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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 16-Sep-2021

Analysis

Air New Zealand enters MoU with Airbus for zero emission hydrogen aircraft

Brussels Airlines wants to 'heavily invest' in SAF: CEO

Lufthansa Cargo offers customers CO2 neutral freight transport options

US FAA awards USD100m to partners under Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Programme

CAPA chairman emeritus: 'governments… in reality can make the biggest difference'

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.

Air New Zealand enters MoU with Airbus for zero emission hydrogen aircraft

Air New Zealand and Airbus entered (16-Sep-2021) joint initiative to research how hydrogen-powered aircraft could assist the airline with reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

The two companies entered an MoU to cooperate on a joint research project to better understand the opportunities and challenges of flying zero emission hydrogen aircraft in New Zealand.

Air New Zealand will analyse the impact hydrogen aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure, while Airbus will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand to develop its decarbonisation roadmap.

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran stated: "At this stage, both hydrogen and battery electric aircraft are still on the table as potential options for our shorter domestic flights, along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for long haul operations.

"This research will help to inform future decision making as we work to decarbonise the airline".

Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer Captain David Morgan said the MoU is an opportunity for the airline to be part of the design and definition of how a hydrogen powered aircraft might fit into its own operations.

Airbus is currently looking at three concepts for hydrogen powered aircraft, including a turboprop, turbofan and blended wing option. [more - original PR]

Original report: Air New Zealand and Airbus to research future of hydrogen-powered aircraft in Aotearoa

Air New Zealand and aircraft manufacturer Airbus have today announced a joint initiative to research how hydrogen-powered aircraft could assist the airline with reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050. 

In a first for the Asia-Pacific region, the two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on a joint research project to better understand the opportunities and challenges of flying zero-emission hydrogen aircraft in New Zealand.

Under the MoU, Air New Zealand will analyse the impact hydrogen aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure, while Airbus will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand to develop its decarbonisation roadmap.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the MoU is an exciting step towards understanding how hydrogen-powered aircraft could become a reality in New Zealand.

"This agreement brings us a step closer to our net zero emissions by 2050 commitment, and to realising our aspiration to put low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade. New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in the adoption of zero emissions aircraft, given the country's commitment to renewable energy which can be used to generate green hydrogen and our highly connected regional air network.

"At this stage, both hydrogen and battery electric aircraft are still on the table as potential options for our shorter domestic flights, along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for long haul operations. This research will help to inform future decision making as we work to decarbonise the airline."

Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan says the MoU is an opportunity for the airline to be part of the design and definition of how a hydrogen-powered aircraft might fit into its own operations.

"We'll be working closely with Airbus to understand opportunities and challenges, including achievable flying range and what ground infrastructure or logistics changes may be required to implement this technology in New Zealand."

Airbus Asia-Pacific President Anand Stanley says the company chose to work with Air New Zealand because of its commitment to sustainability, reputation for technical excellence and alignment with the manufacturer's own decarbonisation goals.

"This agreement with Air New Zealand will provide us with important insights about how we could put a zero-emission aircraft into service. The joint study will enable us to gain invaluable feedback on what airlines will expect and their preferences in terms of configuration and performance.

Airbus is currently looking at three concepts for hydrogen-powered aircraft, including a turboprop, turbofan and blended wing option.

Brussels Airlines wants to 'heavily invest' in SAF: CEO

Brussels Airlines CEO Peter Gerber, speaking at CAPA Live September 2021, stated (08-Sep-2021) the airline wants to "heavily invest" in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

He added: "We believe we will get more in the upcoming years". Mr Gerber also said infrastructure and air traffic management improvements in Europe "could save a lot of CO2" by enabling more efficient routes.

Lufthansa Cargo offers customers CO2 neutral freight transport options

Lufthansa Cargo revealed (15-Sep-2021) details of its 'Sustainable Choice' add-on services for customers, allowing them to opt for CO2-neutral transport of freight.

The service allows user to select either sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to minimise emissions, or to offset emissions via certified climate projects.

This allows customers to ensure the CO2 neutrality of a freight shipment.

The service includes a CO2 calculator, allowing customers to compare possible routes to determine the CO2 footprint for each shipment.

Lufthansa Cargo CEO Dorothea von Boxberg stated that recent, increasing demand for sustainable aviation, adding that the use SAF "is an essential component for climate neutrality in airfreight". [more - original PR]

Original report: Becoming more sustainable together: Lufthansa Cargo offers all customers CO2-neutral freight shipments

Sustainable Aviation Fuel and CO2 compensation now bookable worldwide

From now on, all Lufthansa Cargo customers can opt for CO2-neutral transport of their freight. In addition to the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the company also offers certified offsetting projects to avoid or compensate for the fossil CO2 emissions generated during airfreight transport from the outset. The add-on service "Sustainable Choice" is available on all routes with a freighter segment, for all product groups and all customers worldwide. Customers can offset or show the corresponding CO2emissions proportionately in their own carbon balance.

"For the transport of airfreight, we are striving for 100 percent CO2neutrality. However, we will only achieve this ambitious goal together with our customers. Therefore, we are very pleased to now be able to offer everyone a way to contribute to reducing their own carbon footprint," said Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo. "Already in recent months, we have observed an increasing demand for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. These requests confirm to us that the use of sustainable aviation fuels is an essential component for climate neutrality in airfreight."

Lufthansa Cargo currently offers two options for transporting shipments more sustainably. When using Sustainable Aviation Fuel, a certain amount of sustainable bio-fuel is mixed with conventional kerosene, thus avoiding fossil CO2emissions that normally occur when conventional kerosene is burned. In addition, further CO2 emissions that arise, for example, during the production and transport of SAF, are offset through compensation with environmentally friendly climate protection projects. The complete CO2 neutrality of a freight shipment can be achieved either by combining both options or by 100 percent compensation in climate protection projects.

Already during the booking process, customers can use a CO2 calculator to determine the CO2 footprint for each shipment flying with Lufthansa Cargo. Possible routes can be compared with regard to their CO2 emissions. Customers can then choose to have their freight transported CO2-neutrally for an additional charge as part of their booking. The Sustainable Choice service also includes the option for customers to have a CO2 report drawn up afterwards to provide an overview of all the CO2 emissions of the shipments they have transported. In addition to the total CO2 emissions, the report also contains a breakdown by mode of transport. With such a CO2 report, customers are also able to compensate for CO2 emissions afterwards for completed freight transports.

As early as November 2020, Lufthansa Cargo carried out the first 100 percent CO2-neutral commercial freight rotation from Frankfurt to Shanghai and back together with DB Schenker. Since April 2021, weekly CO2-neutral freighter connections between Frankfurt and Shanghai have also been available. The freight crane is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and actively promotes five selected sustainability goals, including "Climate Action. In addition, Lufthansa Cargo supports the ambitious CO2 reduction goals of the Lufthansa Group: By 2030, the CO2 balance is to be reduced by half compared to 2019 - the cargo airline is working to reach this milestone even sooner. In the long term, climate neutrality is the common goal.

For a long time, Lufthansa Cargo has been working to keep its own CO2 footprint as small as possible. The company invests quite substantially in continuous fleet modernization: By the end of 2021, Lufthansa Cargo will have converted its entire fleet to freighters of the type Boeing 777F - currently the most modern and efficient freighter with the best environmental balance. To reduce the fleet's carbon footprint even further, all B777Fs will be equipped with Sharkskin technology from 2022. The innovative AeroSHARK foil, which is modelled on sharkskin, reduces the frictional resistance of the aircraft in the air and thus reduces fuel consumption. In the Lufthansa Cargo fleet, this enables annual savings of about 3,700 tons of kerosene or nearly 11,700 tons of CO2 emissions. Since 2020, Lufthansa Cargo has also been using lightweight containers exclusively in its flight operations. The weight reduction on board is considered a significant factor influencing the CO2 balance. In addition, Lufthansa Cargo established a global, company-wide environmental management system between 2008 and 2015 that takes into account all environmentally related processes and thus integrates all employees worldwide. This was certified again in 2020 according to the internationally recognized ISO standard. Within the framework of this environmental management system, numerous measures have been successfully implemented in recent years, such as the procurement of green electricity throughout the German-speaking region.

US FAA awards USD100m to partners under Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Programme

US FAA announced (10-Sep-2021) the award of over USD100 million to the following industry partners under the third phase of the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Programme:

  • GE Aviation: To develop an advanced engine propulsion system and advanced acoustic improvements to reduce noise and fuel consumption, electric and hybrid electric systems to increase fuel efficiency and advanced combustion and thermal management systems to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The company will also support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements;
  • Honeywell Aerospace: To develop a more efficient engine fan, combustion system, compressor and turbine to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption;
  • Pratt & Whitney: To develop an ultra quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions and fuel consumption;
  • Boeing: To develop technologies to reduce noise from the wings, landing gear and engine inlets. The company will also support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels and help to develop new algorithms that enable aircraft to fly more quiet, fuel efficient routes;
  • Delta TechOps, GKN Aerospace, MDS Coating, and America's Phenix: To develop erosion resistant fan blade coatings to reduce fuel consumption over the life of an engine;
  • Rohr Inc: To develop acoustic technology to reduce the noise from engine exhausts.

The funding is part of US President Joe Biden's plan to coordinate the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers and other relevant parties to reach net zero emissions in aviation by 2050.

The FAA is also pursuing agreements with Rolls-Royce and Safran Nacelles under CLEEN; with the programme having contributed USD225 million to lower emissions technology, lightweight aircraft part production and flight management system algorithms since it began in 2010. [more - original PR - I] [more - original PR - II]

Original report I: FAA Awards $100M to Develop Next Generation of Sustainable Aircraft Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $100 million for companies to help develop technologies that reduce fuel use, emissions and noise. The award is part of a series of steps President Biden is taking to coordinate leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers and more to position American aviation to soar towards net zero emissions by 2050. This FAA announcement is part of those efforts.

“Across the country, communities have been devastated by the effects of climate change – but, if we act now, we can ensure that aviation plays a central role in the solution,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These awards will help America lead the world in sustainable aviation."

The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program is a public-private partnership that began in 2010 and is a key part the FAA’s overall strategy to tackle the global challenge of climate change and lower the impact aviation has on communities. The program requires the companies receiving the contracts to match or exceed the FAA’s investment, bringing the total to at least $200 million over a five-year period.  The awards are the third phase of the FAA’s CLEEN program. 

FAA Investment
Under CLEEN Phase III, the FAA and six industry partners will focus on reducing aviation emissions and noise, including pursuing goals of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by improving fuel efficiency by at least 20 percent below the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard; NOx emissions by 70 percent relative to the most recent ICAO standard; particulate matter emissions below the ICAO standard; and noise by 25 dB cumulative relative to the FAA Stage 5 standard.

  • General Electric Aviation will develop an advanced engine propulsion system and advanced acoustic improvements to reduce noise and fuel consumption; electric and hybrid-electric systems to increase fuel efficiency; and advanced combustion and thermal management systems to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements.
  • Honeywell Aerospace will develop a more efficient engine fan, combustion system, compressor, and turbine to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.
  • Pratt & Whitney will develop an ultra-quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.
  • Boeing will develop technologies to reduce noise from the wings, landing gear, and engine inlets. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements, and help to develop new algorithms that enable aircraft to fly quieter, more fuel-efficient routes.
  • Delta TechOps, GKN Aerospace, MDS Coating, and America’s Phenix will work together to develop erosion-resistant fan blade coatings to reduce fuel consumption over the life of an engine.
  • Rohr Inc. will develop acoustic technology to reduce the noise from engine exhausts.

The FAA also is pursuing agreements with Rolls-Royce Corporation and Safran Nacelles

“Like our quest for safer skies, making flying sustainable requires us to constantly look for ways to improve,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. 

The CLEEN technologies developed so far are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to removing 3 million cars from the road by 2050 and to save the aviation industry 36 billion gallons of fuel. The fuel savings is the equivalent of 11.4 million Boeing 737 flights between New York and Los Angeles. 

Continuing Success     
Examples of the accomplishments from the FAA’s $225 million invested in the CLEEN Phase I and Phase II include: 

  • Enhanced jet engine combustion systems have entered the aviation fleet, resulting in lower emissions.
  • Advanced aircraft wings made of stronger and lighter-weight materials are supporting innovative development of current and future aircraft.
  • Flight Management System algorithms have been created under CLEEN to enable aircraft to fly more fuel-efficient routes.
  • Several alternative jet fuels have been certified for safe use, due in part to testing and evaluation efforts conducted under CLEEN. 

The FAA anticipates that technologies developed under CLEEN Phase III could be introduced into commercial aircraft by 2031.

See the CLEEN Program website for more program information and detailed descriptions of CLEEN technologies and benefits.

CAPA chairman emeritus: 'governments… in reality can make the biggest difference'

CAPA - Centre for Aviation chairman emeritus Peter Harbison, speaking at CAPA Live September 2021, stated (08-Sep-2021) within sustainability, "governments… in reality can make the biggest difference".

Mr Harbison said governments may make a difference though "not blaming and taxing airlines", and through "actually taking a role in improving the system, particularly in the area of ATC", as well as providing incentives, and "not just taxes, which are often not used to fund research into how to improve the system".

Mr Harbison added: "I think the role of government should be much more active… in terms of doing things themselves as well… In fact, governments actually straddle a whole lot of activities that could bring those biggest short term improvements". 

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