annual fuel efficiency goal and developed a fuel efficiency standard for new aircraft, it has not yet adopted mandatory policies to boost efficiency in the existing fleet. CO2 reductions through ICAO’s CORSIA scheme are likely to be met from carbon offsetting, not improved aircraft efficiency or alternative fuels, they argue, and fuel prices alone are an inconsistent driver of fuel efficiency.
“New policies to accelerate investments in more fuel-efficient aircraft and operations are critical if industry is to meet its long-term climate goals,” said Dan Rutherford, ICCT’s Aviation Program Director and co-author with Brandon Graver of the study.
ICCT – ‘Transatlantic Airline Fuel Efficiency Ranking 2017’ (pdf)
LanzaTech’s low-carbon jet fuel ready for take-off as Virgin Atlantic plans for first commercial flight in October
Fri 14 Sept 2018 – Virgin Atlantic will undertake a passenger flight in October using for the first time low-carbon fuel produced through its partnership with LanzaTech. This follows a decision by members of the fuel standards body ASTM in April to include alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) produced from ethanol as an approved blending component of conventional jet fuel for commercial flights. The flight is a major step for both LanzaTech and the airline, which first committed seven years ago to developing and commercialising the low-carbon fuel from pioneering technology that captures and recycles carbon-rich industrial waste gases from steel mills into ethanol. The Chicago-based company is now looking to build a first commercial-scale ATJ plant in the UK.
Announcing the flight next month, Virgin Atlantic President Sir Richard Branson wrote in a blog yesterday: “The fuel will be used in one of our much-loved 747s on a flight from Orlando to London Gatwick, demonstrating the art of the possible, and taking a landmark leap towards making this ground-breaking new low-carbon technology a mainstream reality.
“The appetite for long-haul travel is only getting bigger, and as airlines, it’s our responsibility to deliver that in the most sustainable way possible.
“Because it uses waste carbon, the LanzaTech jet fuel has a fantastic sustainability profile and has the potential to achieve at least 70% lower carbon emissions compared to regular fossil jet, and no land or food competition issues. And because it uses a plentiful, affordable waste stream, this is set to keep the fuel price competitive with that of traditional jet. This means airlines like Virgin Atlantic will be able to buy and fly it routinely, and that is when the big carbon savings will come.”
LanzaTech estimates its process could be retrofitted to 65% of the world’s steel mills, with a potential to produce nearly one fifth of all aviation fuel used each year and at a commercially viable price. The company has a joint venture with a leading iron and steel producer in China, where a demonstration plant has a capability of producing 46,000 tons (16 million gallons) of ethanol per year. LanzaTech has been using technology developed by the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to convert the ethanol into jet fuel.
“We are working with LanzaTech to turn this new fuel into a day-to-day reality, and want to secure the world’s first carbon capture and utilisation commercial jet fuel production facility in the UK,” Branson reported.
The LanzaTech ATJ-SPK does not yet qualify as a conventional waste-based renewable fuel under the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which provides a valuable financial incentive for suppliers of renewable transport fuels. However, the company is optimistic its jet fuel product will be included in the near future. In July, it was awarded a £410,000 ($540,000) grant from the UK Department for Transport to help with project development funding. The grant will be used towards a feasibility study that will study potential sites in the UK for its first facility.
“We’ve had some great support from the UK government so far. But we now need to turn this into firm government action on incentives and investor commitment, to help us accelerate towards building the world’s first full-size plant producing jet fuel from waste carbon gases,” said Branson.
Virgin Atlantic was the first-ever carrier to use biofuel in a passenger aircraft when a Boeing 747 aircraft undertook a test flight from London Heathrow to Amsterdam in February 2008. One engine of the aircraft was powered by an 80/20 blend of conventional fuel and 500 gallons of a biofuel produced from babassu and coconut oils.
Neste signs biojet agreement with Alaska Airlines as plans are dropped for Geneva Airport project
Fri 14 Sept 2018 – Finnish renewable jet fuel producer Neste has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alaska Airlines to expand the use of sustainable aviation fuels by the carrier. The two partners say they will work closely together to design, create and implement solutions to lay the groundwork for a wider adoption of renewable fuels within the airline industry. Announcing the MoU, Alaska Airlines and Neste said they shared the view that closer collaboration within the industry and key partners would “help create the ‘lift’ necessary to help move aviation in the right direction.” This follows news that a pilot project to replace 1 per cent of the conventional fuel used at Geneva Airport by Neste’s fuel has been cancelled.
Commenting on the Alaska Airlines partnership, Kaisa Hietala, Neste’s EVP Renewable Products, said: “By working together, we will find the best solutions to secure the success in reaching Alaska’s goal to fly greener.”
Responded Kirk Myers, Alaska Airlines’ Director of Sustainability: “At Alaska, we strive to fly true – true to our values and true to the beautiful places and communities we fly to. This collaboration is another major step towards supporting the health of our communities and ecosystems.”
Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel technology has been used to supply biojet for thousands of commercial flights, says the company, which include 1,187 Lufthansa daily scheduled flights that took place in 2011. Neste is planning an additional 1 million ton renewable product capacity at its Singapore facility that will significantly increase production of renewable jet fuel by 2022, promises the company.
The Geneva pilot project was cancelled after an application to the Swiss authorities for project facilitation funding was unsuccessful, following the completion of a lengthy consultation period.
The partnership with Geneva Airport was to result in “thousands of tonnes” of Neste’s fuel being supplied to airlines using the airport, which was to be produced at Neste’s European refineries using 100% waste and residue based renewable raw materials. Alongside local fuel companies, the project was to look at the most viable form of transporting the fuel to the airport.
“The authorities’ decision not to support the renewable jet fuel project is a disappointment, but does not affect our plan to bring our product to the global market,” commented Hietala. “We have announced collaborative agreements with other airports and airlines already, and I believe several other announcements will follow in the near future.
“I want to thank Geneva Airport and other stakeholders for insightful cooperation. Over the past months we have gained tremendous knowledge around developing renewable jet fuel supply chains which complement existing airport infrastructure and operations. We are looking forward to leveraging this knowledge in the future collaborations.”
The company has set up the Neste Green Hub to support the aviation industry’s CO2 reduction efforts and connect key stakeholders and create a platform for collaboration among airports, solution providers, airlines, authorities and local communities.
Virgin Australia and Brisbane Airport complete biojet trial using general fuel supply system
Wed 12 Sept 2018 – A trial has ended at Brisbane Airport to supply aircraft with blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through the airport’s general fuel supply system. Partners in the initiative included US-based renewable jet fuel producer Gevo and the Queensland government, with Virgin Australia leading the procurement and blending of the fuel. The biojet was used to fuel 195 domestic and international flights departing Brisbane that travelled more than 430,000 kilometres between them. The airline said it hoped to fuel more flights from Brisbane with biojet over the next 12-18 months. Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel was shipped from its plant in Texas, having been derived from isobutanol produced in Minnesota. However, the Queensland government is supporting moves to commercialise local production of SAF in the state.
“We recognise there is a great opportunity to develop a thriving sustainable fuels industry, which will help to reduce emissions and drive investment and jobs growth in Australia,” said Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive Rob Sharp. “The successful completion of the trial at Brisbane is the first important step in ensuring Australian airports and the fuel supply chain will be ready for the regular supply of sustainable fuels in Australia.”
Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said the initiative was aligned with the airport’s strategy to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and was committed to putting in place programmes to manage and minimise the long-term impacts of climate change. Brisbane joins a select few major airports such as Oslo and Los Angeles that have supplied blended biojet through its fuel supply system.
Other supply chain partners in the trial included DB Schenker and Caltex. “As Australia’s largest supplier of transport fuels, we support the investigation of alternative fuels such as biojet as part of the future fuel options for the country, and we acknowledge Virgin Australia’s leadership in achieving this important milestone,” said Louise Warner, Executive General Manager, Fuels & Infrastructure, Caltex.
Added Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk, who had visited the Fulcrum BioEnergy waste-to-jet fuels plant in Nevada in June on a trade visit to the United States: “This is another step forward in a homegrown biofuels industry – one that my government is supporting. Our own biofuel producers have a ready customer in Virgin Australia and I look forward to their cooperation growing.”
Virgin Australia had previously partnered with Air New Zealand in a project in 2016 to find companies worldwide that could supply the two carriers with long-term supplies of biojet but eventually they went their separate ways. Air New Zealand has since said it would not pursue biofuels until prices had become competitive with conventional jet fuel.
In October, Qantas announced an offtake agreement with US bioenergy company SG Preston in which it would purchase 8 million gallons (30 million litres) of renewable jet fuel for a 10-year period. The Australian carrier said it would use the fuel on flights from Los Angeles starting in 2020.
Heathrow says airlines continue switch to cleaner aircraft and announces winners of first sustainability prizes
Mon 10 Sept 2018 – London’s Heathrow Airport says the trend by airlines to switch to newer, quieter aircraft is continuing, with more than one in five aircraft landing at the airport this year expected to be Chapter 14 Low compliant, the quietest aircraft available, an increase from the 16% in 2017. The airport has published its latest Fly Quiet and Green quarterly league table for the period April to June, which shows Aer Lingus taking over top spot from Scandinavian Airlines, followed closely by British Airways’ short-haul fleet. Heathrow has also announced the winner of its first Centre of Excellence Sustainable Innovation Prize. Start-up Energy Crop Solutions will receive £20,000 ($26,000) in funding and the opportunity to use the airport as a test bed to explore the applicability and benefits of the latest willow cultivars for local communities and Heathrow’s biomass boiler.
The three top performing airlines in the Fly Quiet and Green rankings all scored highly in six of the seven noise and emission metrics and showed an upward trend in their use of continuous descent arrival procedures and better adherence to specified departure routes, known as noise preferential routes (NPRs).
Other strong performers in last quarter’s rankings included the long-haul aircraft of Turkish Airlines, which has moved to include more efficient Boeing 777s in its fleet serving Heathrow that have helped improve its ability to fly within NPRs. The carrier moved into 17th place in the rankings, up 25 places from the previous quarter.
Other strong performers include Oman Air, which has improved its ranking by 11 places as a result of working closely with the airport to improve its performance. Saudi Arabian Airlines is also working with Heathrow’s operational team and has taken delivery of a new system that allows it to see within 20 minutes of arrival how each aircraft has performed on measures like continuous descent approaches and track keeping, and for the airline to engage with flight crews to drive up performance.
The league table shows a red/green/amber status for the seven noise and emission metrics, and Heathrow says its team provides regular feedback to airlines and identify specific areas to be targeted for improvement, particularly engaging with those airlines with red indicators.
“Heathrow will continue to work closely with our airline partners to improve results even further, as part of our mission to be a better neighbour,” commented the airport’s Director of Sustainability, Matt Gorman.
Entries for the first Sustainable Innovation competition were asked to focus on three areas: using waste as a resource; sustainable and low carbon materials; and measuring and enhancing quality of life locally. The judging panel was made up of senior Heathrow executives and IAG’s Director of Sustainability, Jonathon Counsell.
Energy Crop Solutions plans to work with local charity Green Corridor to explore how different willow varieties provide acoustic, air quality and aesthetic improvements for local residents. It will also investigate if the willows can be used to fuel the airport’s on-site biomass boiler.
A similar innovation competition for those who work at the airport was won by Andrew Swift, whose idea is to use the airport’s plastic waste for its road surfacing. Heathrow says it will fund research with its university partners, which could lead to an on-airport trial.
“The world slowly is waking up to the big issue plastic is causing our environment and here at Heathrow I can see the desire to be an industry leader in making a difference,” said Swift.
Five other submissions were given honourable mentions that included a logistics app to cut freight vehicle emissions; an airport car-sharing service; recyclable cardboard furniture; low-cost noise detection monitoring; and food waste reduction. Heathrow is exploring whether these ideas can also be supported at the airport and is also planning to launch a second competition in early 2019.
The competition was set up as part of the airport’s Heathrow 2.0 sustainability strategy unveiled last year.
SpiceJet operates India’s first biofuel-powered flight as Indonesia seeks US and European help on palm oil biojet
Mon 3 Sept 2018 – Low-cost carrier SpiceJet last week operated India’s first test flight powered by biojet fuel. A Bombardier Q400 aircraft flew the 236-kilometre route from Dehradun in the norther part of India to the capital New Delhi using a 75/25 blend of conventional jet kerosene and a biofuel sourced from the jatropha crop. The biofuel was developed by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), one of the constituent laboratories of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research based in Dehradun. The airline says the fuel meets the ASTM specification and the Pratt & Whitney and Bombardier standards for commercial aircraft application. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Indonesia has asked for its companies be allowed to build palm oil-based jet biofuel plants in the US and France as a condition for its airlines to buy Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
The 25-minute SpiceJet biojet flight, which the airline says has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 15%, was seen off at Dehradun and welcomed in New Delhi by local and national government officials and aviation representatives.
“This fuel is low cost and helps in significantly reducing carbon emissions,” said Ajay Singh, SpiceJet’s Chairman and Managing Director. “It has the potential to reduce our dependence on traditional aviation fuel by up to 50% on every flight and bring down fares. India is the fastest growing aviation market in the world today and it is our responsibility to grow using clean and sustainable technologies.”
According to a Bloomberg report, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said India will soon announce a policy on the use of aviation biofuel to reduce oil imports. Conventional jet fuel, the price of which is already on the rise, attracts sales taxes and excise duties totalling as high as 44% in some Indian states, so making it the costliest in Asia and accounting for around 40% of total airline operating costs. The government is proposing to bring jet fuel under the national Goods and Services Tax to make it uniform across the country. However, an additional tariff could be introduced to make up any shortfall in government revenues, says Bloomberg.
“Given the social benefits of biojet fuel, such as increasing farmers’ income who grow the feedstocks for this fuel, the government could find a way to make it tax-free,” suggested Singh.
In addition to the use of biofuels, SpiceJet says it has placed an order for 205 fuel-efficient Boeing 737 Max aircraft that will further reduce fuel consumption by around 15%, which it claims will put the airline ahead of IATA aviation emissions targets.
CSIR-IIP says its biojet production involves a hydrocracking process with an in-house developed non-precious metal-based catalyst.
Following a visit by Indonesia’s trade minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, to the United States last month, Reuters reports he told the US Commerce Secretary that Indonesian companies should be allowed to produce jet biofuel in the US, with “all raw materials” being sourced from Indonesia. Local media in Indonesia have reported the trade minister met with Boeing during the trip and asked the airplane manufacturer for its cooperation in developing palm-based jet fuel. Lukita told reporters Indonesia had also conveyed the same requirement to Airbus.
Both Boeing and Airbus have not responded to the reports, mindful of the controversy surrounding palm oil sustainability and a reluctance, if not refusal, of airlines, particularly in the West, to consider using it in jet biofuels. As the world’s biggest producers of palm oil, Indonesia is seeking new markets for the product as it faces new US anti-dumping tariffs on its biodiesel and a recent EU decision to phase out the use of palm oil in transport fuels from 2030 over environmental concerns.
In 2013, the Indonesian government initiated a national plan, the Green Aviation Initiatives for Sustainable Development, which mandated a 2% use of biofuels in all jet fuel consumption from 2016 and 3% from 2020 that was to be sourced from local palm oil (see article). The government estimated at the time that around $500 million would be needed to get commercial production off the ground, which would come from regional and national governments, the private sector, and international support funds and climate finance. Despite an agreement signed in late 2013 between government ministries to develop a supply chain that would involve the aviation industry, fuel producers and researchers, little has come from it.
The sky’s the limit for sustainable aviation fuels, says Canadian government as it launches competition
Thu 23 Aug 2018 – Reducing aviation’s environmental footprint is critical in the transition to a lower-carbon economy and cleaner fuels are central to those efforts, believes Natural Resources Canada, which has launched an initiative to stimulate the development of sustainable aviation fuels. The government says it is challenging Canadians to develop clean, affordable fuel for the aviation sector to further reduce its carbon footprint and fight climate change. The ‘Sky’s the Limit Challenge’ consists of two competitions with significant prize money to develop innovative SAF development solutions and also produce enough made-in-Canada biojet to fuel a cross-Canadian commercial flight. Partners in the initiative include Air Canada, WestJet and GARDN.
“This unique challenge facilitates collaborations to support a game-changing transformation of the aviation industry,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “A Canadian-made sustainable aviation fuel will grow our clean economy and create good, middles-class jobs for Canadian workers.”
The ‘Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition’ will provide C$2 million ($1.5m) apiece for four teams that develop the most innovative solutions, followed by an 18-month competition to produce the most economical and environmentally sustainable aviation fuel that will net the winner C$5 million in prize money. Under the second ‘Cross-Canada Flight Competition’, the first participant to fuel a Canadian commercial flight using a minimum 10% blend of made-in-Canada biojet fuel will win C$1 million. The prize winners will be announced by the end of March 2021.
The organisers of the challenge say they have engaged a wide range of partners to support a Canadian biojet supply chain, including researchers, feedstock supplies, fuel producers and consumers. Air Canada and WestJet will serve as carriers for the Cross-Canada Flight Competition.
Welcoming the government initiative, Air Canada’s Director, Environmental Affairs, Teresa Ehman said: “To date, we have operated eight biofuel flights, including our most recent one from Edmonton to San Francisco earlier this spring, demonstrating the potential to reduce our carbon footprint as we continue to foster and advocate for the development of sustainable aviation biofuels in Canada.”
Added Mike McNaney, VP Industry, Corporate and Airport Affairs, WestJet: “With our long history of innovation, as well as our ongoing participation in a number of clean-fuel initiatives, we look forward to engaging with members of the biojet value chain to meet this challenge.”
Sylvain Cofsky, Executive Director of the Montreal-based Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), said the initiative could help launch a new industry. “We truly believe that the environmental challenges faced by the air transport sector can only be surmounted by a shared vision amongst industry, government, academia and society, where collaborative work is key to accelerate the production and integration of sustainable fuels in the aviation sector’s regular operations.”
The Canadian government says it is exploring opportunities to purchase biojet fuel for future use in federal aviation fleets “once it is commercially available at a competitive price”.
Said Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau: “Reducing emissions from the aviation sector is a priority for the Government of Canada. To achieve our goal, we must collectively find creative solutions to develop cleaner fuels. The ‘Sky’s the Limit Challenge’ is an innovative idea to leverage Canada’s know-how in fighting climate change.”
The ‘Sky’s the Limit’ is the second of five planned challenges under Natural Resources Canada’s C$75 million ($57m) Impact Canada Initiative that aims to drive innovation and accelerate the clean growth economy.
The Sky’s the Limit Challenge