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#Sustainability20: Biden Administration Awards $7 Billion For 7 Hydrogen Hubs & More
Weekly Roundup - 20/10/23
Each Friday, we publish a round-up of the 20 most important stories on sustainable aviation. You can see previous editions of #Sustainability20 here.
EU climate ministers approved a stance for the U.N. COP28 summit, advocating for a global deal to phase out CO2-emitting fossil fuels. The EU will push for discontinuing "unabated" fossil fuels but allows emissions-capturing technologies, primarily for hard-to-abate sectors. Some EU nations desired a more ambitious approach, while others favoured abatement provisions. They also proposed ending "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies by 2030.
European aviation associations have committed to making Europe's skies the most efficient and eco-friendly globally. Aligning with the EU's Green Deal, they aim for climate neutrality by 2050 and plan to optimise air traffic management through digital innovations. The initial step involves updating the EU ATM Master Plan.
CLIMATE WATCH: How Megafires Are Remaking the World - The New York Times
Fires are natural, but "megafires" devastate ecosystems. Climate change, invasive grasses, and prior fire suppression contribute to fiercer fires. The effects of intensified fires threaten ecosystems, hinder regeneration, and reshape landscapes. Some regions are seeing complete transformations, such as forests turning into grasslands. While some change can be positive, the rapid shifts harm biodiversity. Increased fire activity potentially endangers over 1,000 species, exacerbating existing threats.
Infrastructure and operational efficiencies
Noida International Airport, soon India's largest, aims for net zero carbon emissions, prioritising sustainability. Located 75km from Delhi, it utilises Nanogence Catalysts technology which helps reduce cement use by 20%, leading to decreased carbon emissions.
TUI Airline adopted SITA OptiClimb across all its airlines, enhancing sustainability by saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. The technology uses machine learning for optimal aircraft climbs. TUI aims to reduce emissions by 24% by 2030, with SITA OptiClimb aiding this goal. Fully deployed, it saved 4,500 tons of fuel in 2022.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
SAF costs more than kerosene, potentially impacting its adoption until mid-century, according to LEK Consulting. To reach 65% usage by 2050 requires significant capacity increase. LEK suggests ticket price adjustments and six steps to promote SAF. Immediate collaboration is essential for decarbonisation goals.
Neste will supply Emirates with over 3 million gallons of blended SAF for 2024-2025 flights from Amsterdam and Singapore. This is the largest Middle East and African airline SAF uplift. Emirates aims for greater carbon reduction, having previously demonstrated SAF-powered flights and adopted blended SAF in various locations. Shell Aviation will also supply SAF to Emirates in Dubai.
OMV will supply Ryanair with 500 metric tons of SAF at Vienna Airport in 2023. This will save over 1,250 metric tons of CO2, equating to 100 Ryanair Dublin-Vienna flights.
Boeing, NASA, and United Airlines are collaborating to test the effects of SAF on plane emissions and contrails. Boeing's ecoDemonstrator will use both SAF and conventional fuel, with NASA's DC-8 Airborne Science Lab measuring emissions. The goal is to understand SAF's potential in reducing atmospheric warming effects and contrails.
Neste, ISCC, and DHL Group have partnered to test a system allowing credible emission reduction reporting from SAF use. The ISCC Credit Transfer System ensures the traceability of SAF transactions and sustainability benefits, aligning with the Science Based Targets initiative.
Arcadia eFuels has chosen Plug Power's electrolyser technology for its Denmark SAF plant, expected to operate by 2026 with a 100m litre capacity. The facility will produce carbon-neutral SAF in line with EU aviation fuel mandates of increasing SAF blend requirements to 70% by 2050.
Honeywell and GranBio Technologies are partnering to produce carbon-neutral SAF from biomass residues in a U.S. plant by 2026. The collaboration combines Honeywell’s ethanol-to-jet technology with GranBio's cellulosic ethanol method. This supports aims for increased SAF usage in the U.S. and EU.
Embraer and Honeywell tested the HTF7500 turbofan engine on Embraer’s Praetor 600 using 100% SAF in Melbourne, Florida. It's the first 100% SAF test for Honeywell’s business jet engines showing equal performance to traditional fuel.
Rolls-Royce tested 100% SAF on its Pearl 15 and Pearl 10X turbofans in Germany. The Pearl 10X showed improved emissions due to its combustor design. The testing used HEFA SAF which has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. Rolls-Royce aims to test all its engines with 100% SAF by year-end.
South Korean airports are absent from the ICAO's "SAF-supplying airports" list, potentially harming its aviation competitiveness against neighbours like Japan and China. Global efforts promote SAF use for carbon reduction, but South Korea lacks infrastructure and has legal barriers preventing SAF production, relying solely on imports.
New technology: Electric and Hydrogen
U.S. President Joe Biden announced $7 billion in grants for seven hydrogen hubs across 16 states, promoting clean hydrogen production and infrastructure. The project involves major companies like Exxon Mobil and Amazon and aims to enhance the nation's commitment to decarbonisation. However, concerns surround the economic viability and environmental impact of the initiative.
Contreras Earl Architecture, in partnership with Skyportz and Pascall+Watson Architects, plans to build a vertiport at Melbourne's Batman Park. Replacing the existing helipad, the vertiport will support electric air taxis and offer hubs for electric scooters, bikes, ferries, and a café.
Archer Aviation secured $65 million in financing for its eVTOL aircraft manufacturing facility in Covington, Georgia. This funding, along with previous equity, supports the construction of the world's highest-volume eVTOL facility, aiming to produce up to 650 aircraft annually by 2024. Archer's goal is to provide quick, efficient urban commutes, with FAA certification expected by late 2024.
Haskel, Protium, and Nel Hydrogen collaborate on Project HEART, funded by the UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge, to develop hydrogen infrastructure for UK airports. The project focuses on regional airports and aims to facilitate green hydrogen technology, targeting 9-19 seater aircraft with a 500-mile range. The initiative will begin operation in mid-2024.
California eVTOL developer Opener has rebranded to Pivotal and launched the Helix, their scalable production aircraft retailing from $190,000. Orders begin in January 2024, with deliveries expected by June 2024. The fourth-generation eVTOL, Helix, caters to recreational flights, requiring no pilot’s license but mandatory flight training.
Japan's SkyDrive is partnering with Suzuki Motor Corporation to produce the SD-05 eVTOL aircraft, aiming for an initial 100 units annually. Production starts in 2024, with series production in 2026. They're exploring eVTOL uses in India to combat car pollution and offer sightseeing flights.
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