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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 06-May-2021

Analysis

Ryanair and Trinity College launch 'Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre'

LATAM Airlines Group aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

Alaska Airlines to replace single use plastic bottles with 92% plant based cartons

Envirotainer launches first in new family of temperature controlled airfreight containers

Port of Seattle Commission reviews SAF strategic plan at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

Ryanair and Trinity College launch 'Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre'

Ryanair, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, announced (29-Apr-2021) plans to launch the 'Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre'. Trinity College Dublin provided a EUR1.5 million donation which Trinity will use to for a multi-disciplinary research team to engage in and accelerate research around sustainable aviation fuels, zero carbon aircraft propulsion systems and noise mapping.

The project, which will employ six people, is due to commence in summer 2021. Ryanair's director of sustainability Thomas Fowler stated: "This EUR1.5m donation by Ryanair to help open Ireland's first Sustainable Aviation Research Centre is a hugely exciting project and an important pillar of our environmental targets, supporting our goal to power 12.5% of flights with sustainable aviation fuels by 2030". [more - original PR]

Original report: Ryanair & Trinity College Launch SAF Centre Ryanair Commits To 12.5% SAF Goal By 2030

Trinity College Dublin in partnership with Ryanair, EU’s greenest airline, today (29 April) announced the launch of the Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre. This landmark initiative – the first of its kind in Ireland –  has been made possible by a €1.5m donation which Trinity will use to seed a multi-disciplinary research team to engage in best-in-class research around Sustainable Aviation Fuels, Zero Carbon Aircraft Propulsion Systems and Noise Mapping. This new knowledge will inform the policies of both EU and international governments on making aviation environmentally and economically sustainable, as well as harness future investments by the aviation industry towards sustainability. The project, which will employ six people, is due to commence in Summer 2021.

Ryanair believes that aviation must play a leading role in addressing climate change, and is placing an increased emphasis on mitigating how its business impacts the environment. By 2030, Ryanair’s goal is to power 12.5% of its flights with sustainable aviation fuels. This together with investment in new Boeing “Gamechanger” aircraft, will significantly reduce its CO2 and noise footprint over the next decade.

Sustainability and Low Carbon Technologies are a key thrust of new knowledge generation at Trinity. This partnership will become part of E3 – the Engineering, Environment and Emerging Technologies initiative at Trinity College Dublin, which is tackling complex, global problems, such as those faced by the aviation industry. This Gold Standard research will seek to develop sustainable solutions for an industry striving towards a profitable, carbon neutral future, with greener offerings for their customers and a liveable planet for all.

The Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre will accelerate three key core areas of research:

  1. Sustainable Aviation Fuels
  2. Zero Carbon Aircraft Propulsion Systems
  3. Noise Mapping for Low-Noise Aircraft Fleets

Ryanair’s Director of Sustainability, Thomas Fowler, said: 

“This €1.5m donation by Ryanair to help open Ireland’s first Sustainable Aviation Research Centre is a hugely exciting project and an important pillar of our environmental targets, supporting our goal to power 12.5% of flights with sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. As Europe’s largest airline, we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment, to make flying greener and lead our industry towards a more sustainable way of flying while keeping our fares low and affordable for all EU families.

This partnership with Trinity College Dublin seeks to inform and improve future investment by the aviation industry to secure a carbon neutral future for aviation and noise reduction through investment in new technologies. We look forward to working with Associate Professor Stephen Dooley, Professor Stephen Spence and their teams, as they engage in much-sought after research around Sustainable Aviation Fuels, Zero Carbon Aircraft Propulsion Systems and Noise Mapping for low noise aircraft fleets in the hope that the industry will have the knowledge to invest confidently in sustainable fuels and technology going forward”.

Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, said:

“The critical need for humanity to meet the great challenge of our time – climate change – demands new thinking on every front. Science and technological research have a vital role to play in finding balanced solutions for a better world and E3 is Trinity’s farsighted response to this demand. Using emerging technologies, our multi-disciplinary teams of scientists and engineers in Trinity’s new Sustainable Aviation Research Centre will tackle important questions such as how to reduce aircraft emissions with sustainable aviation fuels, electric propulsion, and reduced noise and we are delighted to welcome Ryanair, which has committed itself to being Europe’s cleanest and greenest airline, on board as we explore these exciting new horizons.” 

LATAM Airlines Group aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

LATAM Airlines Group announced (05-May-2021) it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and will implement the following measures to do so:

  • Eliminate single use plastics by 2023;
  • Recycle all waste on domestic services;
  • Make all LATAM lounges 100% sustainable;
  • Achieve zero waste to landfill by 2027;
  • Collaborate with The Nature Conservancy to undertake conservation and reforestation actions in iconic ecosystems in Latin America;
  • Increase use of sustainable aviation fuels;
  • Promote carbon emissions offsets programme for passengers and cargo customers;
  • LATAM Airlines Group to offset 50% of emissions from its domestic operations by 2030.

LATAM Airlines Group CEO Roberto Alvo stated: "the environment cannot wait 15 years to have the necessary technologies to reduce emissions", adding "this is why we will work in parallel to promote these transformations and offset our emissions through nature-based solutions". [more - original PR]

Original report: LATAM Group announces that it will be zero waste to landfill by 2027 and carbon neutral by 2050

LATAM Group announces that it will be zero waste to landfill by 2027 and carbon neutral by 2050

  • LATAM and TNC (The Nature Conservancy) will collaborate in order to identify conservation projects, protecting iconic ecosystems, such as the Amazon, the Chaco, the Llanos del Orinoco, the Atlantic forest and El Cerrado, among others. By developing a portfolio of conservation projects and other initiatives, the group will offset 50% of emissions from its domestic operations by 2030.
  • Before 2023, the group will eliminate single-use plastics, recycle all waste on domestic flights, make its LATAM lounges 100% sustainable, and expand its recycling program for uniforms and other materials. The goal is to be a zero waste to landfill company by 2027.
  • At the same time, LATAM Group will expand its Solidarity Plane program for free transportation of people and cargo for the health, environmental care and natural disasters sectors.

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, zero waste to landfill by 2027 and protecting iconic ecosystems in South America, are some of the commitments that are part of the LATAM Group Sustainability Strategy, launched today.

“We are facing a critical moment in the history of humanity, with a serious climate crisis and a pandemic that has changed our society. Today, it is not enough to do the usual. As a group we have the responsibility to go further in the search for collective solutions. We want to be an actor that promotes the social, environmental and economic development of the region; therefore, we are assuming a commitment that seeks to contribute to the conservation of ecosystems and the well-being of the people of South America, making it a better place for all of them,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

One of the most important announcements was the first stage of a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), to plan conservation and reforestation actions in iconic ecosystems in the region. TNC is a global environmental organization that works based on science, creating solutions for the most urgent challenges of our planet, so that nature and people may prosper together.

“With more than 35 years of experience in Latin America, our scientific studies have shown that forest restoration and regeneration can efficiently contribute to the Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs) goals. TNC believes that multisectorial collaboration accelerates the implementation of nature-based solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect biodiversity, and develop a more prosperous future for people in the region,” said Ian Thompson, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Brazil.

A strategy for the next 30 years

The sustainability strategy for the next 30 years includes four pillars of work: environmental management, climate change, circular economy and shared value. The lines of action were designed collaboratively with experts and environmental organizations from across the region.

Regarding the climate change pillar, the group announced that it will work to reduce its emissions through the incorporation of sustainable fuels and new aviation technologies that are expected to be available beginning 2035. “The environment cannot wait 15 years to have the necessary technologies to reduce emissions. This is why we will work in parallel to promote these transformations and offset our emissions through nature-based solutions,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

Through the development of a portfolio of conservation projects and other initiatives, LATAM Group will contribute to offset 50% of its domestic emissions by 2030, establishing a path to be carbon neutral by 2050. It will intervene in iconic ecosystems of South America, such as the Amazon, the Chaco, the Llanos of Orinoco, the Atlantic forest and El Cerrado, among others.

Additionally, LATAM Group will promote a program that will allow passengers, corporate and cargo customers the option of offsetting the CO2 emissions associated with their trips. In parallel, the group will offset the same amount of CO2 emissions as customers under the 1+1 program.

In circular economy, LATAM Group is committed to promoting a culture of elimination, reduction, reuse and recycling throughout the operation, in order to reach 2027 as a group that generates zero waste to landfill. To do this, single-use plastics will be eliminated before 2023 and the on-board recycling program will be expanded on all domestic routes of the LATAM Group, and all LATAM lounges will be made 100% sustainable. Similarly, the group will implement a uniform recycling program in all countries and a plan to replace materials on board with compostable, recyclable or certified items.

As part of the shared value pillar, the group will expand its capacity to transport cargo and people for health programs, natural disasters and environmental care. It should be remembered that since the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to the Solidarity Plane program, there has been the transportation of more than 29.4 million vaccines free of charge in its subsidiaries, more than 1,400 health professionals, over 490 tons of medical supplies and more than 1,500 organs and tissues in South America. At the same time, the program has confirmed 10 transports of stem cells for patients with blood cancer.

Lastly, in the case of environmental management, LATAM Group will implement a transparent and auditable system that will allow it to take into account environmental variables in all the group's processes, which will have environmental certification (IEnvA) throughout its operation, a reference in the industry, and that is granted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Alaska Airlines to replace single use plastic bottles with 92% plant based cartons

Alaska Airlines announced (05-May-2021) plans to replace single use plastic bottles in first class, as well in the main cabin on Q400 aircraft, with Boxed Water's 92% plant based cartons.

This will remove 7.2 million plastic bottles from landfills per year, equivalent to approximately 98,000 lbs of plastic. [more - original PR]

Original report: Boxed Water is helping Alaska Airlines reduce plastic waste onboard

When it comes to recycling and sustainability, we mean business. We’ve set goals to reduce our carbon emissions to net-zero by 2040, as well as efficiency, waste and water goals for 2025, and are always looking for ways to offset our footprint.

For over two years, we’ve reduced waste on board by shifting to more sustainable practices and service items such as ditching straws in our lounges and on aircraft, using cans instead of plastic bottles and reducing packaging where we can.

Today, we’re excited to partner with Boxed Water to begin to replace single-use plastic bottles in First Class, as well in the main cabin on our Q400 aircraft, with Boxed Water’s 92% plant-based cartons. This will effectively remove 7.2 million plastic bottles from landfills per year — that’s equivalent to approximately 98,000 lbs of plastic. Earlier this year, we introduced Boxed Water on Alaska’s Horizon Air operated flights and will expand the program to all Alaska flights this summer.

Boxed Water is exactly what it suggests: a fully recyclable box-shaped carton of water, sealed with a plant-based cap. Each carton is made from sustainably harvested trees and the multi-filtered water goes through a proprietary eight-step purification – giving it a clean, crisp taste.

Beyond our common goal of moving to non-plastic alternatives, both Boxed Water and Alaska partner with the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Boxed Water has planted 1.2 million trees with the organization and Alaska guests supporting their mission through donating Mileage Plan miles in our LIFT Miles program. Alaska also encourages our guests to bring their own refillable water bottle, and if each time a guest tags Alaska and #FillBeforeYouFly with a photo of their refillable, we’ll plant a tree in partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to strengthen local habitats.

Our sustainable journey

In 2007, several environmentally conscious Alaska and Horizon employees formed the “Green Team,” a business resource group dedicated to improving the environment through increased in-flight recycling and trash sorting programs and other environmental initiatives. The group was the first of its kind in the airline industry and their efforts have significantly decreased the amount of waste per guest that ends up in landfills. Green Team members were also involved in the selection process for Boxed Water.

“When researching alternatives to plastic water bottles, the Green Team considered a variety of factors on overall environmental impact such as water sourcing, packaging materials, recyclability, and shipping distance,” said Robbie Neff, Green Team member and pricing team lead at Alaska. “Boxed Water scored better than the other options of glass bottles and aluminum cans.”

While we know our greatest impact is reducing carbon emissions, every decision we make, including how we source the products we serve onboard is critically important. Alaska is committed to working with forward-thinking companies like Boxed Water that are focused on sustainability, both in their finished products and operations.

“We admire Boxed Water’s leadership to change manufacturing, production, conversation and consumer choice to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly future,” said Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products for Alaska Airlines. “We hope that when our guests are enjoying Boxed Water they are interested in learning more about eco-friendly products and, ideally, are inspired to make sustainable choices when they travel and on the ground.”

Envirotainer launches first in new family of temperature controlled airfreight containers

Envirotainer launched (05-May-2021) the Releye RLP temperature controlled airfreight container. The container uses the space of two one-pallet solutions to deliver three euro-pallets. Features include:

  • Airflow control, heating and cooling technology and new vacuum insulated panel technology. The temperature control systems are fully independent, providing redundancy for critical functions;
  • Live monitoring of container status with 18 integrated sensors, covering location, temperature, battery level, humidity, door openings and the presence of cargo in the container;
  • Autonomous operation for more than 170 hours;
  • Up to 90% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to available passive solutions, based on a life cycle analysis.

The Releye RLP is the first in a family of temperature controlled airfreight containers to be rolled out by Envirotainer in the near term. [more - original PR]

Original report: Envirotainer launches the Releye® RLP – simpler than passive, even better than active

Envirotainer, the global market leader in secure cold chain solutions for air transportation of pharmaceuticals, today launched their latest innovation, the Releye® RLP, a temperature-controlled air freight container with a revolutionary new footprint, unsurpassed autonomy, fully integrated live monitoring, and a unique air flow technology for maximum temperature stability in the cargo bay.

The Releye® RLP fills a substantial gap in the cold-chain pharmaceutical air freight market, utilizing the space of two 1-pallet solutions to deliver 3 euro-pallets, increasing cost-efficiency by 50 percent. It is the first in a family of temperature-controlled air freight containers Envirotainer will roll out near term.

With its unique feature set, the Releye® RLP sets a new standard for secure cold chain solutions:

  1. Control. The airflow control within the container ensures a homogeneous environment independent of cargo placement or size of shipment. Regardless of the state of the outside world, the latest heating and cooling technology, combined with the new vacuum insulated panel (VIP) technology, insulates the cargo from the most extreme conditions. The new airflow curtain reduces temperature impact if the doors are opened. The Releye® temperature-control systems are fully independent, providing total redundancy on all critical container functions.
  2. Live monitoring. Releye® RLP introduces a new dimension of visibility to the temperature-controlled air freight industry: the container status, in your hands, wherever you or your shipment is in the world. Its 18 integrated sensors provide a unique set of data points: monitoring of its location, temperature, battery level, humidity, door openings and if there is cargo inside or not, giving you a full grasp of the status of the shipment. Real-time monitoring allows you to instantly act and take personal control over the safe delivery of your cargo.
  3. Autonomy. Releye® runs unattended for over 170 hours. This means that the Releye® provides one week of autonomous operation, without recharging the batteries, protecting cargo even if stranded for several days. The autonomy is of course endless if the container is re-charged. This new level of autonomy also supports a quick and efficient Global Qualification approach.
  4. Cost-efficiency. The Releye® RLP introduces a new footprint that exploits the space of two 1-pallet solutions to house three Euro-pallets, saving more than 50% on air freight. Moreover, the RLP format offers a load height of 132 cm, the highest in the industry, all of which is available for cargo thanks to the improved airflow design. In combination with our other formats the RLP offers both increased volume-efficiency and flexibility. It becomes easier to optimize containers for just about any shipment by combining solution sizes.
  5. Sustainability. The Releye® RLP delivers up to a 90 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to available passive solutions based on a life-cycle analysis. The Releye® RLP is the latest example of our relentless pursuit of the total sustainability of our operations that led us to become climate neutral in 2020.

“35 years ago, Envirotainer set out to develop the world’s best containers for temperature-controlled air freight. It is with great pride we today announce the launch of our new Envirotainer Releye® RLP, a true innovation in secure cold chain solutions that sets a new industry standard for reliability with its live monitoring, intelligent cargo protection, unsurpassed autonomy and superior cost-efficiency”, says Michael Berg, CEO at Envirotainer.

Envirotainer has been leading the way ever since the beginning of the temperature-controlled air freight industry. The company has been driving the industry forward having released three generations of market-disruptive innovations, starting with the RKN and RAP dry-ice containers in the mid 90’s. In 2005 the second disruption came with the launch of the world’s first active heating and cooling container, the RKN e1, and then again disrupting the market in 2010 with the world’s first active heating and cooling RAP sized container; the RAP e2. The Releye® RLP is the culmination of 35 years of industry experience and is based on insights from customers, industry experts and stakeholders as well as data captured during shipments.

“Apart from 170 hours autonomy, the Releye® RLP utilizes the latest technology to provide a homogenous temperature in all areas of the cargo bay. It also comes with an airflow curtain that protects the pharmaceuticals when the doors are opened. This way it maximizes temperature stability in the cargo bay. In addition, it is designed with the latest electrical heating and cooling technology as well as advanced vacuum insulated panel technology,” says Bernt Anderberg, Chief Technology Officer at Envirotainer. He continues, “The validated data from the built-in and fully integrated sensors in the cargo bay provides a strong case for reducing or replacing other types of external data loggers.”

“In today’s uncertain times, with the COVID-19 pandemic, cancelled flights, capacity restraints and constantly changing directives from governmental bodies, we know that stakeholders in the industry need solutions that provides them with full visibility. The container, and its content, is monitored by 18 integrated sensors, in essence providing the user with his or her own personal control tower available from any device,” says Fredrik Linnér, Chief Business Development Officer at Envirotainer. He continues, “We know that our customers want to have full visibility of the location of their precious cargo. With full data from 18 integrated sensors, our customers can set up their own alert notification system based on their specific needs. Apart from being able to localize the container, they can also monitor important container capabilities such as cargo hold temperature and humidity, if doors are opened and if there is cargo inside or not, as well as ambient temperature and humidity.”

Port of Seattle Commission reviews SAF strategic plan at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Port of Seattle Commission hosted (27-Apr-2021) a study session to review progress in implementing its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) strategic plan at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as private sector investments in SAF production and use in Washington state.

Port of Seattle Commission president Fred Felleman said the state is "poised to become a leader in fighting against climate change and creating green collar jobs", with the airport on track to achieve its goal of 10% SAF blending on every service by 2028. [more - original PR]

Original report: Use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels Taking Off

The Port of Seattle Commission hosted a study session today to review progress implementing the Port’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) strategic plan and significant investments of the private sector in SAF production and use in Washington. The study session occurs just days after the Washington state legislature approved policy creating a low carbon fuel standard. The policy to lower carbon emissions from fuel now goes to Washington state Governor Jay Inslee for his signature.

“Washington state is poised to become a leader in fighting against climate change and creating green collar jobs. Through legislative leadership, industry innovation, as well as port advocacy and infrastructure, clean fuels will soon be powering jets out of our airport. The combination of these sustained efforts will significantly reduce the impacts of air travel on the climate and improve the air quality in airport communities,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Fred Felleman.

SAF is a drop-in fuel made from sustainable sources that can be blended with fossil jet fuel and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 50-80 percent on a lifecycle basis compared to fossil fuel. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) set a goal to power every flight fueled at SEA with at least a 10 percent blend of SAF by 2028.

There is a path for SEA to achieve its 10 percent SAF goal in the next seven years. With the Washington state legislature creating a clean fuel standard we will be able to offer incentives like those in California, Oregon and British Columbia for the use and production of low carbon fuels to power trucks and planes. Now there is a need for dedicated production facilities to come on-line quickly to meet the coming demand.

A report published by Washington State University found that there are enough regional sources of renewable waste (woody debris, municipal solid waste) and technology options to convert the sources into sustainable jet fuel to more than meet the Port’s SAF goal.

Recent announcements from the Department of Energy ($64 million grant for biofuel research to support SAF), Alaska Airlines (partnership with SkyNRG to study development of SAF production facilities), and Delta Air Lines (study feasibility of SAF production in WA, purchase of SAF) and United Airlines (agreements with corporate customers to purchase 3.4 million galls of SAF), demonstrate industry and federal progress.

“This industry momentum is particularly exciting because municipal solid waste is being utilized as a feedstock in other regions and the Port of Seattle is developing a partnership with King County to evaluate the feasibility of using solid waste generated in King County to produce sustainable aviation fuels in Washington,” said Felleman.

“As we look to a carbon neutral future for the industry, SAF investment and expansion, which can lower emissions up to 80 percent compared to conventional jet fuel, is an immediate and impactful solution,” said Delta’s Managing Director of Sustainability Amelia Deluca. “This venture with Northwest Advanced Biofuels (NWABF) can help drive that reality forward, and Delta is proud of its commitment to take 100% of the SAF proposed for production by NWABF.”

Producers in Washington state, such as REG based at the Port of Grays Harbor already produce biofuel with skilled Washington workers, but export to California and British Columbia to benefit from market incentives. As our region looks towards economic recovery from the pandemic, this exploration, along with clean fuel policies that create market incentives here, hold the potential to create clean energy jobs throughout Washington state.

The Port is a longtime advocate of implementing a clean fuel standard in Washington state to incentivize SAF use and in-state production. Passing a low carbon fuel standard has been the Port’s top state legislative priority for the last three years, and earlier this month the Port Commission commended the Washington State legislature for approving HB 1091, a bill “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.”

The Washington Ecology Department found that transportation produces almost 45 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and the use of clean fuels provides the fastest way to reduce those contributions.

The Port is investing in infrastructure, building partnerships, financing research, and advocating for policies that reduce barriers and help create incentives for SAF at the local, state, and federal level.

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