HYDERABAD: ‘Go green’ is the new mantra of the aviation industry. And this was evident at the ongoing India Aviation 2012 that saw majority of the participants riding high on their ‘environment friendly’ products. From leading aviation manufacturers such as Airbus andBoeing (Dreamliner) to major engine developers such as Pratt & Whitney, Power Jet and GE, all used the ‘eco-efficient’ tag prominently to market their offerings.
If Power Jet showcased its ‘SAM146′ jet engine as a state-of-the-art `green’ technology-driven product, Pratt & Whitney stressed on how its new engine wash facility (called EcoPower engine wash) was free of toxic chemicals and detergents. Boeing’s Dreamliner was presented as a `cleaner, quieter and more efficient’ aircraft that not only reduced carbon emissions by a good 20 per cent but also guaranteed 40 per cent less noise footprint. Even GE made deliberate attempts to highlight its new fuel and carbon solutions, which they claimed can help a typical mid-sized airline save an average of three to six per cent on their aircraft related carbon dioxide emissions. Airbus, apart from talking about their 70 per cent market share in India, also spared a few minutes to speak about its efforts in creating alternative fuels that have now been authorized for use on commercial passenger flights.
“Environmental issues that were once part of a company’s corporate social responsibility have now become the focal point. Like most other sectors, the aviation industry too is concerned about the environment now,” said Palash Roy Chowdhury, managing director-India (commercial engineers and global services) of Pratt & Whitney.
Lufthansa and Southwest Airlines have been named among the greenest names in aviation.
The airlines both picked up gongs from Air Transport World‘s magazine’s first eco-aviation awards, designed to honor companies which are trying to reduce the environmental impact of the flights that we take.
German airline Lufthansa took a gold award for its program to reduce fuel and emissions by modernizing its fleet and the burnFAIR project, which saw it launch biofuel flights in routine service from 2011.
Southwest Airlines, the American low-cost carrier, was a surprise winner of an eco-pioneer award thanks to its focus on efficiency.
According to ATW, that focus on efficiency to trim costs allowed it to be “an eco-pioneer long before the industry recognized environmentally sound business practices.”
The eco-airport award went to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, thanks to its adoption of technology to reduce emissions — last year, it used some 87 million kilowatt-hours of electricity created from renewable wind energy.
Airlines are increasingly paying attention to their carbon footprint, not least because it’s becoming an issue for passengers too.
Last month, a survey conducted in the US by travel review giant TripAdvisor suggested that 71 percent of travelers plan to make ‘eco-friendly’ choices when it comes to travel, with half admitting that they would shell out more money for a greener experience.
GreenAir Online reports that in a keynote address to this year’s Asia-Pacific conference of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), President of the Maldives, Dr Mohamed Waheed, said that with new air traffic management technologies and measures, as well as greater aircraft efficiencies, it was possible to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint and make a contribution to a cleaner environment.
However, even more than facing the technological challenges, what was also required was a will to act, take decisive steps and make a difference in addressing climate change, he said. The 11,000 Maldive islands, none of which has a point higher than 1.5 metres, is at serious threat from the rising sea level effects of climate change, which was already causing environmental damage and an enormous burden for small island countries such as his, said the President.
Dr Waheed said air travel was synonymous with modern life and was the world’s fastest growing means of transportation, with total passenger traffic doubling every 15 years and freight traffic growing even faster. He commended CANSO for its vital role in global aviation management and for its vision and commitment in transforming the sustainable growth of air traffic.
“This, I believe, is very important for the sake of our environment, for our survival, for our future,” he told delegates.
However, he noted that international aviation emissions from developed countries had risen by 65% between 1990 and 2005, and since 1990 the sector’s overall CO2 emissions had increased by 87%. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also had projected in its base scenario an increase from nearly 500 million tonnes of CO2 from aviation in 2002 to 1,200 million tonnes in 2030, even assuming fuel efficiency gains – an increase of over 250%, he said.
“The toll on the global environment from unsustainable policies and actions is very evident now,” claimed Dr Waheed. “The consequences of environmental neglect and complacency are no longer debatable. The message is very loud and clear.”
Despite the rhetoric and pledges, he added, global greenhouse gas emissions had been steadily increasing.
“The consequences of these are very obvious,” he said. “The evidence is very apparent. You can now look around and understand why the Maldives is very nervous and concerned about even a few centimetres rise in sea level.”
The President said institutions like CANSO could bring about changes to redress environmental damage and neglect. He noted IATA’s aim for a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction by 2020 through technology, operational enhancements and the introduction of new aircraft such as the A380 and Boeing 787. He also praised innovative developments in sustainable alternative aviation fuels, singling out Qatar Airways, an airline serving the country, for its investment in developing such fuels.
He added: “I understand that with new air traffic management technologies and with new better air traffic management measures, such as operational concepts and improved airspace design and procedures, it is possible to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint and to develop the civil aviation industry’s contribution to a clean environment.”
On climate change, Dr Waheed concluded: “This issue requires the will to act, the will to take decisive steps and the will to take leadership. This is the defining issue of our generation.”
Also addressing the conference, Mohamed Ibrahim, CEO and MD of the Maldives Airports Company, said the country was an appropriate location to discuss the role of air traffic management in the context of climate change and the sustainable growth of air transport.
“As a small island nation, building sustainable transport systems is essential for the country’s development; not only for the growth of the tourism industry, but for healthy and vibrant island communities,” he said, calling on delegates to learn from the examples set by other regions, and to embrace change and new technologies for improving air traffic management efficiency.
Greg Russell, Chairman of the Asia-Pacific CANSO CEO Committee and CEO of Airservices Australia, noted that the projection for the growth in annual traffic in the region was more than 7% compared to the global average of 5.1%.
The challenge is managing substantial aviation growth efficiently as possible, he said, adding that airspace users were looking to air navigation service providers to help them save fuel and cut CO2 emissions through ATM efficiency improvements.
Referring to a recent CANSO-Boeing white paper (see article), CANSO’s interim Director General, Samantha Sharif, called on aviation stakeholders to work together to accelerate ATM efficiency improvements and deliver a step-change in ATM performance.
“The aviation industry has set itself a goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050,” she told delegates. “Air traffic management is currently 92-94% efficient but there is much more work to be done.”
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.
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
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
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.
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.
January 18th, 2012 by EnergyRefuge.com
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 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 Electronics.ca Publications’ web site. View the report: Green Aviation Market to 2020 – Stringent Regulations to Drive Investment in Green Technologies