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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 17-Mar-2022

Analysis

Qantas Airways enters second major sustainable aviation fuel deal

Finnair launches carbon offset programme with CHOOOSE 

Edinburgh Airport signs agreement for solar farm development

Deutsche Aircraft partners NEC to develop climate neutral aviation in Norway

Pratt & Whitney tests GTF Advantage engine with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

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.

Qantas Airways enters second major sustainable aviation fuel deal

Qantas Airways entered (15-Mar-2022) a second major sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) deal, with the carrier expanding its use of SAF by utilising supplies in California to help reduce carbon emissions on its flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Australia.

Aemetis will supply almost 20 million litres of blended SAF p/a for Qantas services, starting in 2025.

The sustainable fuel will be produced at Aemetis' plant currently under development in Riverbank, California.

It will come from certified feedstock from waste products that is then blended with normal jet fuel.

This is Qantas' second major offshore purchase of SAF with flights from London using a blend of sustainable fuel since the start of 2022.

Qantas is pursuing a number of additional deals to add more SAF in the US and other international airports.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated: "Qantas has already committed AUD50 million (USD36.01 million) to support the development of a SAF industry in Australia, and we'd be its biggest customer. As well as the environmental and economic benefits, a local SAF industry would reduce the nation's dependence on imported fuels".

Mr Joyce added: "For now, SAF is more expensive than traditional fossil fuels but with the right investment it could grow to a scale where the cost is on par". [more - original PR]

Original report: QANTAS SIGNS SECOND MAJOR SUSTAINABLE FUEL DEAL

  • New deal to use almost 20 million litres of biofuels each year from 2025
  • Will power flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Australia
  • Calls to develop local sustainable fuels industry to help Australian aviation transition to net zero emissions

Qantas is expanding its use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by tapping into supplies in California to help reduce carbon emissions on its flights from LA and San Francisco to Australia.

SAF produces up to 80 per cent less emissions than traditional jet kerosene and is compatible with existing aircraft. Airlines around the world are increasing their use of SAF, with demand outstripping supply in most jurisdictions.

US biofuels company Aemetis will supply almost 20 million litres of blended SAF each year for Qantas flights, starting in 2025.

The sustainable fuel will be produced at Aemetis’ plant currently under development in Riverbank, California. It will come from certified feedstock from waste products that is then blended with normal jet fuel.

This is Qantas’ second major offshore purchase of SAF with flights from London using a blend of sustainable fuel since the start of this year.

Qantas is pursuing a number of additional deals to add more SAF in the US and other international airports. The national carrier is aiming to be net carbon neutral by 2050 and will outline an interim target later this month.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who met with Aemetis executives in Los Angeles today, said sustainable fuels were critical to aviation’s transition to a low emissions future.

“Climate change is front of mind for Qantas, our customers, employees and investors, and it is a key focus for us as we move through our recovery from the pandemic,” Mr Joyce said.

“Operating our aircraft with sustainable aviation fuel is the single biggest thing we can do to directly reduce our emissions.

“We’re actively looking to source sustainable aviation fuel for our operations, and the deal we’re announcing today is hopefully one of many we’ll make as the market catches up to demand globally.

“At the moment we can only buy sustainable fuels offshore. The US, UK and Europe have industries that have developed with a lot of government support because this is a new field and the long term benefits for those countries are obvious.

Qantas has already committed $50 million to support the development of a SAF industry in Australia, and we’d be its biggest customer. As well as the environmental and economic benefits, a local SAF industry would reduce the nation’s dependence on imported fuels.

“For now, SAF is more expensive than traditional fossil fuels but with the right investment it could grow to a scale where the cost is on par,” added Mr Joyce.

Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said, “The 90 million gallon per year Sustainable Aviation Fuel and renewable diesel plant under development at the 125 acre Riverbank Industrial Complex near Modesto,

California is uniquely located to utilise zero carbon intensity hydroelectric power, local waste wood and non-food feedstocks to produce low carbon jet fuel.

“We look forward to extending our relationship with the Qantas Group as we work to develop further SAF production by expanding our biofuels plants in India and California.”

The deal follows Qantas signing an agreement with oneworld partners last year to consider purchasing SAF from Aemetis for use out of Californian airports.

The Qantas Group has four pillars to support its target of net zero emissions by 2050:

  • Sustainable aviation fuels – Working with governments and bioenergy providers on the development of a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia and international supply in key ports.
  • Fleet modernisation – Investing in next generation and lower emission aircraft, which reduce fuel burn.
  • Operational efficiency – Reducing single use plastics and waste to landfill as well as ongoing work to reduce fuel burn, including through smarter flight planning.
  • Carbon offsets – Investing in high quality flagship Australian and International projects.

Finnair launches carbon offset programme with CHOOOSE

Finnair launched (16-Mar-2022) a CO2 offsetting service for passengers with CHOOOSE on 16-Mar-2022.

The platform enables passengers to calculate and offset flight emissions by choosing a combination of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and certified offset projects.

The carrier's previous offsetting service was discontinued in Mar-2020 due to Finnish legislation, which has since changed to allow companies to offer CO2 offsetting services to customers. [more - original PR]

Original report: Finnair continues its journey towards carbon neutrality and invites customers to offset their flight emissions

Starting on March 16, 2022, Finnair invites its customers to offset their flight emissions with a service that combines Sustainable Aviation Fuel and trusted climate projects.  

Through the service, a platform powered by Chooose, Finnair customers can calculate their flight’s emissions and seamlessly offset their journey by choosing a mix of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and certified offset projects. The pricing varies depending on how the contribution is shared between the two.  

“Both Finnair and our customers are keen to reduce the CO2 footprint of air travel, and we want to offer our customers a simple and transparent way to do this,” says Eveliina Huurre, SVP Sustainability, Finnair. “Our service combines two important tools, offsets and SAF, which both are needed to reach carbon neutrality in aviation.”  

The high price and limited availability of sustainable aviation fuels still present challenges for increasing its usage in commercial aviation, and thus stimulating demand and supply is important to drive down the price of SAF and to increase its availability. Meanwhile, offsets continue to be central in reaching carbon neutrality in aviation, and trustworthy offset projects with concrete and verifiable emission cuts are needed.   

Finnair’s previous offsetting service was discontinued in March, 2020 due to Finnish legislation, which has since then been changed to allow companies to offer CO2 offsetting services to consumers.  

Finnair targets to halve the emissions by the end of 2025 and reach carbon neutrality by the end of 2045, and is working systematically towards these targets The toolkit for achieving the CO2 reduction targets is the same as before the pandemic – with the focus on reducing own emissions through aircraft weight reduction, fuel-efficient flying and the use of sustainable aviation fuels and offsetting. 

The service is now available at Finnair.com.

Edinburgh Airport signs agreement for solar farm development

Edinburgh Airport signed (11-Mar-2022) a deal with AMPYR Solar Europe (ASE) for the development of a new solar farm linked with battery technology and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

Under the agreement, ASE and its local construction partner Absolute Solar & Wind will build approximately 9MW of solar PV, 1.5MW of battery storage and 40 EV charging points.

The ground mounted solar PV system and battery will be situated next to the runway on a 16 acre plot of land, connected to the airport via a high voltage private wire network.

The project is in the late stage of design, with construction planned to start in summer 2022 and be fully operational by the start of 2023.

Construction will be further supported by the Scottish Government's Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, which have provided a grant for a portion of the capital expenditure. [more - original PR]

Original report: AMPYR Solar Europe signs deal with Edinburgh Airport to develop solar farm, battery and electric vehicle infrastructure

AMPYR Solar Europe (ASE), a pan-European solar developer, and Edinburgh Airport Limited today announce the signing of a deal to develop a new solar farm linked with battery technology and electric vehicle charging infrastructure at Scotland’s busiest airport.

Under the agreement, ASE along with its local construction partner, Absolute Solar & Wind will build approximately 9MW of solar PV, 1.5MW of battery storage and 40 EV charging points. The large ground-mounted solar PV system and battery will be situated next to the runway on a 16-acre plot of land, connected to the airport via a high voltage private wire network.

The development will be a cornerstone of Edinburgh Airport’s goal to achieve Net-Zero by 2040 by generating clean, renewable energy that will cover about 30% of the airport’s total consumption.

“Our commitment to a net zero future is underpinned by the various strands of work we have going on across the airport as part of our Greater Good sustainability strategy and one of the most visible projects will be this solar farm,” said Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Executive. “We are happy to confirm our partners in this exciting step and our collaboration will enable us to implement this technology and allow us and Scotland to benefit from it as soon as possible.”

The project is in the late stage of design, with construction planned to start this summer and be fully operational by the start of next year.

“We are really pleased to be partnering with Edinburgh Airport on this important step towards a net-zero future and in support of its impressive “Greater Good” sustainability strategy,” said Andrew Gould, Executive Chairman of ASE. “Edinburgh Airport’s leadership shows a way forward to zero carbon for the airport sector. This is the first of ASE’s five renewable energy projects in Scotland to reach the delivery stage: the commitment and support of the Scottish Government and its strong policy position on climate change is clearly attractive to international investment.”

Edinburgh Airport will purchase the power produced by the solar farm through a long-term Power Purchase Agreement with ASE. This PPA will generate long-term energy and carbon savings for the airport.

“We are delighted to suppor Edinburgh Airport with its ongoing drive to reduce its carbon impact,” said Matthew van Staden, Senior PPA Originator at Hartree Partners. “Through our ePreviewxpertise within Hartree and AMPYR Solar Europe, we can drive and deliver innovative energy solutions for companies within energy-intensive sectors. Our understanding of sustainable generation and commercially viable strategies in this space helped bring this project to life for Edinburgh Airport.”

The construction is further supported by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, which have provided a grant for a portion of the capital expenditure.

“We are proud to be delivering this pioneering project and helping to decarbonise Edinburgh Airport alongside our funding partners ASE and the Edinburgh Airport project team,” said Tom Newall, Managing Director at Absolute Solar & Wind. “The co-location of utility scale battery storage and solar PV has enabled us to maximise the green energy generation on site whilst working with the grid connection constraints. We look forward to entering the construction phase before progressing to carry out the operation, maintenance and optimisation of the system, as it generates clean power for years to come, providing energy security for a major, Scottish transport hub.”

Deutsche Aircraft partners NEC to develop climate neutral aviation in Norway

Deutsche Aircraft signed (14-Mar-2022) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with North Energy Cluster (NEC) stating their common goal to develop solutions that will accelerate the availability of climate neutral aviation technologies.

Through the cooperation the partners aim to achieve short term reductions of northern Norway's aviation climate footprint through low carbon eFuels.

In addition, the partners agreed to develop solutions to achieve zero climate impact in the mid term.

The partnership identified northern Norway as the ideal testing ground for new climate neutral aviation concepts, due to its network of 26 regional airports being critical infrastructure, coupled with the region's excess of low cost renewable energy.

The initiative initially intends to produce eFuels using industrial CO2 point sources, which will later be substituted by direct air capture using renewable energy to minimise lifecycle emissions.

NEC will also collaborate with Lofoten's 'Green Islands' project which aims to promote sustainable tourism in the region.

In this context, short haul routes in Lofoten will be among the first to be operated with alternative fuels.

German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) CEO Volker Thum added combining Deutsche Aircraft's "D328eco efficiency with a 100% SAF capability represents the best way to update the market with a green aircraft in the shortest time possible". [more - original PR]

Original report: Pioneering German-Norwegian cooperation will make regional Norwegian aviation a world leader in the transition to climate-neutrality

The German aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft (DA) and the North Energy Cluster (NEC), based in Northern Norway have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stating their common goal to develop solutions that will accelerate the availability of climate-neutral aviation technologies. The cooperation of the two partners will achieve substantial short-term reductions of Northern Norway’s aviation climate footprint throughlow-carbon e-fuels. Furthermore, the partners agree to develop solutions to achieve zero climate impact in the mid-term.

Key Facts

    Norwegian energy cluster disposes of abundant, low-cost renewable energy and the necessary infrastructure to ramp up production of low-carbon e-fuels
    Deutsche Aircraft as a German turboprop aircraft manufacturer is on the forefront of developing a 100% e-fuel compatible aircraft
    The cooperation lays the ground for eliminating aviation’s climate impact, aviation being an essential infrastructure for Northern Norway

MartinNüßeler, Chief Technology Officer of DA:

    “This partnership brings us a big stepcloser to climate-neutral flight.”

AndersTørud, Cluster Manager of NEC:

    “We have the best possible ecosystem in NorthernNorway to make low carbon e-fuels a reality”

VolkerThum, Chief Executive Officer of the German Aerospace Industries Association(BDLI):

    "Green flying is the future and it has already begun.”

Munich-based DA is developing a low-emission regional aircraft based on the Dornier DO328 platform well known to regional air travelers all over the world. The D328eco will achieve near carbon-neutral flight in the below 50 seats market with its state-of-the-art technologies and full compatibility with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Beyond the D328eco, DA is also studying alternative propulsion technologies based on hydrogen for future programs.

The North Energy Cluster/Energi i Nord is comprised of industrial players such as major wind and hydropower producers, technology suppliers, electrochemical companies as well as the aviation sector and local communities that are determined to take the lead in the energy transition in several sectors including aviation.

Northern Norway is a vast and secluded territory. Its network of 26 regional airports is critical infrastructure, more so than anywhere else in Europe. Coupled with Northern Norway’s excess of low-cost renewable energy vital for e-fuel production, it makes for the ideal testing ground for new concepts within climate-neutral aviation. The initiative intends to produce e-fuels using industrial CO2 point sources as a first step which will later be substituted by direct air capture powered by the abundant renewable energy to minimize lifecycle emissions.

By conducting test flights and studying ground infrastructure requirements for the production of e-fuels, the partnership will pave the way towards Northern Norway becoming a leader nationally and internally in the enormous transformation aviation is facing. The cluster will also collaborate with the Lofoten project “The green islands”, an ambitious roadmap to bring sustainable tourism to one of the most scenic and untouched regions of Norway. In his context, short-haul routes on the Lofoten archipelago will be among the first to be operated with alternative fuels.

Comments:

Anders Tørud, Cluster Manager of NEC:

    “E-fuels and hydrogen produced from renewable energies remain the most promising scalable solutions to significantly reduce emissions in one of the most hard-to-abate sectors such as aviation. What is key to make it happen, is to bring down production costs through scale and we have the right ecosystem in Northern Norway to do so.”

Martin Nuesseler, Chief Technology Officer of DA:

    “A significant factor for the environmental performance of the next generation of aircraft is how fuels are produced. Our ambition at Deutsche Aircraft is therefore to think aircraft operation in conjunction with fuel production to achieve an optimal result for the environment. The challenge for e-fuels is the energy-intensive production process which means that you need to go where you can find abundant renewable energy. Regional aviation contributes on a daily basis to the economic functioning of Northern Norway and provides enormous societal benefits. We want to show that you can achieve this without inflicting harm on our environment.

    Combining the modern turboprop D328eco efficiency with a 100% SAF capability represents the best way to update the market with a green aircraft in the shortest time possible. “

Volker Thum, Chief Executive Officer of the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI):

    "Green flying is the future and it has already begun. This is also demonstrated by the cooperation between our member Deutsche Aircraft and Energi i Nord. The introduction of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and in the long-term hydrogen can contribute significantly to the realization of climate-neutral flight. The transformation of civil aviation towards climate neutrality, in which sustainable aviation fuels are indispensable, will be the focus of ILA Berlin. This leading trade show of our industry on sustainability, new technologies and innovation will take place from the 22nd until the 26th of June 2022."

Pratt & Whitney tests GTF Advantage engine with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

Pratt & Whitney tested (15-Mar-2022) its 'GTF Advantage' engine configuration with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The test is also part development program to ready the GTF Advantage for entry into service in 2024, by validating the engine's performance on 100% SAF in thrust transients, starting and operability.

Pratt & Whitney used fuel acquired from World Energy for the test. [more - original PR]

Original report: Pratt & Whitney Successfully Tests GTF Advantage Engine on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Pratt & Whitney announced today it has successfully tested the GTF Advantage engine configuration with 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The test took place at the company’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA starting on March 1 and marks a key step on the road toward 100 percent SAF operation of GTF-powered aircraft. The test is also a key element of an extensive development program to ready the GTF Advantage for entry into service in 2024, by validating the engine’s performance on 100 percent SAF in thrust transients, starting and operability.

“We’re thrilled to have successfully tested the GTF Advantage engine on unblended SAF,” said Graham Webb, chief sustainability officer at Pratt & Whitney. “The GTF Advantage represents the greenest, lowest emission engine in the industry, and it is now demonstrating full operational capability for the greenest aviation fuels of today and tomorrow. Operation on 100 percent SAF is a key component of the industry’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the completion of these tests get us closer to that goal.”

Pratt & Whitney has been actively involved in testing SAFs for almost two decades and helped to establish the technical standards that allow today’s engines to operate on SAF blends of up to 50 percent with standard kerosene. Pratt & Whitney is working towards validating its engines to operate with 100 percent SAF, and the company continues to collaborate closely with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and ASTM International in service of that goal.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are central to the challenge of decarbonizing aviation and reaching our industry’s net zero goal. Validating and certifying the GTF Advantage engine on 100 percent SAF will ensure this engine’s ability to deliver sustainable propulsion to our customers over many decades of service,” said Sean Bradshaw, technical fellow for sustainable propulsion at Pratt & Whitney. “We remain dedicated to working with the industry on creating a viable path for SAF development, production and distribution.”

Pratt & Whitney used 100 percent Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosine (HEFA-SPK) fuel acquired from World Energy for the test. HEFA-SPK is a specific type of hydrotreated vegetable oil fuel used in aviation and is considered a leading alternative replacement for conventional jet fuel by CAAFI due to the sustainability of its feedstock.

The GTF is the world’s most efficient and sustainable single-aisle aircraft engine. The GTF family has lowered fuel consumption and carbon emissions up to 20 percent compared to prior-generation engines. As a result, GTF engines have saved more than 600 million gallons (two billion liters) of fuel and more than six million metric tonnes of CO2 since entering service in 2016. The engine’s revolutionary geared fan architecture is the foundation for more sustainable aviation technologies in the decades ahead. Learn more at pwgtf.com.

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