#Sustainability20: Pivotal Kicks Off US Sales of Lightweight Electric Personal Helix Aircraft & More
Weekly Roundup - 12/01/24
Each Friday, we publish a round-up of the 20 most important stories on sustainable aviation. You can see previous editions of #Sustainability20 here.
The oneworld Alliance collaborates with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to assess emissions and disclose carbon footprints to travelers. All 13 alliance airlines will contribute operational data to IATA's CO2 Connect calculator, which uses airline data and industry sources to compute emissions for over 70 aircraft types, enhancing transparency and environmental awareness.
The global sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) market is estimated to flourish at a CAGR of 26.2% from 2022 to 2050. Transparency Market Research projects that the overall sales revenue for sustainable aviation fuel is estimated to reach US$ 402.0 billion by the end of 2050.
The UK aviation sector calls for increased state support to accelerate the shift to SAF, emphasising the need for a robust price stability mechanism. With the Phillips 66 plant falling short of production targets, industry leaders warn of potential delays and higher ticket prices for British passengers, urging the government to match the support seen in the EU and US.
“Astounding” ocean temperatures in 2023 supercharged “freak” weather around the world as the climate crisis continued to intensify, new data has revealed. The oceans absorb 90% of the heat trapped by the carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, making it the clearest indicator of global heating. Record levels of heat were taken up by the oceans in 2023, scientists said, and the data showed that for the past decade, the oceans have been hotter every year than the year before.
Infrastructure and operational efficiencies
London Gatwick has become the first international airport to open a GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourt®, a dedicated electric vehicle (EV) charging station. The brand-new site has 30 high-power and low-power electric vehicle chargers available via contactless payment. All charging bays are powered by 100% net zero energy, with the fastest chargers capable of adding up to 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.
Schneider Electric announced its partnership with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to improve operational reliability and workplace safety. Schneider Electric’s proposed modernisation of YVR’s existing installed products will significantly cut capital costs for the airport with minimal operational disruption, supporting the airport’s goal to become net zero carbon by 2030.
Honeywell has extended its contract with Lufthansa Group and added Lufthansa Cityline as a user of Honeywell Flight Efficiency software, which provides guidance to pilots, ground personnel and other stakeholders about fuel loading, taxiing and flight procedures. Under this agreement, Lufthansa Cityline will unlock the potential of more fuel-efficient flight operations, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of flight execution compared to initial plans.
Synaptic Aviation Inc. has rolled out its AI software at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in collaboration with Terminal One Group Association. The software employs cameras, advanced algorithms, and real-time data analytics to enhance apron operations and provide real-time information on ground service routines.
As part of continuing efforts to sustainable initiatives, low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) has pioneered the use of electric buses to transport passengers to and from boarding gate and aircraft at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Two leased electric buses joined the fleet via a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Wednesday afternoon, making them the country’s first local carrier using electric shuttle buses.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
With the support of the federal government, Brussels Airport has announced a special financial contribution to encourage the use of SAF among airlines. This incentive will be available to passenger and cargo airlines, for both short-haul and long-haul flights departing from Brussels Airport during 2024. The SAF incentive offers a maximum of 200,000 euros per airline, which should cover up to 80% of the additional cost of using this fuel.
DHL Express has signed a five-year agreement with the German luxury e-commerce business Mytheresa for the use of its GoGreen Plus service. Mytheresa will invest “several million euros in GoGreen Plus over five years,” representing the largest investment in this service in Europe to date. The service is expected to save over 27,000 tons of CO2e from international shipments.
Cepsa and Air Europa have sealed an alliance whereby the energy company will supply 14.4 tons of SAF to the airline for one year to cover the first monthly Madrid-Havana flight. This is the first time that two companies in Spain have established a regular supply of this sustainable fuel for a specific air route. The collaboration will help avoid the emission of around 50 tons of CO2, equivalent to planting 575 trees.
Korean Air has partnered with Yusen Logistics, a global logistics company, to promote further the use of SAF in the air cargo industry. Yusen Logistics is the airline’s first cargo SAF partner based in Japan, and the two companies will collaborate to promote SAF usage within the Asian region in alignment with the aviation industry’s climate change goals.
A recent study by Decision Innovation Solutions shows that the Midwest could benefit greatly if the SAF goal of producing 35 billion gallons is achieved by 2050, as soybean oil and corn ethanol are identified as the most likely SAF feedstocks. However, to reach the target, the study suggests building 63 new 200-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plants, 30 new ethanol-to-jet SAF production facilities, and six new oils/fats SAF production facilities.
New technology: Electric and Hydrogen
Pivotal, a California–based company backed by Larry Page, launched online sales for Helix – a lightweight, electric personal aircraft that does not require a pilot's license to fly. Deliveries begin June 10, 2024, and it will only be sold in the US starting at $190,000. CEO Ken Karklin believes the “market is ready for the wonder of aerial recreation and short-hop eVTOL travel.”
Joby Aviation has signed a definitive agreement with Clay Lacy Aviation to install the first electric air taxi charger in Southern California at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County, CA. As part of Clay Lacy's planned $100 million redevelopment of its fixed-based operator (FBO) terminal at SNA, the electrical infrastructure will be installed to support Joby's Global Electric Aviation Charging System (GEACS) and is expected to be completed by mid-2025.
Fraport and Lilium have announced a strategic collaboration to explore the necessary planning and approval steps required for commercial eVTOL operations at airports. Fraport and Lilium plan to analyse future mobility concepts suitable for electric aircraft vertiport networks and examine how future vertiport concepts for this type of mobility could look, especially at and around airports.
SkyDrive, a Japanese eVTOL manufacturer, has announced a strategic partnership agreement with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to work together to explore the ecosystem settings required for the social implementation of eVTOL aircraft in the State of Gujarat, India, by 2027.
Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai, has unveiled a full-scale model of its eVTOL aircraft, the S-A2, at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Set to hit the market in 2028, the aircraft features a V-shaped tail and eight tilting rotors and is designed to carry four passengers plus a pilot on short hops of 25-40 miles. It will be significantly quieter than helicopters, generating about as much noise as a dishwasher.
Swiss startup Sirius Aviation AG, in collaboration with BMW's Designworks and Sauber Group, has unveiled the world's first-ever hydrogen-powered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft - the Sirius Jet. This zero-emissions VTOL aircraft aims to achieve extended flight distances, impressive speeds, and high altitudes with nearly silent operation. It will be launched in 2025 in two versions: Sirius Business Jet and Sirius Millennium Jet, for private and commercial aviation respectively.
The "BSR HyAirport" project, aimed to create pre-conditions for hydrogen-powered flights in the next three years, has started. With the EU providing support of 3.8 million euros, the project brings together airports, airlines, research institutions, and technology companies from the Nordic and Baltic regions, Poland, and Germany. Regular air traffic with regional aircraft of up to 80 seats is expected in this decade.
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