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#Sustainability20: Joby Delivers First eVTOL Aircraft To U.S. Air Force & More
Weekly Roundup - 06/10/23
Each Friday, we publish a round-up of the 20 most important stories on sustainable aviation. You can see previous editions of #Sustainability20 here.
The Federal Aviation Administration launched a $245 million grant program to bolster sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure. This move supports the Biden administration's goal of net-zero aviation emissions by 2050.
JetBlue has filed a complaint against the Netherlands and the EU due to the Dutch government's decision to limit flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. This cap effectively bars new entrants, leading JetBlue to seek similar restrictions against Dutch airlines in the U.S. if unresolved.
Austrian Airlines was ruled to have misled the public by advertising CO2-neutral flights using 100% SAF between Vienna and Venice. Austria's Association for Consumer Information (VKI) highlighted that the actual SAF proportion was 5%.
Antarctic sea ice in 2023 reached its lowest peak since 1979, deviating significantly from past years. The declining sea ice threatens the continent's ice shelf, wildlife, and global sea levels. Factors influencing sea ice levels include global warming and ocean temperatures, possibly signalling a new era of persistently low Antarctic sea ice.
Infrastructure and operational efficiencies
Hawaiian Airlines is introducing inflight amenity kits made of recycled materials for select long-haul flights, inspired by their upcoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner premium cabin. Partnering with Hawaii's Noho Home, the sustainable kits reflect traditional Hawaiian motifs. The airline will also launch a home goods retail collection.
Bombardier's Blended Wing EcoJet offers a sustainable aviation solution with its aerodynamic blended wing-body design, promising 50% less emissions. Aiming for compatibility with green propulsion technologies, Bombardier's decade-long project signifies the aviation industry's commitment to eco-friendly advancements.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) emphasises sustainability with its transportation. Instead of a bridge, a pedestrian tunnel was built in 2015, facilitating walking and cycling. 25% of travellers use the zero-emission electric ferry or bus, and soon, electric buses will replace diesel ones. Powered by 100% sustainable electricity, YTZ has reduced emissions with an electric ferry, encourages public transport, and uses a noise-dampening Ground Run-Up Enclosure. They also partner with Bullfrog Power for green energy, further decreasing their carbon footprint.
Solar Airship One, a 495-ft-long airship, plans a zero-emissions journey around the equator, covering 25,000 miles in 20 days. Its surface has 4,800 square meters of solar film. Daytime solar panels power the propulsion and store hydrogen. At night, a fuel cell uses the hydrogen. The airship, expected to average 52 mph, is set for a 2026 trip. Helium, a non-renewable element, fills the structure.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Diamond Aircraft's DA42-VI light twin flew using SAF at Bremen Airport, Germany. This effort, in collaboration with Lufthansa Aviation Training and Austro Engine, aims to make flight training more sustainable. Bremen Airport offers SAF from World Fuel Services. The companies aim for full SAF usage by 2050, with significant penetration by 2030.
Emirates and Shell Aviation are collaborating to introduce SAF at Dubai International Airport. Shell will supply 300,000 gallons of SAF, tracked via the Avelia blockchain solution. The initiative supports Emirates' green efforts and regional SAF adoption.
World Energy and Microsoft have entered a decade-long agreement to purchase sustainable aviation fuel certificates (SAFc) to decarbonise corporate air travel and cargo. The collaboration aims to displace 43.7 million gal of jet fuel with SAF, cutting over 469,000t of CO2. This partnership promotes trust in digital monitoring and 'Book & Claim' verification for SAFc.
Airbus has partnered with Japan's ACT FOR SKY, an organisation promoting SAF, to support a resilient SAF supply chain in Japan. Airbus aims to make all its aircraft capable of using 100% SAF by 2030. The Japanese government plans to replace 10% of its 2030 jet fuel demand with SAF and will introduce regulations by mid-2024.
Lufthansa Group is offering a special package for UN World Climate Conference attendees in Dubai, including 100% offsetting of flight CO2 emissions using SAF. Benefits include free rebooking, bike rental, and e-limousine services. Lufthansa aims for CO2 neutrality by 2050, with a 50% reduction in net CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2019.
Cebu Pacific aims to integrate SAF into its fleet by 2030, contributing to the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Despite its high cost, the airline is also considering hydrogen fuel, acknowledging its long-term potential and storage challenges.
ADNOC's Ruwais Refinery received the International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC) for SAF production, marking a first in the Middle East. The certification allows international airlines at Abu Dhabi Airport to use SAF made from used cooking oil. ADNOC's commitment to sustainability supports the UAE's net-zero goal by 2050.
New technology: Electric and Hydrogen
Joby Aviation delivered its first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to the U.S. Air Force six months ahead of its expected 2024 date. The eVTOL, which can travel up to 200 mph with a 100-mile range, will be used for logistics missions and national airspace research. The delivery is part of Joby's $131 million contract with the U.S. Air Force's AFWERX program, potentially delivering nine eVTOLs. Commercial passenger service is projected for 2025.
ALIA, a battery-powered aircraft by BETA Technologies, made its first international flight from Plattsburgh, NY to Montreal. The electric plane, with a 215-nautical mile range, is quieter and charges in 30-50 minutes. ICAO hailed it as a step towards a net-zero emissions industry by 2050.
Rolls-Royce's new small gas turbine, designed for hybrid-electric flight, completed its first fuel burn. Developed with novel combustion tech for ultra-low emissions, the compact turbine will be integrated into a turbogenerator system for the Advanced Air Mobility market, including eVTOL and eSTOL aircraft. It offers scalable power between 500 kW and 1,200 kW, enabling longer routes using sustainable aviation fuels or hydrogen combustion.
Collins Aerospace opened "The Grid," a $50 million lab for developing hybrid-electric propulsion components. Covering 25,000 square feet, it will pioneer electric systems for greener aviation. They've demonstrated a solid-state circuit breaker supporting future aircraft hybrid-electric systems.
The FAA has accepted Universal Hydrogen's proposal to convert ATR 72 regional airliners to hydrogen power. The FAA provided certification criteria for the conversion, advancing Universal Hydrogen's ambition for hydrogen-powered regional flights within years. The company successfully tested a hydrogen-fuelled Dash 8 aircraft, emphasising its commitment to zero-carbon aviation.
In 2024, Paris will host the Summer Olympics and is planning air taxi launches, with many eVTOL manufacturers targeting a 2024 debut. Melbourne-based Skyportz, having worked with Melbourne's waterfront sites, believes waterfronts offer the safest and most practical retrofit for urban Advanced Air Mobility. Skyportz proposes a new vertiport in Melbourne to accommodate electric air taxis, integrated with other electric transportation.
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