#Sustainability20: Elysian Reveals First 90 Passenger Battery-Electric Aircraft & More
Weekly Roundup - 19/01/24
Each Friday, we publish a round-up of the 20 most important stories on sustainable aviation. You can see previous editions of #Sustainability20 here.
At CAAF/3 in Dubai, ICAO, with over 100 member states, agreed to reduce international aviation CO2 emissions by 5% by 2030, by maximizing global production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
By 2026, the EU will ban terms like "climate neutral" or "eco" without evidence and prohibit carbon offsetting for environmental claims, except only for approved certification schemes, addressing concerns about misleading claims and the impact of offsetting.
The aviation industry struggles with reporting environmental metrics like fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions, and SAF uptake. The 2023 CAPA-Envest report shows a slight improvement in airlines' public reporting, but comparing their environmental performance is challenging due to varied reporting quality and lack of standardisation.
The UN, following the hottest year on record, emphasises aviation's crucial role in achieving a carbon-free future. For a sector contributing 2% to global emissions, it is vital to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, adopt policies like carbon pricing and SAF standards, and align with ICAO's net-zero emissions goal by 2050 through actual emission reductions.
Dengue cases have surged eight-fold globally from 2000 to 2022, with 70% in Asia and 3.9 billion people at risk worldwide. Extreme weather events and climate change, exemplified by Bangladesh's increased rainfall, heat, and humidity, are driving the disease's spread and longer dengue seasons.
Infrastructure and operational efficiencies
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has deployed 'Oscar', an AI waste-sorting technology from Intuitive AI, which helps travellers sort waste into appropriate bins. It analyses items presented to its camera, guides users on disposal, and ensures user privacy by not storing personal data.
Air Europa has chosen Shell Aviation to supply aviation lubricants for its Boeing 737 and 787 fleet long-term, including AeroShell engine oils, greases, and fluids. The Spanish airline, with 28 737s and 27 787s, will use AeroShell Turbine Oil 560 to reduce oil coke build-up and protect engine seals.
Cambodia's "GreenSky" project transforms Techo International Airport into an eco-friendly hub. It features vertical gardens, rooftop greenery, indigenous plants, and a botanical garden, with a goal to enhance air quality and aesthetics. The project incorporates sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting and solar energy, setting new standards in environmentally conscious aviation infrastructure.
Boeing has begun modifying an MD-90 airliner into the X-66 Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) for NASA's project. This involves removing engines, conducting 3D scans, and replacing wings with a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) design for improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
Wizz Air has reported that its average carbon emissions for 2023 amounted to 51.5 grams per passenger/km, 6.8% lower than in 2022. The airline led in CO2 intensity reduction, partnered with two SAF producers, invested in biofuel companies, and conducted Hungary's first commercial SAF test flight with a 35% blend.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Cathay Pacific Airways, aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, expands its Corporate SAF Programme by adding Dimerco Express Group, Yusen Logistics, and NGO Business Environment Council. These join existing partners like AIA and Standard Chartered.
Long Beach Airport now offers SAF for general aviation jets, thanks to Atlantic Aviation. Mayor Rex Richardson commended this initiative, highlighting Long Beach's commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
The International Energy Agency's "Renewables 2023" report forecasts a 23% increase in global biofuel demand, reaching 200 billion litres by 2028. This growth, led by ethanol and biodiesel, is expected mostly in emerging economies like Brazil, Indonesia, and India, with advanced economies focusing on renewable diesel and biobased SAF.
The First Movers Coalition, a partnership between the World Economic Forum and the US government, now has 96 members making over 120 commitments to purchase near-zero emission goods and services by 2030. These commitments, representing an estimated annual demand of $16 billion, form the largest private sector demand for emerging climate technologies.
The Indian government targets a 1% blend of SAF with jet fuel for international flights by 2027, increasing to 2% by 2028 and 5% by 2030, aiming to reduce carbon emissions.
New technology: Electric and Hydrogen
Dutch startup Elysian, in collaboration with Delft University of Technology, has unveiled the E9X, one of the largest battery-electric aircraft designs, capable of carrying 90 passengers over 500 miles.
Airbus, under its ZEROe program, has achieved a significant milestone in developing hydrogen-powered aircraft, aiming for a mid-next-decade launch. They're exploring four concepts, including hydrogen combustion, hybrid engines, and a fully electric model using hydrogen fuel cells. This success, particularly powering the electric motors with hydrogen fuel cells, aligns with the architecture of the final design, with further tests planned on an A380 demonstrator.
Southeast Asia's use of turboprops on short-haul routes decreased from 43% in 2019 to 39% in 2023, raising concerns about adopting zero-emission aircraft for such routes.
JetSetGo, an Indian private aviation group, plans to acquire up to 100 Horizon Aircraft's Cavorite X7 eVTOL models, with a preliminary agreement for 50 and an option for 50 more. The Cavorite X7, an advancement of the X5, can carry six passengers over 500 miles at 240 knots and features a unique fan-in-wing design.
Atlantic Aviation is preparing for eVTOL aircraft operations at its US fixed base operators, announcing partnerships with Joby and Archer. These agreements involve installing electric recharging equipment and developing vertiport infrastructure in key metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami.
ZeroAvia is collaborating with hydrogen tech startup Verne to create aircraft with energy-dense fuel for faster refuelling and extended range. Aiming for a 40-80 seat aircraft with a 700-mile range by 2027, ZeroAvia has achieved significant milestones, including experimental flight certificates and its first 19-passenger hydrogen-electric flight.
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