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Air Transat designated first certified green airline by World Green Aviation Council

Air Transat has become the first airline to be certified green by the World Green Aviation Council. The certification, Fly-360-GreenTM, consists of a comprehensive system for rating the design, innovation and operation of highly sustainable airlines and airports.

“We are extremely proud to have obtained this certification,” said Allen B. Graham, President and CEO, Air Transat. “Our airline has implemented a great many measures and programs geared toward environmental protection and sustainable development, including a fuel management program to lower CO2 emissions. Over the past few years, we have adopted measures to save water and energy, promote recycling and reduce waste. And we are continuing our group effort with employees to keep on improving our environmental performance.”

The World Green Aviation Council’s Fly-360-Green certification is intended to provide the airline industry and airports with a concise framework for identifying and implementing collaborative and measurable green aviation designs, innovations, and operations solutions.

Using the 55 different environmental initiatives in the three main categories found in the Airline Environmental Management Framework (Daily Operational Activities, Corporate Environmental Management Practices, and Corporate Policies/Strategic Planning), airlines and airports can qualify one of for three certification levels: A-class (over 110 points), B-class (100-109 points) and C-class (90-99 points) for airlines; and A-class (over 60 points), B-class (50-59 points) and C-class (40-49 points) for airports.

The World Green Aviation Council consists of member airlines and airports from around the globe dedicated to a simple mission: foster an international standard for sustainable aviation through cutting-edge technological advancements, while also taking into consideration aviation’s absolute emissions, which are constantly on the rise despite various pro-environmental actions taken by stakeholders.

Air Transat is Canada’s leading holiday travel airline. Every year, it carries some 3 million passengers to nearly 60 destinations in 25 countries aboard its fleet of Airbus wide-body jets. The company employs approximately 2,000 people. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50 countries.


How technology can help aviation go green

LONDON, England – The airline industry is seen by many as one of the main culprits when it comes to carbon and greenhouse gas emissions — and therefore climate change.

It has been heavily criticized by environmentalists for perceived inaction over its high CO2 output — estimated at between two and 10 percent, depending on whose figures you want to trust.

However, with oil prices doubling worldwide in the last year the incentive for the aviation industry to reduce its fuel output is now as much driven by hard economic realities as environmental factors.

Although there have been efforts to mitigate the impact of air travel through initiatives like carbon offsetting, many see this as a short-term solution and as such of limited value.

The search is on to find ways of reducing planes reliance on fossil fuels and according to the CEO of Lufthansa, Wolfgang Mayrhuber there is only one area that will provide the answer in the long run: “technology, technology and again technology.” 

The biofuel option

Virgin Atlantic owner Richard Branson throws a coconut in the air. Biofuel made partly from coconut was used to power a 747 in February.

Within the airline industry itself many are putting their faith in biofuel as a viable alternative to petroleum fuels. So-called first generation biofuel is made from organic materials — often food crops — that are broken down to produce oil or alcohol fuel like ethanol.

Its chief champion so far is the owner of Virgin Atlantic, the tycoon Richard Branson, who has pledged to invest profits from his transport empire in to biofuel production.

The use of biofuel remains contentious, however, with claims that harvesting of the crops needed to make the fuel robs locals in the developing world of valuable farmland thereby pushing up food prices. Environmentalists also argue that it often leads to deforestation, making any CO2 savings largely redundant.

Mindful of these criticisms, Branson used a mix of coconut oil harvested from existing plantations and oil from palms that grow wild to fuel a flight from London to Amsterdam earlier this year. The Virgin Atlantic 747 that left Heathrow in February was the first commercial aircraft to be powered partly by biofuel.

Even so the plane still relied on 80 percent conventional jet fuel, and many are skeptical whether first generation biofuel has enough energy density to work on its own. The harmful impact on food prices and the sheer volume of crops needed in their production has led many airlines to set their sights on second and even third generation biofuels that come from non-food crops.

Air New Zealand, for example, has begun testing Jatropha, a bush native to Central America that can grow in very arid environments, requires little water and has a much higher yield than crops like corn.

Rob Fyfe, CEO of the New Zealand national carrier said they decided on the crop “because we wanted a fuel that had no connotations in terms of competing with the crops from indigenous forests.” Air New Zealand has committed to running its fleet on 10 percent non-food biofuels by 2013.

Going green with algae

Scientists are researching using algae as an aviation fuel. It is believed it could produce higher yields than other biofuels.

Other airlines are looking away from the land for the solution. Boeing has joined energy giants such as Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell in supporting research in to the use of algae.

Researchers have already managed to extract vegetable oil from algae harvested on ponds. It is still only at its early stages but scientists believe algae could potentially produce much higher yields than other biofuel with the added advantage that it would not take up valuable farmland.

Two members of staff from Boeing sit on the board of directors of the Algal Biomass Organization, a U.S. trade body set up to accelerate research and funding into its use as an aviation fuel.

Inspired by birds

Creating efficiencies is not just about improving fuel, of course. Airlines are also looking at aircraft design and the way the skies are managed in the hunt for savings.

Mayrhuber told CNN he would like to see the rules governing the flight paths planes are allowed to travel along relaxed to allow aircraft to choose the most energy efficient routes.

“From Europe we have three entry points into China,” he says. “If you asked the birds that migrate, they take a different route every day. Why? It isn’t so they don’t pay the fuel at the station. It is energy. They take the best route every day and we believe that there are airways that are outdated.”

According to Mayrhuber, if planes were allowed to travel unrestricted across Europe it would reduce carbon emissions from aviation on the continent by 12 percent overnight.

It is not only the migratory routes of birds that aviation experts are looking at. They are hoping that examining the design of nature’s ultimate flying machines might turn up some unexpected solutions. USA Today, for instance reported that scientists are investigating how it is that birds can fly without the large vertical tail fin required on planes. If they could solve this conundrum, getting rid of the fin would very likely lead to fuel savings.

Many of these technological changes are unlikely to happen in the near future (if they happen at all) while environmentalists insist climate change is of pressing concern right now. The jury is still out on just how seriously the aviation industry is taking the threat of global warming, but with oil prices still on the up it may be forced to act sooner rather than later.

First Boeing 787 Dreamliner green bio-fuel flight underway

ANA9397 the delivery flight of a brand new All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner is making aviation history as it flies to its destination, Tokyo’s Haneda airport, today.

It is the first time a 787 Dreamliner has flown powered, at least in part, by sustainable biofuels.

The delivery flight between Boeing’s Delivery Center in Everett, Wash. and Tokyo Haneda Airport is also the first ever transpacific biofuel flight.

The 787 is flying with biofuel made mainly from used cooking oil and is expect to emit an estimated 30% less CO2 emissions when compared to today’s similarly-sized airplanes. Of the reduction in greenhouse gasses, about 10 percent can be attributed to the use of biofuel.

Lufthansa: Biofuels Could Be Aviation’s Standard in Five Years

January 18th, 2012 by

Joachim Buse, Lufthansa airline’s head of aviation biofuel, last week said at an industry event in Washington, D.C. that biofuelscould be the industry’s standard fuel in five to seven years.

According to Air Transport World, the airline executive said his company’s burnFAIR project hasshown that biofuels are a feasible proposition for commercial flights from a technological point of view. What needs to be done now is to make sure there is enough production and from sustainable feedstocks. He told ATW that “from now on, it’s purely a commercial issue.”

One day before Joachim’s talk, a flight between Frankfurt and Washington using a Boeing 747 400 carried 40 tons of a biosynthetic fuel mix. Between mid-July and late December, Lufthansa had four daily roundtrip flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt as part of burnFAIR.

Joachim said that in order for biofuels to become a routine within the aviation industry, government assistance and commercial practices will be necessary. burnFAIR cost Lufthansa €6.6 million ($8.4 million). Out of the total, €2.5 million were covered with subsidies from the German government.

The use of biofuels by airlines is likely to revive the ‘food versus fuel’ debate. What do you think? Are biofuels a green solution for airlines, who account for an estimated two percent of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions?

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

Green Aviation Market Holds Enormous Revenue Potential and is Expected to Reach $412.1 billion by 2020

Green Aviation Market to 2020

ELECTRONICS.CA PUBLICATIONS, the electronics industry market research and knowledge network, announces the availability of a new report entitled “Green Aviation Market to 2020 – Stringent Regulations to Drive Investment in Green Technologies”.

The global aviation industry annually contributes around 2-3 % of total worldwide anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Though, the emissions from the aviation industry currently account for a small part of total man-made emissions, the escalating demand for the aviation industry will be a major reason for increased emissions.  Furthermore, the growth in air traffic over the last couple of decades has outweighed the contribution of significant improvements in aircraft technology and aircraft operations.

It is believed that in the years ahead, the aviation industry will turn to green technologies in order to develop business-led solution to address climate change. Tightening regulations on the aviation industry to curb its emissions will drive green aviation technology market in general and the aviation biofuels and fuel cells market in particular. It is anticipated that the green aviation market will reach $412.1 billion in 2020 from $80m in 2009.

It is also believed that air transport demand will follow economic recovery, thus, the global economic recovery is expected to create a robust growth in the demand for air travel. There is a marked correlation between economic growth and air travel as economic growth influences the demand for air transportation. Industry experts are of the view that for every 1% increase in global economic growth, there is a 2.5–3% increase in global air traffic. However, there is growing concern regarding the effects of aircraft emissions on the environment.

Fortunately, there is common vision among industry stakeholders in reducing the impact of aviation on climate change — measures for development and implementation of new and sustainable energy source for aviation worldwide and producing innovative aircraft design and materials are most likely outcome.

Reductions in the cost of fuel cells which are used to provide auxiliary power in aircrafts are expected to spur their deployment in the green aviation market. The costs of fuel cells have been decreasing in the last few years and it is expected that the trend will continue in the future. The reducing cost of fuel cells will open up the market for fuel cells in the aviation fuel sector, as well as others. According to industry analysts, fuel cell costs have reduced drastically because initiatives were taken by the fuel cell industry to reduce the platinum loading of fuel cells, which when present in large amounts increased the cost of fuel cells considerably. The green aviation fuel cell market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 184.8% for the period 2010–2020, and reach $ 140.2 billion by the end of 2020.

The green aviation industry lacks rigorous standards which could move the market towards achieving sustainability. There is no common standard which can act as a benchmark for the aviation industry’s efforts to reduce their adverse effect on the environment. The green aviation advanced composite market is in an introductory stage and needs to be galvanised by efforts towards standardization. The green aviation advanced composite market is expected to reach $200m by the end of 2020, with a CAGR of 9.6% for the period 2010–2020.

The green aviation biofuels market is currently in an embryonic stage, and achieving sustainability will be a key driver for the green aviation biofuels market. The green aviation biofuels market is expected to reach $271.7 billion by the end of 2020, with a CAGR of 177.6% for the period 2010–2020.

Details of the new report, table of contents and ordering information can be found on Publications’ web site. View the report: Green Aviation Market to 2020 – Stringent Regulations to Drive Investment in Green Technologies

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