Sustainable Aviation Fuels
In Japan, Nippon Paper Industries Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Corp. and Green Earth Institute Co. Ltd. announced that they will be looking into producing wood-based cellulosic bioethanol for SAF by 2027. Honda Motor Co. expects to start producing sustainable aviation fuel. Honda will expand its algae-cultivating business at plants in Japan and overseas, with an eye on production of SAF around 2030.
In the US, United teamed up with Tallgrass and Green Plains Inc. and have announced a new joint venture – Blue Blade Energy – to develop and then commercialize a SAF technology that uses ethanol as its feedstock. United Airlines has also created a dedicated investment vehicle to support start-up businesses focused on SAF. The United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund is designed to help accelerate research, production and technologies linked to SAF. The fund has been launched with more than $100 million in investments from Boeing, GE Aerospace, Honeywell and JP Morgan Chase, as well as Air Canada. United has also refined its booking website and app to show customers the estimated carbon footprint of flights they are considering and provide options for them to contribute to the new fund. KBR announced that it has launched SAF technology in alliance with Swedish Biofuels AB, a technology developer and pioneer in cutting-edge research on biofuels.
In south Africa, Sasol and Topsoe, a global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies, have signed a MoU with the intent to establish a 50/50 in 2023 to produce SAF. In Europe, The Lufthansa Group and the energy company VARO are expanding their long-standing partnership and have signed a MoU on the production and supply of SAF, where VARO could supply the Lufthansa Group with large volumes of SAF from as early as 2026, for example to the Munich airport hub. Neste and Wizz Air have agreed on the supply of SAF from 2025 onwards. The agreement gives Wizz Air the opportunity to purchase 36,000 tons of SAF per annum over a period of three years for the airline to use across its route network in Europe and the UK.
On the airport side, London’s Heathrow Airport is making available a £38 million fund to encourage airlines using the airport to power their aircraft in part by SAF, with the incentive aimed at covering up to 50% of the extra cost of SAF compared to conventional jet fuel. The oversubscribed incentive scheme started in 2022 with six airlines participating and Heathrow is now aiming to triple the percentage of SAF used this year to 1.5% and become one of the world’s leading airport users of SAF.
In the world of shipping, DHL has launched GoGreen, the first global express courier to give customers the opportunity to use SAF to reduce emissions. It will initially launch in the UK, shortly followed by Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the UAE.
Bell Textron has completed its first helicopter flight fueled solely by 100% SAF with its Bell 505 becoming the first-ever single engine helicopter to fly using 100% SAF. This milestone flight was achieved by a close cooperation between Bell, Safran Helicopter Engines, GKN Aerospace, Neste and Virent.
Six aviation and energy businesses have formed a sustainable propulsion partnership in New Zealand to assess and drive the introduction of flights powered by green hydrogen. The Hydrogen Consortium has been established by Airbus, Air New Zealand, Christchurch Airport, Fortescue Future Industries, Hiringa Energy and Fabrum. Also in New Zealand, Universal Hydrogen, Embraer and Heart Aerospace join Airbus and ATR as the long-term partners Air New Zealand is currently working with on its mission to replace its Q300 domestic fleet with a more sustainable option from 2030.
In Europe, a consortium led by Honeywell will launch a European Clean Aviation project that will develop a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells for the aviation industry. Project NEWBORN will involve multidisciplinary collaboration between 18 partners from 10 European countries to develop an aerospace-qualified megawatt-class fuel cell propulsion system powered by hydrogen. ZeroAvia and Birmingham Airport (BHX) have entered into a long-term partnership to make on-airfield hydrogen refuelling and regular domestic passenger flights of zero-emission aircraft a reality in the coming years.
Airports & intermodality
Riga airport has set targets for achieving zero CO2 emissions with a Net Zero Roadmap. Lufthansa Group signed a joint MoU with the Italian state railroad company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane S.p.A. to cooperate on feeder traffic within Italy in order to link the various modes of transport in a better and more customer-friendly way. The aim of the planned cooperation is in particular to bring passengers with FS rail connections to and from their respective flight connections at various Italian airports.
In Australia, Newcastle Airport has signed a new energy purchase agreement with Flow Power, a leading Australian renewable energy retailer to achieve its target of 100% renewable energy seven years ahead of schedule, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and supporting the airport’s sustainability efforts.
Emirates has recycled more than 500,000 kilograms of plastic and glass over the course of 2022, by collecting discarded bottles onboard for repurposing. 500,000 kilograms is almost the same weight as a fully loaded A380 aircraft.