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Global Initiatives in Sustainable Aviation
There is no doubt the different researchers have agreed that the aviation industry is first growing with IATA fact sheet putting it at 5% annually by the year 2030 . The demand for the aviation fuels is expected to increase by between 1.5% and 3% according to International Energy Agency . In the same prospect, the EU expects the air transport industry to grow by approximately 3% annually in the continent until the year 2050, with expected fuel consumption growth of up to 2% per year . One of the main policy and initiatives that guide the production and consumption of the biofuels being the EU member are the White paper with the aim of reaching a share of 40% reduction in the reduction of GHG emissions by the year 2050. The White Paper is a roadmap focusing on the provision of a Single European Transportation Area.
Another group called the High-Level Aviation Group has also come up with their target and an ambitious one which sets the reduction of the GHG emission at 75% in CO2 and 90% in the nitrogen oxides by the year of 2050. Both of the initiatives are in Europe and are aimed at proving the strategy by the EU of making the continent a good example and a leader in the endorsement of the alternative energy and consequentially in the environmental conservation as per the European energy policy . On its part, IATA has committed itself to the same efforts of alternative energy aiming at the growth of the carbon neutral bioenergy by the year 2020 and the targeted CO2 reduction of 50% by the year 2050 .
The EC has joined hands with the Airbus and major European airlines as well as leading energy biofuel providers in the same content such as the Neste and UOP in launching an initiative that will push for fast commercialization of the biofuels in the Europe. The air service providers in the initiative include the British Airways and Air France as well as the KLM and Lufthansa. The other energy provider involved in the same is the Biomass Technology Group .
Still, in Europe another initiative with voluntary membership committee was formed with the mandate of providing the roadmap for the targeted production of 2 million tons of continuous sustainable energy for the aviation industry annually by the year 2020 . Some of the expected drivers with the greatest impact on the biofuel production according to the IEA Bioenergy 2012 include the overall demand for the jet fuel especially with the constant growth in the aviation industry. The second driver will be the availability of the bio jet fuel, and this focuses on the capability of production, logistics as well as the necessary technology and infrastructure . The third driver will be how it helps in the conservation of the environment regarding the contribution to the GHG effects and whether it is helping in achieving the targeted reduction of CO2 emissions. Further, the market development will be a contributing factor in the price of the oil prices compared to the bio jet fuel prices . Lastly, international trade will also play a fundamental role in the required standards and certification.
The North & South America
The continents of America have also come up with initiatives of sustainable energy. In 2011, the IDB launched an initiative in the region of Latin America and broader Caribbean to support cooperation of both the public and the provider sector in the investment of the alternative sustainable bio jet fuels . The purpose of the initiative is to fund all efforts that are related to the sustainable use and the production of the alternative energy which includes the consultancy services, development of knowledge as well as workshops and material dissemination targeting both the local market and also exports to the international market. The IDB partnered with various aviation stakeholders such as the local airlines and aircraft manufacturers as well as international organizations such as ICAO, CAAFI, and the World Economic Forum. The primary objective of the initiative is to ensure reduction of the CO2 emission and also to replace 50% of the current jet fuels with alternative sources by the year 2050 .
In another American initiative, aircraft manufacturer Boeing in conjunction with Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle signed an agreement in December 2015. The agreement was to launch a joint study aiming at long-term production and utilization of the sustainable jet fuel in and out of the Sea-Tac International Airport. The feasibility study on the infrastructure cost $ 250,000, and it was expected to be finished by the end of 2016 . The primary objective was to examine the costs as well as the upgrades that will be needed in the airport creating a system delivering a blend of the conventional jet fuels and the aviation biofuel . Though there was fear that the demand for the biofuel will be low since the conventional prices had hit an 11-years low on the price , there were still hopes on the bioenergy due to the volatility of the prices of the petroleum making them unpredictable.
Other companies in the United States have signed similar agreements with FedEx, and the Southwest Airlines have signed the agreement with a company that specializes in biorefinery in Oregon in the year 2014 . Red Rock Biofuels which is a company based in Colorado said that it would produce 12 million gal/year of the alternative fuels from the dry 140,000 dry tons of feedstock harvested from forests . The agreement, FedEx committed itself to take 48m gallons by the beginning of the year 2017, to its hub in Oregon. The product will be a 50/50 mix of the biofuel and the conventional fuels . On its part, Southwest agreement was to purchase 3 million gallons per year, and the first batch was extensively expected to be delivered by the end of 2016 .
The United States will also have a part to play as it is involved in most of these initiatives through the United States Department of Energy as well as US Navy and the USDA. Further, the FAA is aiming at the United States aviation industry to use 1billion gallons a year of the bio jet fuel by the year 2018. On June 2015, EPA had proposed to include the jet fuel in the Clean Air Act which would make it a contributor to the GHG .
The Canadian Government is one of the fully committed governments around the world to ensure that the experiment on the alternative source of energy is fully explored. Through its Renewable Fuel Regulations, the government is targeting to reduce the GHG emission levels of the year 2005 by 17% by the year 2020 . There are several Canadian Federal Government programs aimed towards achieving the success of the alternative fuels programs. Some of the programs include the NRDDI which was formed in the year 2008 to address any questions concerning the use of the biofuels and demonstrate how the projects will operate under the government regulations. Others include the ecoEnergy for Biofuels as well as Next-Generation Funds and ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital Initiatives . Some of the programs are aimed at supporting any efforts that would lead to production and testing of the biofuels as an alternative source of energy.
According to the Global Agricultural Information Network, a federal mandate in Canada requires that 5% of the national gasoline to be from a renewable energy and in this case ethanol is the most used . Furthermore, the mandate requires that the diesel fuel contains 2% of renewable sources. Besides, although almost every province has adopted the terms, some of the provinces such as the Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are adopting higher rates, 5%, 7.5% and 8.5% respectively . The report also indicates that Canada is one of the largest producers of ethanol with figures standing at 1.725bn liters in the year 2015 and there was an expected increase in the year 2016 to 1.75billion liters. However, the quantity is still not enough. Therefore, Canada has to import approximately 1billion liters per annum most of which came from the United States .
Similar efforts are also being carried out in the Middle East with Dubai being on the forefront in the commitment of production of clean and alternative energy for the aviation industry. By 2015, there was already an experiment being conducted in the desert of Abu Dhabi to produce the biofuel feedstocks using the sea water irrigations and the construction of the world’s first bio-energy pilot plant was still underway in the desert . The project was being conducted by SBRC which is a non-profit group that was formed in the year 2011 with the initial members being the Etihad, Boeing, and UOP. The membership expanded later when they were joined by Safran as well as GE and Takreer .
Australia and New Zealand
In 2016, the official air service providers, the Air New Zealand and the Virgin Australia, linked together to investigate whether there was a possibility to locally produce an environmentally-friendly biofuel that would be enough for their supply without shortage . In the New Zealand alone, reports show the emissions from the transport industry account for 17% while an approximated 6% come from the domestic emissions . Just like the rest of the world, the South Pacific countries are making an effort to ensure that they invest in the clean energy and thus protect the world for the GHG pollutions. The two airlines issues are RFI, and one year later they reported to have received positive feedback from organizations both locally and internationally. In Australia, a study carried out by CSIRO concluded that it was possible to achieve a 5% share of bio jet fuel in the two countries by the year 2020 (22). The share was expected to expand to 40% by the year 2050 depending on the both countries’ efforts on the sector (22).
Europe, Middle East, and Africa
In Europe, similar activities were carried out within most of the countries making milestone progress in the sustainable energy sector. In 2011, Algae Tech. Ltd signed an MOU with exclusively one of the primary leading airlines in the continent the Lufthansa to jointly analyze the algae oil from the company bio-reactors and develop it into a prolonged sustainable source of alternative energy . However, in January 2012, Lufthansa primarily announced that its flight to Washington from Frankfurt would be its last using the biofuel since they had not yet secured a reliable supply of the biofuel that would be utilized for a long-term . Nonetheless, the country’s aviation industry acknowledged it had managed to reduce the carbon emissions by 1,147 tons from the 1,187 flights that had been operated in the country so far . The consumption of the mix the biokerosene was 1,556, and various aircraft manufacturers as air service providers acknowledged that their aviation engines operated excellently with the green energy compared to the conventional one.
During the same period, Air France which is a major air service provider in France announced that it had successfully operated its first passenger flight using the renewable energy. The flight was running a 50/50 mix on the convention jet fuel and also the jet fuel that had been produced from utilized cooking oil . According to the air traffic management, the Air France flight managed to cut down the CO2 emission by 50%, and it helped to reduce the emission per traveler to 54g per kilometer .
In the UK, Virgin Atlantic reported that it had linked with LanzaTech in a project to produce bio jet fuel that will first target its two destinations in Asia which are Shanghai and Delhi . The reason for focusing on the two destinations is because LanzaTech had been working on the fuel production in China and India, and, therefore it was easier to do the implementation of the program in the continent . The two companies said they expected to bring Boeing on board in their trial phase. Though the pilot project was being carried out in New Zealand, the larger demonstration was to be made in Shanghai in the year 2013, while the first commercial flight took place in China the following year . Other flights that had announced to test the program was the Thomson Airways with its first flight said to take off from Birmingham en route to Areciffe in Spain. The flight would use a 50/50 mixture of biofuel produced from utilized cooking oil and the regular jet fuels .
Other tests that were scheduled to be made in Europe around the same period include those of Finnair from Finland which was to run on biofuel produced by SkyNRG . The test was to be conducted on Airbus scheduled from Amsterdam to Helsinki. In Netherlands, KLM became the first commercial flight around the world to operate on green energy carrying 171 passengers on board. Fuel was continuously supplied by Dynamic Fuels through the SkyNRG .
The Middle East and Africa were also not left behind with Qatar Airways reported having been interested in investing 10% in Byogy Renewables, a Californian firm that specializes in the production of the biofuels . In UAE, Etihad airlines had already accepted the delivery of a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that flew from Seattle to Abu Dhabi incorporating the biofuel and making it the first complete flight of such kind on the Gulf of Persia . In Africa, South African Airlines announced that it would have to utilize 50% biofuels in its flights to avoid the penalties as a result of carbon emissions .
Table of contents :
1.1 Definition of Biofuel
1.2 Aviation history
1.3 Manufacture of Biofuels
1.4 Biofuel in Aviation
1.5 Alternative Fuels for Aviation
2.0 Global Initiatives in Sustainable Aviation
The North & South America
Australia and New Zealand
3.0 Countries that have Adopted Biofuel in Aviation
3.1The North & South America
The United States
3.2 Europe, Middle East, and Africa
4.0 Challenges Facing the Biofuel in Aviation
4.1 Economics of Production
4.2 Resource Availability
4.3 Technology deployment and Financing
5.0 Need for Government Support