GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 12 OCTOBER 2018
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Norway’s government introduces 0.5 per cent blending mandate for advanced aviation biofuels from 2020
Thu 11 Oct 2018 – The Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment has announced a requirement for a minimum requirement of 0.5% content of advanced biofuel be mixed with jet fuel sold from 2020. This follows a consultation that had proposed a 1% requirement by 2019. The ministry has stipulated that no biofuel should be used from “problematic” raw materials such as palm oil and should come instead from advanced fuels produced from wastes and residues. They have used calculations from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency to estimate that the mandate will result in a reduction of 14,000 tonnes of CO2e in the first year. Meanwhile, as part of its 2019 national budget, the government has said it intends increasing the air passenger tax on long-haul flights and reducing it on regional flights in order to give the tax an “environmental profile”.
Commenting on the advanced aviation biofuel mandate, Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen said: “Biofuels are part of the solution to reduce emissions from the transport sector, especially in aviation where the options are limited over the long-term. At the same time, we know that the climate effect of biofuels varies between the different types. Therefore, we are now demanding that advanced biofuels be used in the blending requirement for aviation.”
The government says it is up to the those involved in the jet fuel supply chain to work out how the mandate should be achieved, and they should “adapt to the requirement as appropriate”.
Said Elvestuen: “The government’s goal is that by 2030, 30% of airline fuel will be sustainable and with climate benefits. By establishing a blending requirement, we can ensure that there is a market for alternative aviation fuels. This will facilitate technology and industry development in Norway.
“By postponing the introduction to 2020 and notifying this in good time, we are providing predictability to the industry and the time to adapt.”
He told Reuters that the 0.5% quota would correspond to a price increase for airlines of around NOK 54 million ($6.5m) annually.
The 30% by 2030 target stems from a report published by Rambøll on behalf of the Norwegian aviation sector in 2017 (see article). The report found that a domestic aviation biofuel market could be created based on the use of sustainable feedstocks from Norwegian forestry residues and pulpwood. However, it said this would be only possible with the help of policy intervention and public funding because of the need to address the price premium of sustainable fuels compared to traditional jet fuel.
The report suggested implementing a blending requirement to build a market and creating a fund to bridge the price gap. A fund could be raised, it suggested, by uniting the Norwegian carbon tax on fuel used on domestic flights with the air passenger tax and use it to cover the price differential or purchase biofuel on behalf of airlines.
Earlier this year, Norwegian airport operator Avinor set out an ambition for all domestic and short-haul flights lasting up to one-and-a-half hours be operated by electric aircraft by 2040 (see article).
Climate action and climate resilience are two sides of the same challenge for airports around the world, says ACI
Wed 10 Oct 2018 – The number of airports worldwide engaged in the sector’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme has risen to 246 over the past year, representing a 25% increase over the previous year. Collectively, those airports managed to reduce their CO2 emissions by 347,000 tonnes. The programme has four levels of accreditation and 48 have now achieved the highest carbon neutral status. Of those, 44 airports have reported offsetting 672,000 tonnes of CO2 during the latest year of the programme, which was originally launched by trade body ACI Europe in June 2009. Meanwhile, ACI World has published a policy brief to encourage airports to conduct risk assessments, consider various adaptation measures and develop mitigation strategies for the potential impact of climate change on their infrastructure and operations.
“Airports around the world recognise that climate resilience and climate action are two sides of the same challenge,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World, at last week’s Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva.
The four levels of Airport Carbon Accreditation – mapping, reduction, optimisation and neutrality – are designed to cover all stages of carbon management. The programme is independently administered by consultancy WSP and has the support of the UNFCCC, UNEP, ICAO, US FAA and the European Commission.
“Our efforts to empower aviation to address its carbon emissions rely on the participation of as many actors in the sector as possible,” commented Dr Fang Liu, ICAO’s Secretary General. “ICAO follows the progress of ACI’s programme with keen interest. Its growing success – with emissions under the airports’ direct control being reduced by 5.3% in the past year – is worthy of heartfelt congratulations to all involved.”
Added Gittens: “The 246 airports now accredited across the four levels welcomed 3.3 billion passengers last year, which represents 44.2% of global passenger traffic. All of those airports engaged in climate action voluntarily.
“This collective effort is based on the airports industry making environmental stewardship a priority and it is making a difference. From May 2017 to May 2018, accredited airports succeeded in collectively reducing the CO2 emissions under their direct control by 347,026 tonnes. To put that achievement in perspective, it would take more than 8 million trees planted over 10 years to absorb the equivalent amount of CO2.”
A report of Year 9 of the programme has just been published by ACI.
The resilience and adaptation policy brief has been produced to support airport operators and help them better understand the risks related to more adverse weather events, and consider conducting risk assessments to define their adaptation plans for both existing and new infrastructure and operations. ACI says it will help airport management teams across different departments through case studies of best practice adopted at airports in Norway, Australia, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Amsterdam and Singapore.
It also provides recommendations, an extensive rundown of potential climate stressors and their related potential impacts, and a non-exhaustive list of airports that have already started to work on climate change resilience and adaptation.
Recent weather events have brought the issue into even sharper focus, noted Gittens. “It is well understood that climate change could have far-reaching effects and airports are certainly not immune to them,” she said. “The aim of this policy brief is to provide airports with practical information, advice and real-life examples that they can use to examine their own practices. Each airport can then make decisions on how they may introduce, improve or adapt their own procedures and resilience plans that best suit their infrastructure and local conditions.”
The policy brief addresses an intention of a resolution passed by ACI members at their annual World Assembly in June that recognised the potential impact of climate change on airport infrastructure and operations.
Government support for LanzaTech’s low-carbon jet fuel could enable three UK plants by 2025, says Virgin Atlantic
Tue 9 Oct 2018 – Virgin Atlantic has urged the UK government to offer LanzaTech access to the same incentives given to earlier generations of biofuels that would provide critical investor support to enable the building of three commercial low-carbon jet fuel production plants in the UK. With the incentives, LanzaTech says the three plants could be producing up to 125 million gallons of sustainable fuel per year by 2025 – enough to fly all Virgin Atlantic’s UK outbound flights as a 50/50 mix with conventional jet fuel – and other important benefits to the UK. Without support, “the opportunity will no doubt be picked up elsewhere,” said the airline. Government ministers were on hand at London Gatwick Airport to welcome the first commercial flight to use the LanzaTech alcohol-to-jet fuel.
The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 flight from Orlando, Florida, was also greeted by the airline’s founder, Sir Richard Branson.
“Long haul travel is more important than ever for connecting people around the world and it’s our responsibility to ensure we’re doing that in the most sustainable way possible,” he said. “Working with LanzaTech will enable us to greatly reduce our carbon emissions and at the same time, help support UK industry. That’s why we’re excited to showcase this fuel on its first commercial flight as we plan for the world’s first full scale jet fuel plant using this amazing new technology.
“The LanzaTech process is important because this fuel takes waste, carbon-rich gases from industrial factories and gives them a second life – so that new fossil fuels don’t have to be taken out of the ground. This flight is a huge step forward in making this new technology a mainstream reality.”
The waste, carbon-rich gases are converted to make ethanol, which can then be used for a range of low-carbon products, including jet fuel. The alcohol-to-jet process was developed in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Lab and the US Department of Energy. If the technology was rolled out globally to the world’s eligible steel mills – about 65% in all – LanzaTech estimates production could supply around 20% of the current demand for commercial aviation fuel. The Chicago-headquartered company also highlights 70% life-cycle carbon savings as well as no land, food or water competition issues and RSB sustainability certification. Because of the plentiful, affordable supply of waste-streams, it says the fuel could be competitive with current fossil fuel prices.
Apart from saving nearly 1 million tonnes of life-cycle carbon in a hard-to-carbonise sector, Virgin Atlantic claims three UK plants would support a burgeoning bio-economy sector, thousands of clean growth jobs across the supply chain, enhanced fuel security and provide important trade import and export potential. “All benefits the UK desperately needs as we face a post-Brexit Britain,” says the airline.
CEO Craig Kreeger said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we’ve always been committed to reducing our environmental impact and LanzaTech will play a big part in that ambition. Alongside flying more efficient aircraft, sustainable jet fuel is critical to reducing our carbon footprint in the future. We’re excited to host this landmark event and are now calling on the UK government to commit to the critical next steps to help bring this next generation sustainable fuel to the UK.”
LanzaTech has already secured a £410,000 ($530,000) UK government ‘Future Fuels for Flight and Freight’ grant towards a feasibility study for a 40-50 million US gallon commercial-scale jet fuel plant. Second-stage capital funding grants are due to be made available through the Department of Transport to successful applicants in early 2019.
“We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new, environmentally-friendly fuels, especially for aeroplanes that will rely on traditional fuels for years to come,” commented UK Aviation Minister Liz Sugg at the Gatwick ceremony. “We’re supporting innovation in advanced fuels through the ‘Future Fuels for Flight and Freight’ competition that will help industry build advanced low-carbon fuel plants here in the UK.”
Added Claire Perry, Energy and Clean Growth Minister: “As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re backing this kind of outside-the-box thinking by investing £100 million (US$130m) in low-carbon industrial innovation to ensure we modernise our industries and accelerate the shift to low-carbon transport.”
Virgin Atlantic – Environment , LanzaTech
Industry and countries prepare for introduction of CORSIA but “much work to be done”
Tue 9 Oct 2018 – With just three months to go before all airlines with international flights must start monitoring their carbon emissions, ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme was centre stage at this year’s Global Sustainable Aviation Summit (GSAS) in Geneva organised by the industry’s Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). Marking a decade since the industry announced its emissions reduction goals through to 2050, IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said flying was now 20 per cent more efficient. He called on more governments to volunteer to join CORSIA and reaffirm it as the single global market-based measure for aviation emissions. This was backed by a senior FAA official who said continued US support for CORSIA was driven by a need to avoid a patchwork of national and regional measures, adding it was essential China took part in CORSIA.
Around 250 airlines are reported to have attended industry-organised CORSIA workshops this year, which ATAG Executive Director Michael Gill told delegates had demonstrated a high degree of readiness for the scheme’s introduction.
“There has been an outstanding response to training and very positive engagement at all the workshops where we held exercises on developing emissions monitoring plans – a key first step in preparing for CORSIA implementation,” he said. “This is the first time any global system like this has been attempted and, despite lots of detailed questions arising, I am confident that the industry is on track to meet its obligations.”
To meet the carbon-neutral growth from 2020 target of CORSIA, a global baseline of CO2 emissions from international aviation activity has to be established for the 2019-20 period. Airlines and aeroplane operators are required to submit an emissions monitoring plan to their national reporting authority ahead of the 1 January 2019 start. Governments must ensure these plans are signed off, are implementing a national regulatory framework and were ready to receive emissions reports when delivered, said Gill. “More work needs to be done in many parts of the world,” he noted.
To help countries prepare for CORSIA implementation, ICAO launched its Assistance, Capacity-building and Training (ACT-CORSIA) initiative in July. Around 90 States have been targeted to receive the necessary assistance under ACT-CORSIA ‘Buddy Partnerships’ from donor States (19 have volunteered so far), reported ICAO’s environment chief, Jane Hupe.
In his opening keynote address, ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu said that in order for States to meet the 1 January 2019 deadline, the initiative was urgently needed and “time was of the essence” in implementing the new CORSIA MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification) standards – SARPS – adopted in June by the ICAO Council.
“The achievement of this milestone, in such a short period of time, is clearly representative of the increasing focus on climate change priorities which ICAO is now witnessing in every world region,” he said. “We are seeing unprecedented mobilisation by governments and industry stakeholders to ensure that everyone will be fully prepared when the SARPs become applicable next year.”
Gill said more work was required at ICAO over the coming months on deciding key aspects of the emissions units for CORSIA compliance.
Dr Aliu assured industry delegates that ICAO was “currently hard at work” on the so-called Implementation Elements of the CORSIA package. Significant progress had been made on the CORSIA CO2 Estimation and Reporting Tool (CERT) and the Council had endorsed the CORSIA Central Registry (CCR) framework.
“ICAO’s next steps will focus on ensuring that the remaining Elements are kept on track,” he added. “We will therefore be prioritising four key areas in preparation for the upcoming 40th ICAO Assembly in 2019, with the first of these being eligible emissions units.
“During its next Session [29 October – 16 November], the Council will be considering the results of the testing of the criteria and processes relevant to the effective evaluation of projects which generate carbon credits.
“The second focus will be on CORSIA eligible fuels and work is now ongoing with respect to life-cycle emissions values, a robust verification framework and effective sustainability criteria.”
He said the CCR is expected to be finalised by the end of 2018, with development and testing expected to take place through 2019 prior to becoming operational in early 2020. The last Element to be addressed before the Assembly involved verification and Dr Aliu reported ICAO and the International Accreditation Forum were presently finalising an agreement to ensure verifiers will be available and ready.
“The goal here, of course, will be to have accredited verification bodies in place by early 2020, when airline operators’ emissions reports will need to begin to be submitted.”
This year’s GSAS marked the tenth anniversary since the aviation industry came together to adopt short, medium and long term goals as part of a commitment to climate change action. The first is to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020 and IATA Senior Vice President Paul Steele reported that a 2.1% annual average improvement up till 2016 had been achieved.
The second target, carbon-neutral growth (CNG) from 2020, was ultimately for States to decide, said Steele. “The industry had a clear idea of what CNG should look like and how CORSIA could be implemented. We would have preferred a 100% commitment from all States with everything being launched at the same time as it would have made life a lot easier for everybody. But we are where we are and we have to respect the political process. The good news is that the 70-plus countries that have signed up so far, with coverage of 80% of traffic, means we’re on the right track.
“But there’s a huge amount more than needs to be done. With the clock ticking towards midnight, everything is now focused on implementation. If we as an industry do not deliver on CORSIA then we put our credibility at risk.”
IATA’s de Juniac said it was important that more States volunteered to join the first phases of CORSIA starting in 2021. “In tandem, we are working with governments to prevent actions that undermine the agreement, such as the unilateral implementation of environmental taxes,” he said. “The ICAO Assembly next year provides an opportunity for governments to reaffirm CORSIA as the single global measure for aviation climate mitigation. It’s a top priority for CORSIA to be effective.”
Sharing his government’s position on CORSIA in a workshop panel session, Kevin Welsh, Executive Director of the Office of Environment & Energy at the FAA, said the United States had continued to support the scheme, with avoiding a patchwork of national and regional measures being “the driving force”. He reminded delegates that the former Obama administration had passed a law that gave powers to prohibit US airlines joining the EU’s Emissions Trading System and which also called for the US to work through ICAO to negotiate a global measure.
“This law has continued to inform our position. What’s critical for the United States to continue to engage on CORSIA is not to see a proliferation of measures around the world. Frankly, we are concerned – what we see is the opposite. Despite what has been agreed at ICAO, we see countries continuing to consider other measures, and that’s going to be a problem and a challenge, not just for the US but other governments as well.
“Secondly, it’s of critical importance that there is participation by a broad group of countries and, in particular, the main aviation countries. There is some uncertainty about China’s participation from the outset although they continue to take part in the process. I will say from a US perspective, it’s essential China as one of the major aviation countries in the world, and certainly one of the major emitters, be part of CORSIA.
He said it was vital for the United States to see the full implementation of CORSIA against the challenges posed at the policy and political level. “Each step of the implementation process is like coming back to the Assembly for governments to agree again to do CORSIA. We still have critical decisions that are upcoming on the emissions units and how that is going to play out and that gets into what CORSIA is going to cost,” he told delegates.
“We in the US are working on implementation and designing a system for compliance by our operators that will provide a seamless way for them to file their emissions monitoring plan, report their emissions and then take care of their offsetting in the 2020s.
“CORSIA will be successful in my view because of its voluntary nature and more and more countries will see it as ‘badge of honour’ to participate.”
The long-term industry climate goal of reducing carbon emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050 (‘2050/minus 50’) will be an even greater challenge, IATA’s de Juniac told the conference.
“Progress in technology, operations and infrastructure – especially air traffic management – will match or better our fuel efficiency achievements of the past decade,” he said. “But our ‘2050/minus 50’ goal will test our resolve even more. We will not move forward on a consistent glide path, but we are on the right trajectory. The industry is ready for the next step-change in technology in the 2030s: hybrid and electric planes, and the large-scale roll-out of sustainable fuels.”
Michael Gill of ATAG said the target was for sustainable fuels to make up 2% of the industry’s total fuel consumption by 2025, which would act as a ‘tipping point’. However, he said, it would require a huge commitment by airlines, governments, academics and traditional fuel suppliers.
Jane Hupe of ICAO said States were still discussing a long-term goal and the issue would likely come up at next year’s Assembly.
During the Geneva event, ATAG released its latest ‘Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders’ report. It finds the global air transport sector currently supports 65.5 million jobs and $2.7 trillion in global economic activity, which is forecast to rise to 97.8 million and $5.7 trillion respectively by 2036. However, said Gill, a retreat from internationalism and a world with protectionist policies could lead to 12 million fewer aviation-supported jobs and $1.2 trillion less in economic benefits per annum.
The next Global Sustainable Aviation Summit will be held in Montreal on 13/14 May 2019.
Majority of public believe cutting emissions is main priority for changes to UK airspace, finds poll conducted for NATS
Thu 27 Sept 2018 – Research commissioned by UK air traffic service provider NATS shows just over half (52%) of 1,000 people polled by Ipsos MORI agreed that reducing aircraft carbon emissions should be the top priority from any reworking of the UK’s airspace. Improving flight paths (36%) and reducing aircraft noise (32%) were next in line of importance. Less than a quarter (24%) of those polled cited increasing airport capacity as a priority, although almost half – a figure that rises to 64% in London – agreed that airport expansion was “the right thing to do”, with 15% disagreeing. NATS says much of the UK’s network of air routes and flight paths, originally designed in the 1960s, are in urgent need of modernisation.
The ‘Aviation Index’ research also showed that 49% of those surveyed would support changes to flight paths, against just 6% opposing any changes, with almost 60% saying the process should be given the same priority as the roll-out of high-speed broadband.
A huge majority of those interviewed had flown at least once in their lives and over half having done so in the past 12 months, with nine in ten flights for leisure purposes. Young people aged between 18-24 were the group most likely to have flown recently.
“We know that people still want to fly and that demand is growing, but these results show us that people also want to see a reduction in the environmental impact of aviation,” commented Ian Jopson, Head of Environment and Community Affairs at NATS. “Modernising how our airspace is structured and managed is the main way for us to do that.”
The current structure does not allow air traffic controllers to take advantage of the navigation capabilities of modern aircraft, which would allow for more direct routes with smoother, quieter flight profiles, says NATS. This would help reduce delays by improving capacity and lead to lower carbon emissions, it adds.
Despite the majority of respondents agreeing that reducing emissions was a priority, more of them agreed (45%) than disagreed (21%) that residential areas should also be avoided as far as possible, even if it resulted in an increase in fuel burn and emissions.
“These findings are totally in line with the guiding principles around airspace change, with minimising noise for local communities the top priority at lower levels and reducing carbon emissions at higher altitudes,” said Jopson. “That’s exactly the balance we’ll be looking to achieve and we want to work with communities to achieve that.”
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has just closed a public consultation on a draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy published in July. The UK government has tasked the CAA with preparing and maintaining a coordinated strategy and plan for the use and modernisation of UK airspace up to 2040. The final strategy is expected to be published at the end of this year.
Heathrow announces investment in its first peatland restoration project as part of carbon neutrality target
Mon 24 Sept 2018 – As part of plans to be carbon neutral by 2020, Heathrow Airport is to invest £94,000 ($124,000) in a peatland restoration pilot project in the north-west of England. Peatlands represent the UK’s biggest store of carbon despite 94% of natural peatland having been either destroyed or damaged. The airport believes that by supporting research into the climate benefits of peatland restoration, the pilot project will help explore opportunities for peatland to deliver cost effective carbon offsetting alongside a range of other benefits such as biodiversity, water quality and flood protection. It also hopes similar projects would make a good option for airlines as part of their CORSIA carbon offsetting commitments. Heathrow says it aims to operate zero carbon airport infrastructure by 2050 and has announced Terminal 2 is now powered entirely by renewable means.
Heathrow will be working with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the government’s environment ministry DEFRA to restore an area of peat bog land west of Manchester that has been subject to commercial peat extraction for over 15 years. Restoration will take place over three years and the restored site will continue to be publicly accessible for cycling, walks and community events. It will involve pumping water to the site, planting native plant species and eventually allowing the area to restore its habitat and wildlife.
According to the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, deep peat covers an estimated 3 million hectares – 12% of the UK land area – and provides a store of at least 3,000 million tonnes of carbon, which is 20 times as much carbon stored in the whole of the UK’s forest biomass. However, 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year are being lost to the atmosphere from the UK’s damaged peatlands, it says.
The Little Woolden Moss pilot project will restore 70 hectares of peatland and DEFRA indicators show restoration could lead to savings of 22,427 tonnes of CO2 over 30 years, which Heathrow says is the equivalent to nearly 64,000 passenger journeys from the airport to New York.
Following this pilot project, Heathrow says it plans to invest in more peatland restoration projects over the next two years and is already exploring other locations.
“We are very excited to announce our partnership with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and explore how UK peatlands can be used as a carbon offsetting tool,” said Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye. “Climate change is the greatest challenge our generation is facing and while this is just the first of many projects, we hope it will be a model for the aviation industry to follow.”
To achieve its aim of operating zero carbon airport infrastructure by 2050, day to day operation of the infrastructure must result in no emissions of greenhouse gases, explains the airport. With all of the airport running on 100% renewable electricity since April 2017, Heathrow claims it is already nearly 80% towards it zero carbon goal. Terminal 2 has 124 solar panels on its roof, an on-site biomass boiler using locally sourced forestry waste, and renewable gas and electricity supplies.
Heathrow has recently joined the global Science Based Targets initiative, pledging that it will align its emissions targets with the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees. It says it is one of only 11 companies to be accredited and the first airport at the Level 2 Carbon Trust Supply Chain Standard, which recognises work with suppliers to target year-on-year reductions in supply chain carbon emissions.
Japan Airlines consortium to invest $8 million in US waste-to-jet fuel company Fulcrum
Fri 21 Sept 2018 – Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced a strategic partnership to develop sustainable aviation fuels that will include a 900 million yen ($8 million) investment in waste-to-jet fuel US company Fulcrum BioEnergy. The other partners include the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) and Marubeni Corporation, which will lead the partnership. In early 2009, JAL became the first Asian airline to fly an aircraft powered by sustainable aviation fuel when it undertook a test flight of a Boeing 747 using fuel produced from camelina oil. Fulcrum has already secured investment and jet fuel offtake agreements from Cathay Pacific and United Airlines. In May, it broke ground on its Sierra BioFuels production facility in Nevada, which is expected to start operations in early 2020.
In a short statement, JAL said the commitment to invest in and accelerate the development of sustainable aviation fuel conversion technology was aimed at fulfilling the targets outlined in the company’s Medium Term Management Plan and to actively contribute to the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the goal on climate action.
Fulcrum says the strategic partnership includes a 10-year international project development agreement, a jet fuel offtake agreement and an equity investment in the company.
“Marubeni’s strong global experience and market presence opens up new growth paths for us,” said Fulcrum CEO Jim Macias. “Over the past several years, we have established a strong working relationship with Marubeni and I’m excited about our plans together. Fulcrum’s municipal solid waste (MSW) to fuels process will have an impact on combatting global climate change by providing low-carbon fuel to markets around the world. We will lower carbon emissions from transportation while creating high-paying jobs and driving innovation.”
The two companies say they will jointly develop waste-to-fuels plants in international markets where Marubeni has business and market interests. Included in the development agreement is a project licence that will allow the utilisation of Fulcrum’s patented and proprietary process
Japan Airlines was involved in a government-backed initiative in 2014 to investigate the potential of developing a domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry. Over 30 companies and organisations from the airline, aerospace, fuel, engineering, finance and research sectors formed a group called Initiatives for Next-generation Aviation Fuels (INAF) to plan a roadmap that would result in nationally-sourced SAF being available by the time of the next Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2020. All Nippon Airways, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Narita International Airport and Boeing, as well as JAL, were among the INAF members.
A report was subsequently published in July 2015 that identified potential raw material and technology routes that could provide sufficient supplies of SAF over the following five years. Fuel production from municipal waste was suggested by the report as a path along which an early commencement of production and future expansion of supply could be anticipated, based on the quantity of municipal waste available in major Japanese cities.
The report noted, however, the price differential with conventional jet fuel was a major barrier to commercialisation and policy incentives were required as a prerequisite (see article). Since then, INAF activities appear to have ceased.
Cathay Pacific was the first airline to identify the potential of Fulcrum BioEnergy’s municipal solid waste to jet fuel process and made an undisclosed equity investment in the California-based company in August 2014. It also negotiated a long-term supply agreement for an initial 375 million gallons of SAF over 10 years, representing around 2% of the airline’s annual fuel consumption.
United Airlines followed a year later when it took an equity stake in Fulcrum valued at $30 million and both sides agreed to jointly develop up to five projects located near to United’s hub airports that would be expected to produce up to 180 million gallons of SAF a year. Subject to availability, the deal also gives United the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons a year for a minimum of 10 years at a price competitive with conventional jet fuel.
Fulcrum says it is accelerating the development of several projects located in strategic markets across North America and Europe.
Japan Airlines – Environment , Fulcrum BioEnergy , Marubeni Corporation , Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN)
Delivery flight of new Airbus A321 marks first-ever use by JetBlue of renewable jet fuel
Fri 21 Sept 2018 – A delivery flight yesterday of an Airbus A321 from the Airbus A320 Family production facility in Mobile, Alabama, to customer JetBlue marked the first-ever use of renewable jet fuel by the New York-based carrier. Both the pre-delivery acceptance test flight and the JetBlue scheduled ferry flight were powered by a blend of fuel consisting of 15.5% renewable jet fuel provided by Airbus and supplied and certified by Air BP. An additional four new Airbus A321 aircraft that are due to be delivered to JetBlue by the end of 2018 will also use the fuel. Since 2016, Airbus has offered customers the option of biofuel-powered delivery flights from its main base in Toulouse through a partnership with Total, with Cathay Pacific taking up the option for new Airbus A350 deliveries to Hong Kong. Airbus says it intends offering the option to other airlines taking deliveries from its Mobile facility.
“Our goal is to source sustainable fuels in the southeastern United States,” said Frédéric Eychenne, Head of New Energies at Airbus. “It is an opportunity to work closely with local stakeholders to scale-up production and the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels in the region. We are actively seeking ideas to leverage Airbus’ strategy into opportunities for new economic development in Alabama.”
An Airbus spokesperson added: “Airbus wants to be a catalyst for stimulating demand for the aviation sector, creating market conditions in the southeast of the United States that allow producers to sell sustainable fuels within the region. We see a win-win situation in which Airbus can meet its customers’ need for making aircraft delivery flights from Mobile with sustainable fuel by sourcing these fuels locally, and creating high-value infrastructure, jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in the process.”
As locally produced sustainable jet fuel is not yet commercially available in the region, Airbus and Air BP sourced the renewable fuel – produced from used cooking oil – for this week’s and subsequent JetBlue delivery flights from a storage facility in Sweden.
“We are working closely with airlines and aircraft manufacturers, such as Airbus, to drive change by promoting and securing the supply of sustainable alternative jet fuel,” said Air BP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Matt Elliott.
The fuel for the JetBlue delivery flights is being loaded into the aircraft by Signature Flight Support, which provides refuelling services for Airbus in Mobile. It is also collaborating with Air BP to offer business jet customers what they describe as carbon neutral fuel by offsetting the emissions through the BP Target Neutral programme.
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said a sustainable future for aviation would require cooperation among all parts of the industry. “Renewable jet fuel affirms JetBlue’s belief that we can help define our industry’s future path. Our goal is to serve as a market-maker for renewable jet fuel, creating demand and therefore supporting supply. We’re working closely with Airbus to set up infrastructure for more options in the southeast region.”
In 2016, the airline announced what it claimed to be one of the largest ever renewable jet fuel offtake agreements with Philadelphia-based SG Preston (see article). JetBlue plans to purchase more than 33 million gallons of blended jet fuel per year over a 10-year period. The blend is to be made up of 30% HEFA-derived renewable fuel produced from sustainable non-food plant oils that are expected to achieve a 50% or higher reduction in life-cycle emissions compared to the fossil equivalent. SG Preston is looking to build five plants initially, each producing 120 million gallons of renewable fuel per year.
JetBlue – Sustainability , Airbus – Sustainable alternative fuels for aviation , Air BP