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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 15-Oct-2020

Analysis

Emirates president: Coronavirus pandemic will not weaken environmental pressures on the industry

easyJet collaborates with Wright Electric to develop an all electric aircraft programme

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announces new sustainability plan

Consortium of European airports wins EUR12m tender to develop sustainable airport technology

Red Rock and Shell sign SAF agreement for cellulosic fuel based on waste woody biomass

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.

Emirates president: Coronavirus pandemic will not weaken environmental pressures on the industry

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark, speaking at CAPA Live October 2020, stated (14-Oct-2020) he does not expect environmental pressures on the industry will be weakened by the coronavirus pandemic, and the pandemic has caused an acceleration in the the transition towards more environmentally friendly alternatives.
 
The airline industry "needs to do better" at making sure it is recognised for its environmental efforts, and will "continue to do our best" in terms of adopting new and more efficient aircraft technology.

easyJet collaborates with Wright Electric to develop an all electric aircraft programme

easyJet announced (12-Oct-2020) the carrier has been collaborating with Wright Electric to develop an all electric aircraft programme as part of a shared goal to decarbonise aviation.

Work continues on the 'Wright 1' single aisle aircraft, designed for services up to 800 miles, covering approximately 50% of easyJet's network.

The foundation of the 'Wright 1' aircraft is its high efficiency electric propulsion system, and as part of the Department of Energy programme (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy), Wright will design propulsion systems which use innovations in integrated cooling, power electronics, and structural design.

easyJet director of flight operations stated: "easyJet remains absolutely committed to more sustainable flying and we know that technology is where the answer lies for the industry". [more - original PR]

Original report: easyJet partner Wright Electric selected for U.S. Department of Energy Electric Aircraft Programme

easyJet has been working with Wright Electric in its mission to support the development of an all-electric aircraft programme as part of a shared ambition to de-carbonise aviation. Earlier this year Wright Electric unveiled concepts for a 186-seater electric plane engine development programme, named Wright 1. Work continues on this single-aisle airliner designed for flights up to 800 miles, which would cover around 50% of easyJet’s current network.

The foundation of Wright’s ground-breaking Wright 1 aircraft is its innovative high efficiency electric propulsion system. As part of the Department of Energy programme (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)), Wright will design propulsion systems that use cutting-edge innovations in integrated cooling, power electronics, and structural design. The unique innovations across the electric propulsion system will aid the development of aircraft flying entirely on electric power.

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations for easyJet commented:

“We are excited to see this news as funding is going to be so crucial in unlocking the potential of new technologies so this marks another step on their journey to developing their all electric aircraft. 

 “easyJet remains absolutely committed to more sustainable flying and we know that technology is where the answer lies for the industry. We are committed to collaborating on the development of these new technologies – as demonstrated by our support of Wright Electric – with the aim of being an early adopter when they come to market.”

Jeff Engler, CEO of Wright Electric said,

"We could not be more happy to collaborate with the experts at ARPA-E on the future of aircraft design. Since 2016, Wright Electric have pioneered efforts to advance aerodynamics and propulsion technologies and we remain focussed on our ultimate goal to produce a fleet of zero-emissions commercial airplanes."This summer has seen m

ore technological breakthroughs including the first battery-powered all-electric, zero-emission plane certified by EASA – the Pipistrel Velis Electro, in Slovenia and the UK’s first successful test flight of a six-seater electric aircraft which took place at Cranfield

Since last November, easyJet is the first major airline to operate carbon neutral flights across its whole network. The airline is achieving this goal by offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights. The airline sees this as an interim measure until new technology becomes available to decarbonise aviation. In the meantime, easyJet remains focused on operating its fleet as efficiently as possible using modern, fuel efficient engines which are quieter and burn less fuel. Since 2000 easyJet has reduced the carbon emissions for each kilometre flown by a passenger by over one-third (33.67%) and has a target to reach a 38% reduction by 2022.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announces new sustainability plan

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced (08-Oct-2020) a new sustainability plan to improve the authority's facilities environmentally, operationally and financially. Goals of the plan include: 

  • Reducing fossil fuel use through electrification of the transport fleet;
  • Evaluate the benefits of installing on site renewable energy generation and battery storage potential for major projects; 
  • Increase water use efficiency;
  • Reduce the amount of municipal solid waste generated and sent to landfills;
  • Develop and maintain a stronger culture of sustainable administration;
  • Encourage efficient use of public transportation. [more - original PR]

Original report: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Reaffirms Commitment to the Environment with Comprehensive New Sustainability Plan

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is implementing a new sustainability plan designed to improve the Authority’s facilities environmentally, operationally and financially.

Developed in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, CO, the plan is the result of a yearlong effort to interview stakeholders and analyze operations at Reagan National AirportDulles International Airport and the Dulles Toll Road. The new plan is designed to enhance the focus on the Airports Authority’s sustainability efforts across all stakeholders, including employees, tenants and concessionaires.

“The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is committed to being a good corporate citizen as we provide top quality services and facilities to the traveling public,” said Senior Vice President for Engineering Roger Natsuhara. “A large part of that commitment includes mitigating environmental impacts of our operations. This updated Sustainability Plan, and our partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab is a key component our effort to optimize our environmental performance. “

Six overarching goals will highlight the airports authority’s commitment to sustainability:

  • Reduce fossil fuel use through electrification of the transport fleet: The Airports Authority has set a goal to reduce fossil fuel use by electrifying its transport vehicles and ground support equipment. This action is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower operation and maintenance costs, and result in better air quality.
  • Increase efficiency of our built environment: The airports authority will evaluate the benefits of installing on-site renewable energy generation and battery storage potential for major projects. It will consider future technologies as they become commercially viable, as well as efficient occupancy-based lighting strategies.
  • Increase water use efficiency: The airports authority will strive to be an even more responsible steward of water use across all of its operations. It plans to reduce water consumption and realize cost savings, and assist our tenants and concessionaires with also reducing water usage and cost.
  • Reduce the amount of municipal solid waste generated and sent to landfills: The airports authority will strive to further reduce waste generation; support generation of electricity through waste-to-energy conversion; improve recycling rates through improved education and outreach to concessionaires and airlines; install more recycling bins; reduce use of packaging with concessionaires; and reduce construction waste and potential environmental pollution.
  • Develop and maintain a stronger culture of sustainable administration: The Airports Authority will codify sustainability practices throughout its administrative processes. It will ensure sustainability is considered for all future procurement, facility planning, and development activities; it will update and maintain its design manual so minimum standards for sustainable building are current with best practices; it will create a committee to coordinate sustainability activities across all stakeholders; and it will periodically review and revise the sustainability plan.
  • Encourage efficient use of public transportation: The airports authority will encourage efficient use of public transportation by promoting Metrorail access to Reagan National and also to Dulles International after the Silver Line’s planned Phase two opening. It will aim to improve the customer experience by providing ease of access to our airports, including safe pedestrian and bike paths.

Consortium of European airports wins EUR12m tender to develop sustainable airport technology

Copenhagen Kastrup Airport (CPH) announced (13-Oct-2020) a consortium led by CPH in collaboration with 14 other European partners has won an EU tender to develop sustainable airport technology.

The tender includes a EUR12 million grant provided under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop and demonstrate specific solutions and highlight how airports can be designed to operate without burning carbon emissions and deliver infrastructure to carbon-neutral aircraft.

The partners in the project will contribute with self-financing of more than EUR3 million, bringing the total value of the project to more than EUR15 million. 

The project will also consider which green energy sources such as biofuels, hydrogen and electric power can be integrated into the complex infrastructure of an airport, including security and safety requirements, logistics, smart energy storage.

The consortium comprises the Danish Technological InstituteSolidarity Transport Hub PolandSASIATA, the German Aerospace Center, the Roundtable on Sustainable BiomaterialsAir BPLithuanian Airports and Aeroporti di Roma among others. [more - original PR]

Original report: EU project helping CPH and European airports for carbon-neutral aviation

In close collaboration with Danish Technological Institute, a consortium led by Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in collaboration with 14 other European partners has won an EU tender to create the sustainable airport of the future. A grant of close to EUR 12 million will be spent to develop and demonstrate specific solutions, exemplifying how an airport can be designed to operate completely without carbon emissions and deliver infrastructure to carbon-neutral aircraft. The results of the project are to inspire the entire continent of Europe.   The aviation industry is undergoing a transition that no later than 2050 will see carbon emissions from aircraft and airports completely eliminated. While there are many technological opportunities and solutions, there are also quite a few barriers to achieving a green transition for the sector.

That is why the European Commission has allocated funds from its Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for a "Smart Airports" project. Copenhagen Airport has been selected as a so-called lighthouse airport to head a European consortium. The purpose is to demonstrate how airport infrastructure of the future should be designed to reduce and eventually completely eliminate carbon emissions:

"With this project, we aim to develop specific solutions and create a comprehensive concept for designing the airport of the future. We must be able to provide an infrastructure for the aircraft of the future, which may be electric or powered by hydrogen or other sustainable fuels. At the same time, we will investigate how we can integrate electrification and solar panels into airport design, so that we can power buildings, vehicles and aircraft and thereby eventually completely phase out carbon emissions," says Copenhagen Airport CEO Thomas Woldbye. He is delighted that Copenhagen will become the focal point for the project.

"Obviously, we're very excited that the European Commission chose our project, and we welcome the opportunity together with good partners to spearhead the process of developing concrete solutions and concepts for the sustainable airport of the future," he explains.

Carbon emissions to be eliminated

The ALIGHT project (a lighthouse for the introduction of sustainable aviation solutions for the future) aims to develop solutions to two overall challenges: One is about the process and logistics of handling sustainable aviation fuels in an operational context, including procurement, blending, fuelling, quality controls and safety processes. The other issue concerns the development of smart energy solutions for other airport operations, including own production of sustainable energy as well as energy storage and electrification. Another part of the project will be to develop the aircraft stand of the future, supporting sustainable aircraft fuels such as electric power and hydrogen.

Currently, the main barrier is that very few airports are prepared for the many new fuels, because their infrastructure is designed exclusively for the fuels used today.

Copenhagen Airport as lighthouse

The entire development phase and the day-to-day work will be based at the lighthouse airport in Copenhagen but will be closely monitored by the fellow airports in Rome and Lithuania and the organisation building a whole new airport in Warsaw that is scheduled for completion in 2027.

Accordingly, the ALIGHT project will first and foremost create solutions and contribute with know-how, scope and guidelines for developing the sustainable airport of the future; initially in Copenhagen and later when the results are replicated and applied elsewhere. In other words, the project will contribute to the achievement of the climate targets of reducing emissions from aviation that national governments committed to at the Paris Agreement, while at the same time creating a clear vision for sustainable airports of the future.

In this way, the project at CPH will become a source of inspiration to other airports, as they can benefit from the knowledge being compiled over the coming years. The partners in the project will contribute with self-financing of more than EUR 3 million, bringing the total value of the project to more than EUR 15 million.

The project will also consider which green energy sources that will work in the complex infrastructure of an airport, including its very high security requirements. Overall, the new project will provide new perspectives that will be of interest not only to aviation but also to its other project partners:

"Implementing green sustainable aircraft fuels, such as biofuels, hydrogen and electric power, and the green transition of other airport operations will require access to the very best knowledge within a number of professional disciplines. With the ALIGHT partnership, we've brought together a powerful and innovative international team that'll enable us to achieve the ambitious targets of the lighthouse project, and we're really looking forward to the pan European cooperation," says Lars Overgaard, Business Manager with the Danish Technological Institute, who headed up the application process.

Sustainable inspiration for all of Europe

As already mentioned, CPH will act as the lighthouse where to solutions are developed and subsequently implemented. At the same time, replication of the project results will be prepared at the project partner airports in ItalyLithuania and Poland. Together with the airport in Copenhagen, they cover four geographical areas and four different climate zones, supporting that the solutions can be designed adapted to local conditions:

"It is absolutely essential that the know-how being accumulated, and the solutions being developed as part of the project can be transferred and replicated to other airports both during the project and after. The project is based on a large grant from the European Commission, why it makes fully sense that the results we achieve at CPH can be used elsewhere. But most importantly, this is our way of helping the aviation industry identify opportunities and strengthen the green transition," says Woldbye.

In its project definition, the European Commission emphasised that results and experience from CPH lighthouse should be shared and replicated to other airports. In fact, we must all keep in mind that the entire foundation for aviation in the future depends on sustainable transition:

"In order to support optimal dissemination and exchange of knowledge and of the results achieved, the project will i.e. develop a solid toolbox with best practice, guidelines and manuals. Here, the cooperation with the other airports represented in the project will be absolutely central, as efficient replication requires knowledge of the regional conditions," Overgaard concludes.

FACT BOX

ALIGHT will run for four years from the project start-up date of 1 November 2020.

Apart from CPH and the Danish Technological Institute, the following organisations are partners in the project:

The airports of Lithuania and Rome along with Solidarity Transport Hub Poland (CPK), which is in charge of the new airport in Warsaw, Fuel Storage and Hydrant company Copenhagen Airport I/S, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation (NISA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), German Aerospace Center (DLR), AirBP, The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), Hybrid Greentech, BMGindroz Consulting, the University of Parma and Hamburg University of Technology.

The Horizon 2020 programme has existed since 2014 and expires at the end of 2020. Horizon 2020 has allocated almost DKK 600 billion to various projects, of which DKK 7.5 billion is earmarked for sustainable development.

Red Rock and Shell sign SAF agreement for cellulosic fuel based on waste woody biomass

Red Rock and Shell entered (08-Oct-2020) a cellulosic fuel purchase and sale agreement in which Shell will purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and cellulosic renewable diesel fuel from Red Rock's new biorefinery in Lakeview, Oregon.

Shell will distribute the SAF to Red Rock's existing airline customers and market Red Rock's cellulosic renewable diesel fuel. Red Rock's biorefinery is scheduled for completion early in 2021.

Once operational, it will be the world's first commercial scale plant to utilise waste woody biomass from forests at risk of wildfire to create SAF and cellulosic renewable diesel.

The SAF will be supplied to airports through existing airport infrastructure and can be used blended by airlines without requiring technical modification to their current fleet.

In general, lifecycle carbon emissions from SAF and cellulosic renewable diesel are expected to be up to 80% lower than conventional jet fuel. [more - original PR]

Original report: Red Rock and Shell Sign Agreement to Market and Distribute Low-Carbon, Sustainable Aviation and Diesel Fuel

The SAF will be supplied to airports through existing airport infrastructure and can be used blended by airlines without requiring technical modification to their current fleet.

October 8, 2020, Fort Collins CO — Red Rock and Shell have entered into a cellulosic fuel purchase and sale agreement in which Shellwill purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and cellulosic renewable diesel fuel from Red Rock’s new biorefinery in Lakeview, Oregon. Shell will distribute the SAF to Red Rock’s existing airline customers and market Red Rock’s cellulosic renewable diesel fuel.

By combining Red Rock’s production capabilities with Shell’s technical and commercial expertise and world-class supply chain, the companies are demonstrating how working together is enabling the production and distribution of SAF and cellulosic renewable diesel and supporting the decarbonization of aviation and heavy transport.

“We are excited to have Shell join our strong team of project partners on our Lakeview biorefinery,” said Terry Kulesa, CEO of Red Rock. “With its operational capabilities and global supply chain expertise, Shell is ideally positioned to support us in helping make low-carbon SAF and cellulosic renewable diesel more widely available to airlines and heavy transport companies who are committed to reducing emissions and tackling climate change.”

Red Rock’s biorefinery is scheduled for completion early next year. Once operational, it will be the world’s first commercial scale plant to utilize waste woody biomass from forests at risk of wildfire to create SAF and cellulosic renewable diesel.

“This has been one of the most devastating wildfire seasons on record,” said Kulesa. “We have seen wildfires grow in intensity, acreage, and damage to public health and the environment. One of the many potential benefits of the plant is to reduce the waste woody biomass lying on the forest floor which may help to mitigate the spread of wildfires.”

“Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is crucial to aviation’s success in reaching net zero emissions by 2050, alongside new technologies and high-quality carbon credits. But to enable SAF to fulfil its potential we need to be proactive and resolute in finding opportunities to increase availability of SAF today and tomorrow,” said Anna Mascolo, President of Global Aviation at Shell. “Increasing SAF is dependent on collaboration across the whole value chain. We are proud to work together with Red Rock to support the development of their innovative new production facility in Lakeview, Oregon.”

In general, lifecycle carbon emissions from SAF and cellulosic renewable diesel are expected to be up to 80% lower than conventional jet fuel. The SAF will be supplied to airports through existing airport infrastructure and can be used blended by airlines without requiring technical modification to their current fleet.

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