#Sustainability20: Twelve’s New Factory Will Produce 1M Gallons Of SAF Annually & Other Stories In Aviation
Weekly Roundup - 14/07/23
Each Friday, we publish a round-up of the 20 most important stories on sustainable aviation. You can see previous editions of #Sustainability20 here.
A Dutch appeals court has ruled in favour of the Dutch government's plan to reduce annual flight capacity at Amsterdam Airport by 12% to 440,000 flights by 2024. This is to reduce noise pollution and meet climate targets. Airlines including KLM, Delta Air Lines, Corendon, easyJet, and TUI, along with IATA, had challenged the decision, citing EU regulation violations.
Sabre will incorporate Google's CO₂ emissions Travel Impact Model data into its flight search tools. This will assist travellers in making informed decisions about their travel's environmental impact. The data, which provides estimates of carbon emissions and labels flights based on their emissions, has been integrated into Sabre's Red 360 travel agency tool, and will be incorporated into its GetThere corporate online booking tool by year-end.
ViaSat has selected the European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP) to commercialise its Iris project, set to launch in 2024, which aims to provide more fuel-efficient routes for airlines. The Iris tool uses digital satellite communication to assist congested VHF channels and enable continuous high-bandwidth communication between pilots and air traffic controllers. This facilitates more efficient use of airspace, reducing disruptions and emissions.
Google and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) have formed an advisory committee to oversee updates to Google's Travel Impact Model (TIM), a tool for predicting per-passenger CO2 emissions from flights. The committee will offer strategic and technical input on refining the model, including incorporating non-CO2 climate pollutants and sustainable aviation fuels. The ICCT will act as the technical secretariat, conducting research and commissioning studies as required.
Learn more about ICCT’s sustainability work in our podcast episode featuring their Program Director Dan Rutherford.
KLM CEO, Marjan Rintel, voiced support for replacing short-haul flights between Amsterdam and Brussels with rail services. Drawing from Air France's model, KLM hopes to transition passengers to high-speed train services operated by Thalys. However, limited operating hours prevent complete reliance on rail until certain issues are resolved.
Learn more about KLM’s sustainability strategy in our podcast episode featuring their SVP Strategy & Sustainability Zita Schellekens.
Heathrow Airport announced a sustainability-linked bond framework, allowing for the issuance of various sustainability-linked financial instruments. DNV Business Assurance Services UK confirmed that the framework aligns with the International Capital Market Association's sustainability-linked bond principles.
Aena, the Spanish airport operator, has secured a €2 billion sustainable syndicated credit line from 14 financial institutions, led by Banco Santander and Banco Sabadell. The interest rate depends on both credit rating and CO2 emissions reduction objectives. Aena will use this financing to extend corporate needs coverage and cancel existing credit facilities.
Infrastructure and operational efficiencies
Aer Lingus has begun recycling onboard waste on short-haul flights in partnership with Panda utilities, aiming to recycle 20% of onboard waste by year end, and 40% by 2025. This is part of the airline's sustainability strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. Aer Lingus has also received IEnvA Stage 2 Certification from IATA for its carbon reduction efforts.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans for most of its airports to rely fully on green energy by 2024, and to achieve Net Zero by 2030. Over 40 airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, already use 100% renewable energy. Future airport operation bidders may be required to substantially utilise green energy sources.
San Francisco International Airport's Harvey Milk Terminal 1, after five years of renovation, is designed to set new standards for sustainable aviation. It features 70% less energy use, 95% reduction in carbon emissions, and aims for zero waste. The terminal uses recycled building materials, solar power, and reclaimed water, while also prioritising passenger health and wellness.
Los Angeles International Airport has announced a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles as part of its commitment to sustainability. The airport, in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, has installed sixty hydration stations across terminals. This aligns with the goal to achieve zero waste by 2045.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
The SAF market is predicted to grow from USD 219 million in 2022 to USD 15,716 million by 2030, a compounded annual growth rate of 60.8%. SAF, derived from renewable sources like biomass and waste oils, reduces the aviation industry's carbon emissions, helping it meet sustainability goals.
Startup Twelve is building a factory in Washington to create jet fuel from CO2 and renewable electricity. Beginning production in 2024, the process could reduce emissions by up to 90%. Despite initial higher costs, CEO Nicholas Flanders believes the fuel can become cost-competitive, with Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, and Shopify already lined up as customers.
Cathay Pacific has used SAF for the first time outside its Hong Kong hub, refuelling four cargo flights at Singapore Changi Airport. This aligns with Cathay Pacific's goal to use SAF for 10% of its total fuel use by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Airbus aims to use 10% pure SAF in its operations by 2023 and is now offering up to 5% pure SAF to customers taking delivery of aircraft in Toulouse and Hamburg.
Learn more about Airbus’ sustainability strategy in our podcast episode featuring their Vice President for Research & Technology (Americas) Amanda Simpson.
Spanish energy company Cepsa has started selling SAF at four major airports in Spain. The SAF, produced from organic waste, reduces aircraft emissions by up to 90%. Cepsa aims to lead SAF production in Spain and Portugal with an annual capacity of 800,000 tons by 2030.
New technology: Electric and Hydrogen
The global electric aircraft market, valued at $8.6 billion in 2022, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.2% from 2023 to 2033. Factors contributing to growth include the push for greener transportation, quieter flight operations, regulatory support, and technological advancements.
Aviation startup Electra has unveiled a hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing aircraft (eSTOL), the EL-2 Goldfinch, backed by an $85 million Air Force award. The hybrid-electric system recharges batteries in flight for longer ranges, making it viable for military use. The aircraft will undergo testing this summer.
Airbus-Safran venture ArianeGroup has successfully tested a hydrogen conditioning process for aircraft engines. This marks the end of the HyPERION project, which researched hydrogen propulsion for commercial aviation. The project confirmed the potential of hydrogen as a source for decarbonising civil aviation.
California-based startup Alef Aeronautics has received a Special Airworthiness Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its Model A flying car. The vehicle, which resembles a regular car, can carry two passengers and is capable of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL). It's expected to hit the market in 2025.
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