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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 23-Jun-2022

Analysis

This regular CAPA report provides a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news. This latest issue features:

IATA calls for governments to offer large scale incentives to expand SAF use

IATA launches online CO2 emission calculation tool

Qantas Airways and Airbus enter 'Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership'

Finnair enters SAF purchase agreement with Gevo

ExxonMobil develops process technology to manufacture SAF from renewable methanol

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.

IATA calls for governments to offer large scale incentives to expand SAF use

IATA called (21-Jun-2022) for governments to put in place large scale incentives to rapidly expand the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) as aviation pursues its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

IATA predicted that with effective government incentives, production could reach 30 billion litres by 2030.

Director general Willie Walsh said: "Though still far from where we need to be, it would be a clear tipping point towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices". [more - original PR]

Excerpt from original report: Incentives Needed to Increase SAF Production - 30 Billion Litre Tipping Point Possible by 2030

Incentives Needed to Increase SAF Production - 30 Billion Litre Tipping Point Possible by 2030

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for governments to urgently put in place large-scale incentives to rapidly expand the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) as aviation pursues its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

To fulfil aviation’s net zero commitment, current estimates are for SAF to account for 65% of aviation’s carbon mitigation in 2050. That would require an annual production capacity of 449 billion liters. Investments are in place to expand SAF annual production from the current 125 million liters to 5 billion by 2025. With effective government incentives, production could reach 30 billion liters by 2030, which would be a tipping point for SAF production and utilization. 

“Governments don’t need to invent a playbook. Incentives to transition electricity production to renewable sources like solar or wind worked. As a result, clean energy solutions are now cheap and widely available. With similar incentives for SAF, we could see 30 billion liters available by 2030. Though still far from where we need to be, it would be a clear tipping point towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General at the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar

In 2021, irrespective of price (SAF is between two and four times the price of conventional jet fuel), airlines have purchased every drop of the 125 million liters of SAF that was available. And already more than 38 countries have SAF-specific policies that clear the way for the market to develop. Taking their cue from these policy measures, airlines have entered into $17 billion of forward-purchasing agreements for SAF. 

Incentives to Ramp-up Production

Further investment in production needs support from the right policies. This would boost supply and drive down costs.

Electricity production through solar or wind power faced similar hurdles as these technologies replaced fossil fuels. With effective policy incentives, both are now affordable and widely available.  

By applying similar incentive-based policies to SAF, governments can support global SAF production to reach 30 billion liters by the end of the decade. This would be a tipping point as it would send a clear signal to the market that SAF is playing its intended long-term role in aviation’s decarbonization and encourage investments to drive up production and drive down the price.

The market for SAF needs stimulation on the production side. The United States is setting an example for others to follow. Its SAF production is expected to reach 11 billion liters in 2030 on the back of heavy government incentives. 

Europe, on the other hand, is the example not to follow. Under its Fit for 55 initiative, the EU is planning to mandate that airlines uplift 5% SAF at every European airport by 2030. Decentralizing production will delay the development of economies of scale. And forcing the land transport of SAF will reduce the environmental benefit of using SAF. 

Other Propulsion Technologies

Hydrogen and electrically powered aircraft are part of aviation’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, but they are likely to be limited to short-haul routes. SAF is the proven solution for long-haul flying. 

“Hydrogen and/or electric propulsion systems will most likely be available for short haul commercial flights by 2035, but the majority of emissions come from long-haul widebody flights and to tackle these emissions, SAF is the only proven solution. We know it works, and we need to double down our efforts to get all actors of the industry on board, including governments, to increase production, availability, and uptake” said Sebastian Mikosz, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Environment and Sustainability. 

Net Zero and Long Term Aspirational Goal

In October 2021, IATA member airlines came together and took the monumental decision to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. This commitment brings the industry in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal. Climate change is the greatest threat facing our societies and achieving net zero emissions will be a huge challenge as the expected scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon.

To provide the right set of consistent policies and long-term stability needed for investments, the aviation industry is calling on all governments to support the adoption of a long term climate goal for air transport at the 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this September, aligned with industry commitments. This climate goal is critical to back up the industry’s decarbonization ambitions and would provide a global multilateral framework for action without distorting competition. 

IATA launches online CO2 emission calculation tool

IATA launched (19-Jun-2022) IATA CO2 Connect, an online tool which provides CO2 emission calculations for any commercial passenger flight.

The tool is a response to growing demand for CO2 data transparency linked to airline specific and actual fuel burn information and load factors.

It is available to companies within and outside the travel value chain, including travel management companies, travel agencies, airlines or multinational corporations.

Users can access the CO2 emissions data and integrate it in a customised manner into their existing flight booking tools.

The tool also permits the consolidation of data for reporting purposes. [more - original PR]

Excerpt from original report: ​IATA Launches IATA CO2 Connect in Support of Industry Sustainability Commitment

IATA Launches IATA CO2 Connect in Support of Industry Sustainability Commitment

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched IATA CO2 Connect, an online tool which provides the most accurate CO2 emission calculations for any given commercial passenger flight. IATA CO2 Connect responds to the growing demand for CO2 data transparency linked to airline specific and actual fuel burn information and load factors. This sets it apart from theoretical data models that already exist on the market today. 

IATA CO2 Connect is available to companies within and outside the travel-value-chain, such as travel management companies (TMCs), travel agencies, airlines or multinational corporations. They can access the relevant CO2 emissions data and integrate it in a customized manner into their existing flight booking tools. Travel managers or travelers can easily see the CO2 emissions per routing. The tool also permits the consolidation of data for reporting purposes. 

IATA CO2 Connect utilizes the newly developed CO2 Calculation Methodology, adopted by IATA’s Passenger Service Conference in March this year. This was conceived by leading partners from 20 airlines and major aircraft manufacturers, in consultation with international standard-setting bodies and logistics services providers. 

American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the world’s leading B2B travel platform, is IATA’s launch partner for CO2 Connect. The travel management company (TMC), which manages more than $40 billion in travel sales annually, undertakes to provide its customers with the most accurate and reliable flight emissions data, enabling travelers to make better informed booking decisions.   “Flying sustainably and cutting CO2 emissions is a top priority. The aviation sector is working to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and travelers want to be more aware of their carbon footprint. With IATA CO2 Connect, individuals and corporate travel managers can get standardized accurate calculations to make the most sustainable choices for their air travel taking into consideration aircraft types, routings and class of service. Importantly, data can be consolidated for corporate reporting purposes,” said Frederic Leger, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Commercial Products & Services.  

Companies interested in accessing IATA CO2 Connect can integrate the data into existing travel management solutions via Application Programing Interface (API) or flat file technology/format.   

In contrast to many existing CO2 calculators, IATA CO2 Connect uses primary data from airlines. Emissions are calculated with the first industry-developed passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology which takes into account:  

  • Guidance on fuel measurement, aligned with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) 
  • Clearly defined scope to calculate CO2 emissions in relation to airlines’ flying activities   
  • Guidance on non-CO2 related emissions and Radiative Forcing Index (RFI) 
  • Weight based calculation principle: allocation of CO2 emission by passenger and belly cargo
  • Guidance on passenger weight, using actual and standard weight
  • Emissions Factor for conversion of jet fuel consumption to CO2, fully aligned with CORSIA
  • Cabin class weighting and multipliers to reflect different cabin configurations of airlines
  • Guidance on carbon offsets and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as part of the CO2 calculation. 

Qantas Airways and Airbus enter 'Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership'

Qantas Group announced (19-Jun-2022) the group and Airbus will invest up to USD200 million to accelerate the establishment of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.

The 'Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership' was signed by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury on 19-Jun-2022.

The partnership is initially for five years with options to extend the duration.

The Qantas Group, which has committed to using 10% SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030, is sourcing SAF overseas.

This includes 15% of its fuel use out of London currently and 20 million litres p/a for services from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Australia from 2025.

Qantas' financial contribution to the partnership includes AUD50 million (USD34.8 million) previously committed to research and development of SAF in Australia.

The Qantas and Airbus partnership will invest in locally developed and produced SAF and feedstock initiatives.

Projects must be commercially viable and meet a set of environmental sustainability criteria to qualify.

Airbus and Qantas agreed to work together on the sustainability initiative as part of the airline's recently announced orders, including the A350-1000 to operate 'Project Sunrise' services from Australia to New York and London, the selection of the A220 and A321XLR under the Qantas Group's 'Project Winton' domestic fleet renewal and lower emission aircraft for its subsidiary Jetstar Airways. [more - original PR]

Original report: QANTAS AND AIRBUS JOINT INVESTMENT TO KICKSTART AUSTRALIAN BIOFUELS INDUSTRY

The Qantas Group and Airbus will invest up to US$200 million to accelerate the establishment of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia, in a landmark agreement.

The Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership was signed by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in Doha today, ahead of the IATA AGM.

Due to the lack of a local commercial-scale SAF industry, Australia is currently exporting millions of tonnes of feedstock every year, such as canola and animal tallow to be made into SAF in other countries.

The Qantas Group, which has committed to using 10 per cent SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030, is sourcing SAF overseas. This includes 15 per cent of its fuel use out of London currently and 20 million litres each year for flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Australia from 2025.

Sustainable fuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 per cent compared to traditional kerosene and are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their impact on the environment – particularly given they can be used in today’s engines with no modifications.

The Qantas and Airbus partnership will invest in locally developed and produced SAF and feedstock initiatives. Projects will have to be commercially viable and meet a strict set of criteria around environmental sustainability.

Airbus and Qantas agreed to work together on the sustainability initiative as part of the airline’s recently announced orders, including the A350-1000 to operate Project Sunrise non-stop flights from Australia to New York and London and the selection of the A220 and A321XLR under the Qantas Group’s Project Winton’ domestic fleet renewal, as well as lower emission aircraft for its subsidiary Jetstar.

The new fleet will offer a significant reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions of up to 25 per cent from day one and are all already certified for operation using 50 per cent SAF.

The partnership is initially for five years with options to extend the duration. Qantas’ financial contribution to the Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership includes AU$50 million previously committed to research and development of SAF in Australia.

Pratt & Whitney, whose GTF engines were recently selected by Qantas for their new A220 and A320neo family aircraft, is also contributing to the venture. The company supports greater use of cleaner, alternative fuels including SAF, while continually advancing the efficiency of aircraft propulsion technology.

Qantas has started a process of talking to its major corporate customers about their interest in accessing SAF offsets for their organisation’s flying. This input is shaping the design of a program that could also be extended to individuals in an expansion of the existing offsetting program Qantas already has in place. This new program is expected to launch later this calendar year.

CEO COMMENTARY

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the investment would accelerate the development of SAF in Australia, creating value for shareholders of both companies while also creating jobs and reducing the nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

“The use of SAF is increasing globally as governments and industry work together to find ways to decarbonise the aviation sector. Without swift action, Australia is at risk of being left behind,” Mr Joyce said.

“With this investment, Qantas and Airbus are putting our money where our mouth is and betting on the innovation and ingenuity of Australian industry.

“Aviation is an irreplaceable industry, especially for a country the size of Australia, and one that’s located so far away from so much of the world. Future generations are relying on us to get this right so they too can benefit from air travel.

“This investment will help kickstart a local biofuels industry in Australia and hopefully encourage additional investment from governments and other business and build more momentum for the industry as a whole.

“It makes a lot of sense for us to put equity into an industry that we will be the biggest customer of. We’re calling on other companies and producers to come forward with their biofuel projects. In many cases, this funding will be the difference between some of these projects getting off the ground.

“The aviation industry also needs the right policy settings in place to ensure the price of SAF comes down over time so that the cost of air travel doesn’t rise. We’ve had some encouraging discussions with the incoming Australian Government given their strong focus on emissions reduction and look forward to that progressing.”

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said: “Ensuring a sustainable future for our industry has become the priority for Airbus and we are taking up this challenge with partners across the world and from across all sectors.

“The increased use of sustainable aviation fuels will be a key driver to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. But we can’t do this without viable industrial systems to produce and commercialise these energy sources at affordable rates and near to key hubs around the world.

“This is especially true for a country like Australia, which is geographically distant and highly reliant on aviation to remain connected both domestically and internationally.”

“The Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership reflects the new level of partnership between Airbus and the Qantas Group and our firmly shared commitment to act as catalysts of change to ensure a bright future for our industry.”

The Qantas Group’s commitment to sustainability:

  • In 2019, Qantas was the second airline in the world to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.
  • The Qantas Group Climate Action Plan, released in March 2022, commits the airline group to an interim target of 25 per cent emissions reduction and 10 per cent SAF use in the fuel mix by 2030 and 60 per cent SAF use by 2050.
  • As part of its fleet replacement program announced in May, the Qantas Group confirmed purchase rights to 94 A321XLR and A220 aircraft, which will reduce emissions by at least 15 per cent if running on traditional fossil fuels.
  • The Qantas Group’s landmark Project Sunrise program, which will use A350s to travel non-stop initially between Sydney and London and Sydney and New York, will be carbon neutral from day one.
  • Qantas’ Fly Carbon Neutral program is one of the largest airline offsetting program in the world, with a focus on high integrity projects in Australia and overseas. More than 10 per cent of passengers elected to “tick the box” to offset flights. Offsetting is a key tool in Qantas’ decarbonisation efforts, particularly while alternative aircraft fuel technology is still many years away.
  • The Qantas Green Tier, launched earlier this year, allows the airline’s 14 million Frequent Flyers to access rewards for being more sustainable when they travel and at home.

Airbus climate action plan:

  • Key pillars of the manufacturer’s climate action plan focus on fleet replacement with new fuel-efficient aircraft, the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels, optimised air traffic management and ultimately the delivery of zero-emission aircraft by 2035.
  • The Airbus aircraft selected by Qantas already deliver a reduction in fuel consumption of between up to 25 per cent compared with previous generation aircraft.
  • All current Airbus commercial aircraft are already certified to fly with up to 50 per cent SAF.
  • Since 2008, Airbus has acted as an important catalyst in the certification process, demonstration flights, partnerships, and policy advocacy of SAF.
  • In 2021 the manufacturer performed its first test flight using 100 per cent SAF.
  • Airbus targets approval for the 100 per cent use of SAF on all its current commercial aircraft by 2030.
  • Airbus is also investing in the development of zero emission aircraft that will be powered by hydrogen with first delivery targeted in 2035.
  • Other studies include the potential use of synthetic fuels that will combine carbon feedstocks with renewable hydrogen.
  • Airbus is fully committed to playing a leading role in the decarbonisation of the aviation sector and industry goals to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050. 

Finnair enters SAF purchase agreement with Gevo

Gevo and Finnair entered (21-Jun-2022) into a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) agreement for seven million gallons p/a, for a period of five years.

Deliveries of the SAF by Gevo are expected to commence in 2027, with an estimated value of USD192 million over the contract period.

The agreement falls under the scope of the MoU signed between oneworld and Gevo in Apr-2022, laying the foundation for the 14 alliance airlines to purchase 200 million gallons of SAF p/a from Gevo's commercial operations.

It is subject to certain conditions precedent, including Gevo developing one or more SAF production facilities. [more - original PR]

Original report: Finnair and Gevo Enter into Sustainable Aviation Fuel Sales Agreement for 7 Million Gallons of Per Year Over Five Years

Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) is pleased to announce a new fuel sales agreement with Finnair. The Agreement outlines the details for the purchase of 7 million gallons per year of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for five years from Gevo’s commercial operations. Deliveries of the SAF by Gevo are expected to begin in 2027. The expected value for the Agreement to be $192 million over the five-year period, inclusive of the value from environmental benefits for Gevo.

Finnair is a member of oneworld® Alliance, and this Agreement falls under the purview of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that oneworld and Gevo signed in April 2022, laying the groundwork for the 14 world-class airlines in the alliance to purchase 200 million gallons of SAF per year, from Gevo’s commercial operations. The Agreement with Finnair will broaden Gevo’s range of airline partners and grow its global footprint with its sustainable fuel products, and also supports our efforts in pursuit of our stated goal of producing and commercializing a billion gallons of SAF by 2030.

Gevo was founded on the principle of building sustainability into every step of our process,” said Dr. Patrick R. Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer. “But it is not static—it’s always improving: We’re constantly incorporating new developments at every stage of our business system to reduce our carbon intensity. This is expected to make the renewable energy carried in our advanced renewable fuels even more impactful as they help to lower our customers’ carbon scores.”

Finnair uses an extensive toolkit to achieve emission reductions – using sustainable aviation fuels, reducing the weight of aircraft, developing fuel-efficient flight methods, offsetting, and engaging customers in reducing aviation emissions. Finnair is also actively exploring the possibilities of introducing new technologies into its operations.

Finnair has ambitious emissions reduction targets: by the end of 2025, we intend to halve the level of net emissions from 2019 and achieve carbon neutrality latest by the end of 2045. SAF plays an important role for reaching these targets,” says Eveliina Huurre, SVP Sustainability at Finnair.

Gevo’s process is designed to create multiple efficiencies by allowing the same acre of farmland to produce SAF from corn using atmospheric carbon while simultaneously adding high-value nutritional products to the food chain.  

Finnair knows the future will be built on renewable energy, and our SAF delivers renewable energy in a drop-in fuel that is expected to make an impact right away,” said Dr. Gruber. “Because its fungible, this SAF is expected to reduce the carbon intensity in any flight proportional to the blend used to fill up the aircraft.”

The Agreement with Finnair is subject to certain conditions precedent, including Gevo developing, financing, and constructing one or more production facilities to produce the SAF contemplated by the Agreement.

ExxonMobil develops process technology to manufacture SAF from renewable methanol

ExxonMobil announced (20-Jun-2022) a unique process technology to enable the manufacture of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from renewable methanol.

ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing president James Ritchie said work has commenced to qualify the resulting renewable jet fuel pathway.

Lower emission fuels venture executive Russ Green said: "SAF produced from renewable methanol can play an important role in helping the aviation industry achieve the transition to a net-zero future".

Additionally, ExxonMobil offers process technology and catalysts which convert other renewable biofeeds, such as used cooking oils, animal fats and vegetable oil, into renewable jet fuel.

ExxonMobil is evaluating opportunities to deploy these process technology solutions within a portfolio of options to help the aviation industry to decarbonise. [more - original PR]

Original report: ExxonMobil Methanol to Jet Technology to Provide New Route for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production

ExxonMobil today announced a unique process technology to enable the manufacture of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from renewable methanol. 

  • ExxonMobil is focused on growing its lower-emission fuels business by leveraging technology and infrastructure.
  • ExxonMobil is engineering proprietary methanol to jet technology that will produce SAF when renewable methanol is used as feedstock.
  • This expands upon ExxonMobil’s suite of technology solutions that are engineered to manufacture SAF from other biofeeds.

“SAF produced from renewable methanol can play an important role in helping the aviation industry achieve the transition to a net-zero future. Reaching that goal by 2050 will require a multi-faceted approach, including advancements in aircraft-related technology, changes to infrastructure and operations, and a dramatic increase in SAF supply. Our process technology can be an important step in this direction,” said Russ Green, ExxonMobil’s lower-emission fuels venture executive.

Proprietary Methanol to Jet Technology

ExxonMobil has a long history of developing advantaged proprietary process technologies and catalysts to make energy products that society needs. ExxonMobil is leveraging its core capabilities to develop a solution that converts methanol to SAF.

Methanol derived from the gasification of biomass and waste, as well as from lower-carbon hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide (CO₂), can be converted into SAF using ExxonMobil’s methanol to jet proprietary process technology and catalysts. Preliminary estimates by ExxonMobil suggest that this solution has a higher yield of jet fuel than other options. The ExxonMobil solution also provides the flexibility to use a mix of alcohols as feedstock and produce renewable diesel and lower-carbon chemical feedstocks.

“Methanol to jet technology is scalable and suitable for the conversion of methanol produced from today's world-scale plants. The work necessary to qualify the resulting renewable jet fuel pathway has already started,” said James Ritchie, president of ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing LLC.

Technology to Convert Other Biofeeds to SAF

Additionally, ExxonMobil has process technology and catalysts that are available to customers today which convert other renewable biofeeds, such as used cooking oils, animal fats, and vegetable oil, into renewable jet fuel. Our analysis shows that our BIDW™ isomerization catalyst provides a jet fuel yield advantage versus alternatives currently available.

Decarbonization and Hydrogen Solutions

ExxonMobil is evaluating opportunities to deploy these process technology solutions within a portfolio of options to help the aviation industry to decarbonize.

ExxonMobil is advancing integrated solutions to extend our Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) and Hydrogen capabilities to support the decarbonization objectives of our biofuels customers and partners,” said Siva Ariyapadi, bioenergy global business manager.

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