#Sustainability20: Qantas Sets Up World's Largest Climate Fund & Other Stories In Aviation
Weekly Roundup - 02/06/23
Each Friday, we publish a round-up of the most important stories on sustainable aviation. You can see previous editions of #Sustainability20 here.
The Qantas Group is establishing an AU$400 million ($260 million) climate fund to provide direct investments in sustainability projects and technologies. The initiative is an essential part of the airline's pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.
In the lead-up to Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), Airbus unveiled its Airspace Cabin Vision 2035+. The French airframer brought together ten airlines and eight technology companies to contribute to a vision that rethinks how the cabin should look and feel while maintaining superior passenger comfort. The core of the new cabin designs is decarbonization.
For more on Airbus, listen to our podcast episode with Amanda Simpson, Vice President for Research & Technology (Americas) at Airbus.
Addressing the Sustainable Aerospace Together Forum, hosted in Seattle by Boeing and FT Live earlier this month, IATA director general Willie Walsh pulled no punches when spelling out the enormous cost of decarbonizing aviation and how it will be funded.
A total of 500 airports across the globe are now certified under ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme having fulfilled the stringent requirements set by its accreditation levels.
For more on ACI, listen to our podcast episode with ACI World’s General Director Luis Felipe de Oliveira.
A consumer class action lawsuit filed Tuesday (May 30) calls out the Atlanta-based carrier’s claim of being “the first carbon-neutral airline on a global basis,” as “false and misleading.” Delta said it would reduce jet fuel usage and improve plane efficiency as part of its plan to achieve carbon neutrality. However, according to the lawsuit, it has heavily relied on carbon offsetting.
Global airlines are setting up a task force to deal with non-carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, stepping up efforts to tackle cloudy streaks formed by aircraft known as contrails, an environmental threat that until now has taken a backseat to carbon pollution in the response to global warming.
Infrastructure and operational efficiencies
Finland’s Helsinki Airport has opened the P1 Premium/P2 parking hall next to the terminal, with almost 350 charge points for passengers‘ electric vehicles (EVs).
Salvador Bahia Airport, of the VINCI Airports network, achieved an 87% reduction in carbon emissions (scopes 1 and 2) in 2022, boosting sustainability in the national airport sector. With work focused on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies, the airport has celebrated its leading role in its commitment to the environment and is already recognised as the most sustainable in Brazil by the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).
A consortium led by Glasgow Airport has obtained funding from the Scottish government to initiate a feasibility study for a hydrogen production, storage and distribution hub. The project aims to facilitate zero-emission flights at the airport and is part of the Scottish government's £7 million ($8.7 million) Hydrogen Innovation Scheme, dedicated to advancing renewable hydrogen technologies.
Brussels Airport Company plans to replace its gas-fired central heating installation with a net zero carbon installation by early 2027. It is predicted to reduce Brussels Airport Company’s total carbon emissions by around 70% (based on 2021 figures).
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Qatar Airways has signed a deal with fuel distributor Shell for over 3,000 metric tonnes of neat Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The fuel will be provided to the airline at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). The airline anticipates that the SAF will make up 5% of all fuel the airline burns on flights from AMS throughout the next fiscal year.
CleanJoule, a Salt Lake City-based developer of sustainable aviation fuels developed from agricultural residues and other waste biomass, raised $50 million from an investor group that included three airlines that also agreed to buy up to 90 million gallons of CleanJoule SAF.
With mandates and blending goals being imposed on the production of SAF, renewable fuel producer SKYNRG predicts a worldwide demand and supply for SAF of at least 4.5 billion gallons by 2030, with voluntary usage by business aviation, airlines, and cargo operators expected to further increase that amount. By 2050 that total could reach 42 billion gallons in markets where blending mandates or production goals are in place or under development.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling upon governments to create policies that foster and support increased creation of sustainable aviation fuels. In a post on LinkedIn, IATA went on to point out that countries that signed onto the Paris Climate Agreement continue to actively subsidise “an overwhelming number of products and services that are based on fossil fuel.”
Greener jet fuel made from animal fats could exacerbate global emissions due to anticipated scarcity. While these waste by-products offer a low carbon footprint alternative, rising demand, predicted to triple by 2030, may outstrip supply, leading other industries to use high-emission palm oil. Brussels-based campaign group, Transport & Environment, highlights the insufficiency of animal fats to meet the aviation industry's needs.
Abu Dhabi's future energy company Masdar has signed an agreement with Airbus to support the development of the global sustainable aviation fuel market. The agreement highlights areas of collaboration between the two companies, including SAF, green hydrogen, direct air capture technologies, as well as supporting the development and implementation of 'book and claim' solutions.
New technology: Electric and Hydrogen
SAS will open seat reservations for its first-ever commercial electric flights in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. There will be 30 seats available on each of the inaugural flights (there’s one inaugural flight per country). These flights will be operated by Heart Aerospace’s ES-30 aircraft, which SAS has signed a letter of support for.
Eve Air Mobility said it continues working toward its goal of beginning commercial service with its eVTOL in 2026. The company said it has completed propeller tests aimed at identifying designs with favourable combinations of efficiency, performance, quiet operation, and operating cost. Eve is now focused on testing its vertical lift rotors with particular attention to their performance during transitions between vertical and forward flight.
Boeing is now the sole owner of Wisk Aero, the self-flying air taxi manufacturer it has been backing since 2019, alongside Google co-founder Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk Corp. Kitty Hawk ceased operations last year but continued to invest in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer. Now, Boeing has reportedly acquired Kitty Hawk’s shares in Wisk, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary.
For more on Boeing, listen to our podcast episode with Sheila Remes, Boeing’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability.
South Korea has launched a research program to develop and demonstrate technology for a zero-emission 19-passenger short-haul commuter airliner with hydrogen fuel-cell power and distributed electric propulsion.
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