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House passes bill defying Europe's aircraft emissions rules
The Hill, USA, 24 Oct 2011 – The House has defied the European Union, quickly approving legislation that would ban European countries from imposing emission trading requirements on US airlines. The EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) has said that, starting next year, it will charge US aircraft for carbon emissions whenever they land or take off in Europe. The lower chamber approved H.R. 2594 by unanimous consent after a brief debate in which most Republicans and Democrats said they reject the ETS as an extra-territorial plan to fine American aircraft that was imposed without any input from the US. With House passage, the bill moves to the Senate, which could not take it up until next week at the earliest, when it returns from a week-long break. Read more ...

Emissions standards fuel Canadian airline ire
Montreal Gazette, 21 Oct 2011 - Canada's four main airlines have accused Europeans of acting like far-west sheriffs, laying down the law with stringent regulations to curb aircraft greenhouse-gas emissions. George Petsikas, President of the National Airlines Council of Canada that represents Air Canada, West-Jet Airlines, Jazz Aviation and Air Transat, said that Europe's tough emissions standards set to take effect Jan 1 for aviation are brash, unilateral and unnecessary. In a report intended largely to head off the European initiative, the council insists that its four member airlines have made great strides in cutting fuel consumption - mostly by buying $12 billion worth of new planes that burn less fuel.  Read more ...

Sceptics question airline biofuels
Aviation Week, USA, 21 Oct 2011 - When it comes to operating airliners with a biofuel blend, it is becoming difficult to find a name-brand airline that has not conducted a demonstration flight. The problem is, it may all be for naught. Air France recently completed a trial, as have Lufthansa, KLM, Iberia and a raft of others. But the air transport industry may be deluding itself if it believes biofuels are the panacea for carbon footprint reduction, at least for this decade and possibly beyond. High fuel costs as well as competing demand make it unlikely that biojet will deliver the promised carbon dioxide reductions within a desired timeframe. What is more, many biofuels have a carbon footprint that is not much better than fossil fuels and, with regulators looking to impose an indirect land-use charge to account for the fact that food is not produced, the prospects for biojet are dimmed further.  Read more ...

Russia proposes airport slots as CO2 reduction incentive
Air Transport World, USA, 18 Oct 2011 - Russian transport authorities have condemned the EU ETS and want European officials to encourage airlines to reduce carbon dioxide emissions via airport slots rather than punish them with additional payments. During the recent Russia-EU summit, Russia's Deputy Minister of Transport, Valery Okulov, said European and Russian carriers could be encouraged to be more ecologically friendly by strategic allocation of high-value slots at European and Russian airports. Representatives of Russia's largest carrier - Aeroflot - said that the ETS could cost the airline up to €10 million a year ($13.9 million). Read more ...

Airlines weigh the advantages of using more biofuel
New York Times, 9 Oct 2011 - The world's airlines will carry 2.8 billion passengers and 46 million tons of freight this year. They will burn somewhere between 210 million and 220 million tons of fuel and and generate 650 million tons of carbon emissions in the process. Strong growth, particularly in Asia, will see to it that those numbers keep rising. Add to that the fact that the price of fuel is likely to keep rising and that the pressure to reduce fuel emissions has never been higher, and what you get is a huge increase in recent years in the airline industry's efforts to develop biofuels capable of powering aircraft. The speed of the progress in recent years has been remarkable. Read more ...

Quick win: aviation biofuels offer breakout for clean energy
Biofuels Digest, USA, 13 Oct 2011 - In Copenhagen, a coalition of companies and associations involved in aviation biofuels made a strong case for the sector not only as a quick win for biofuels, but as a quick win for clean energy as a whole. "Aviation is hard at work with a spectrum of activities to reduce environmental impact. But we see aviation biofuels as a quick win," said ATAG's Paul Steele. "First, we have just 1700 airports as fuel points, versus distributing to and possibly retrofitting hundreds of thousands of gas stations around the world. Second, aviation biofuels involve no infrastructure change – they drop right into the existing engines. Third, you have a sector that has done everything it can to do the flight tests, the certifications, sustainability groups, and even participating with investment in biofuels, to stimulate production." Read more ...

Out of the frying pan and into the air
Wall St Journal, USA, 15 Sept 2011 - Will your next flight be part-powered by used chip fat? The answer was 'yes' for 171 passengers flying between Amsterdam and Paris with Dutch airline KLM in June. But debate rages about whether enough cheap fuel made from renewable organic materials could be produced to fuel future flying. "To make just 1 per cent of the oil we use nationwide in the US would require us to devote 10 per cent of our cropland," says James Bartis, senior policy researcher at RAND. Seed and fruit oils from jatropha, camelina and palms are among the few plant biojet sources available today, Dr Bartis says. "The problem with using seeds is you're using a small fraction of the plant and—as a result—the yield per acre of oil is extremely low." The aviation industry says camelina and jatropha can be grown on marginal land to avoid competing with food production. But, says Dr Bartis: "We found what every farmer in the world knows. You put something on marginal land, don't irrigate it and you get a marginal crop." Read more ...

Australia adds opt-in rule for polluters in CO2 scheme
Reuters, 14 Sept 2011 - Big fuel users such as airlines may opt-in to Australia's carbon pricing scheme to help manage their carbon costs. The rule change, included in a suite of carbon pricing laws introduced into the lower house of parliament was made at the request of major companies such as Qantas to improve risk management. Under the national carbon pricing scheme, about 500 top polluters responsible for 60 per cent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions will have to pay A$23 ($23.50) for each tonne of carbon emissions from July 1 next year. Emissions trading and more flexible pricing follows three years later, assuming parliament passes the package before the end of this year. "Qantas' strong preference has always been for the ability to manage our carbon liability directly, and we are pleased that the legislation includes an 'opt in' provision," said a company spokesman. "Our estimated domestic emissions footprint in the first year of the scheme, 2012-13, is around 5 million tonnes," he added. Read more ...

Most airlines will need to buy 30-40 per cent of their EU ETS carbon permit needs
Reuters, 9 Sept 2011 - Most airlines will need to buy 30-40 per cent of their carbon permit needs from the wholesale market when the aviation sector joins the EU emissions trading scheme next year, according to an official at Lufthansa. Despite having a free allocation of 85 per cent of historical emissions, surging passenger numbers and a large increase in airfreight since 2004 will leave many operators needing to buy far more than 15 per cent of their historical emissions, according to Stefan Mast, head of ETS implementation at Lufthansa Group. "The whole aviation sector faces a strong under-allocation of certificates, due to the fact that all growth since the baseline years 2003-2004 has to be fully purchased," Mast wrote in an opinion piece in today's edition of Carbon Market Europe." In Lufthansa's case, this will equate up to 350 million euros." Read more ...

Farmers sought for California jet biofuel project
Recordnet.com, USA, 22 Aug 2011 - Farm officials, hoping to get California farmers to plant as much as 25,000 acres of camelina, an oilseed, for a biomass start-up project are offering incentives to growers in Southern California. Camelina would be feedstock for a biofuel plant producing jet fuel substitute to be built in Bakersfield and begin production in late 2012. The US Farm Service Agency is offering five-year contracts to landowners and operators under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Camelina producers would receive a base-soil-rental-plus-50 percent incentive. So, if a farm's soil rent is $30 per acre, for example, the farmer would get a $45 per acre annual incentive payment. AltAir Fuels, based in Washington state, plans to design and build the initial biofuels plants in Washington and California. Read more ...

Boeing looks to carbon recycling for weight reduction
Flight International, UK, 9 Aug 2011 - Boeing is nearing the implementation of a carbon fibre recycling effort for its 787 programme to reduce waste and use scraps to develop secondary aircraft structures. The airframer is aiming to collect uncured carbon fibre scrap used in the manufacturing process to build items such as brackets and clips and cured material for interior parts and passenger seat backs, which may reduce the weight of a widebody aircraft interior as much as 450 to 900kg (1,000 to 2,000lbs), said Boeing's programme manager of composite recycling Bill Carberry, who also serves as deputy executive for the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA). Read more ...

US senator touts camelina crop to farmers
Seattlepi, USA, 24 Aug 2011 - Western US farmers are being urged to join a federal programme that pays them to grow the crop camelina. US senator Maria Cantwell said the new US Department of Agriculture effort is intended to jump-start the creation of a camelina-to-fuel industry. But unless many more farmers grow camelina, few companies will invest money in production facilities to turn camelina oil into biodiesel or green aviation fuel. Cantwell said farmers in Eastern Washington could plant as many as 11,000 acres with federal assistance. With time, that level of production could convince other producers to follow suit, bolstering the camelina-to-jet-fuel programme. Read more ...

House ready to fight Europe's ETS
Aviation International News, USA, 28 Aug 2011 - The US Transportation Department is considering a "range of options" to respond to the European Union's emissions trading scheme (ETS), according to the testimony of a high-level agency official before the House aviation subcommittee. "In January next year, US aircraft operators will begin to incur liability for greenhouse gas emissions under the EU ETS," said Susan Kurland, DOT Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs. "We strongly object, on both legal and policy grounds, to the proposed unilateral imposition of ETS on foreign operators." Krishna Urs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for transportation affairs at the US Department of State, told the subcommittee that he met with EU officials in Oslo in June and delivered the Obama Administration's formal objections to the EU's unilateral inclusion of US airlines in the EU ETS.  Read more ...

Aircraft emissions standards hard to craft
Aviation Week, USA, 12 Aug 2011 - Efforts to establish the first carbon dioxide certification standard for aircraft are proving difficult, and the recent failure to agree on a metric for CO2 emissions risks delaying completion of the standard. Last year, ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) set 2013 as the target for completing the CO2 standard. But last month the working group tasked with developing the metric on which the standard will be based failed to reach an agreement, instead forwarding rival proposals to a steering group meeting scheduled for September. The working group also proposed a timetable that would delay completion of the standard to 2015. Differences centre on whether a standard based on a simple measure of cruise fuel flow will put sufficient pressure on manufacturers to drive down CO2 emissions. Proponents of a more complex measurement scheme want to minimize the possibility that manufacturers and operators could "game" the standard. Read more ...

Airlines and carbon - the European plan makes sense
New York Times, 2 Aug 2011 - The world's leaders should have reached a deal long ago to limit greenhouse gas emissions, says a NYT editorial. In the absence of such a deal, the European Union's plan to regulate the carbon emissions of all airplanes that land or take off from European airports is a reasonable attempt to address an urgent problem. Starting next year, any airline flying in or out of a European airport would need permits for emissions for the entire flight. The plan faces enormous opposition: China has threatened a trade war. India has protested. And the Air Transport Association of America, the airline lobby, has blasted the scheme as a costly and illegal invasion of sovereignty. The Obama administration has objected, and a bill barring American airlines from participating in the scheme has bipartisan support in the House. A global deal would be great. But international talks to regulate airlines' emissions have been going on fruitlessly for almost 15 years. The EU's plan is a much needed first step to controlling a growing source of dangerous emissions. It may even encourage nations to work toward something broader. Read more ...

India to oppose EU's emission trading system for airlines
Economic Times, India, 1 Aug 2011 - The Indian government will oppose the European Union's proposal to make airlines buy carbon credits for using its airspace on the grounds that it is unilateral and unfair on carriers from developing countries. The EU's proposal is likely to force airlines to pass on the cost to passengers. India also says the arrangement would allow European carriers to manipulate the taxation system after it comes into force from January 1 next year. "India is protesting the imposition of this system because no ETS measure can be imposed without bilateral negotiations. Tomorrow, they [EU] may impose another tax and nobody would be able to do anything," a top government official said. Read more ...

Australian regional carriers to pay fourfold on carbon tax
The Australian, 26 July 2011 - Australia's regional airlines say their customers can expect to pay up to four times the A$2 a flight average carbon tax cost claimed by the federal government. They say they will be forced to pass on the cost to customers in the first year of the tax to be between A$4 and A$8, according to a review by the Regional Aviation Association of Australia. This is also higher than the A$3- to A$3.50-per-sector cost predicted by the major airlines. The RAAA conducted the survey after Assistant Tourism Minister Nick Sherry told a Sydney conference that claims being made by the industry were "grossly exaggerated". The carbon tax has generated discontent among smaller aviation players and the government has been criticised by the Australian Aviation Associations' Forum for its lack of consultation with the industry. Read more ...

Why do airlines fight rules to help the environment?
Reuters, 26 July 2011 - "The way some of the big US airlines tell it, they're responsible stewards of the environment working hard to shrink their footprints," writes US columnist Peter Goldmark in an op-ed article. He questions why these "environmental stewards" are hiring lobbyists and going to court to fight their inclusion in Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme. He also asks why some members of the US Congress are introducing legislation that would make it illegal for air carriers to obey the EU requirement. Read more ...

Australian airlines count the cost of carbon tax plan
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2011 – Australia's major airlines say domestic travellers will bear the full brunt of the federal government's carbon plan. Qantas and Virgin Australia say they cannot absorb the higher cost of fuel when the scheme kicks in July 2012. Qantas said the average domestic fare would go up by A$3.50 (US$3.75) per flight - or A$7 a return ticket. Virgin said it expected the increase to be about A$3 per ticket, depending on the length of the flight. In terms of the bottom line, Qantas said it expected the carbon plan to cost the airline group - comprising full service Qantas mainline and low-cost offshoot Jetstar - between A$110 million and A$115 million (US$118-123m) in 2012/13. "In the context of the significant challenges facing the global aviation industry, the Qantas Group will be unable to absorb the additional costs associated with the carbon price," the airline said in a statement. "There will be a full pass-through to customers." Read more ...

UK government "giving green taxes a bad name"
Business Green, UK, 7 July 2011 - A committee of MPs have accused the coalition of "giving green taxes a bad name" by focusing its fiscal policy on raising revenues rather than curbing environmentally damaging behaviour. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report blames the Treasury for "undermining taxpayers' support" for green taxes by making environmental levies so complex that businesses and individuals lose sight of the desired outcome and simply view them as revenue-raising exercises. It says the proposed changes to Air Passenger Duty will do nothing to reduce emissions or make it a more effective environmental tax. Among a number of recommendations, it says revenues from environmental taxes should be ring-fenced and funnelled towards greener alternatives, such as reducing public transport fares. It similarly recommends that receipts from EU Emissions Trading Scheme allowances and the Carbon Floor Price could be used to help energy-intensive industries reduce their carbon footprint. "It cannot be all stick and no carrots," the report reads. Read more ...

EU parries China's jab on aviation emissions scheme
Reuters, 6 July 2011 – Including aviation in Europe's emissions trading scheme is key to limiting greenhouse gases and climate change, the European Union said, defending strict plans that have prompted China to cry foul. China has resisted, and a commentary by China's state Xinhua News Agency reflecting the government's stance said the plan was poorly designed, costly and unfair for developing countries. But an EU statement sought to set the record straight, framing the scheme as a fair and cost-effective way to reach climate-change goals. "It is an important part of the EU's action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases associated with Europe and to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius," said a statement from the EU Delegation in China. "Flights to and from China would account for less than 3 per cent of total aviation emissions covered by the EU system." Read more ...

Airlines making giant gains in efficiency
Daily Herald, Utah, USA, 5 July 2011 - Planes are being built out of the same lightweight materials used for Formula 1 race cars. Their engines are being redesigned to squeeze more thrust out of every gallon of fuel. And governments are developing air-traffic systems that will allow airlines to fly shorter routes. Those and other advances have positioned airlines for the biggest gains in fuel efficiency since the dawn of the jet age in 1958. For airlines, more efficient jets will reduce their biggest expense. For passengers, it means fares won't jump around as much with the price of oil. "We're seeing 25 years of improvements compressed into 10 years," says Hans Weber, President of TECOP International, an aviation consulting firm. Airlines' urgency to reduce fuel use is being driven by two trends: soaring oil prices and tougher environmental regulations. Read more ...

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to London...Southend
Huffington Post UK, 5 July 2011 - Given the UK government's blanket opposition to expansion at London’s three main airports, and their conscientiously-crafted green image, you'd be forgiven for believing that airport expansion is firmly off the table. Far from it. Campaigners won a landmark high-profile victory when they defeated the plans for a third runway at Heathrow, and it appeared environmentalists could claim a comprehensive triumph. However now, out of the media spotlight, regional airports are seizing the opportunity to grow at the expense of their more famous London rivals. With demand for flights increasing, regional airports are clamouring to market themselves as alternatives. Southend is the latest. According to Joe Ryle of Plane Stupid, which campaigns against airport expansion around Britain: "We have had a successful five-year battle. Now we have to focus on the regional airports, but the shift away from London has made it harder to motivate the media's attention." Read more ...

US airlines challenge European emissions rule
New York Times, 3 July 2011 - When the EU's highest court hears arguments that Europe should not charge American airlines for their carbon emissions, it will be a showdown between environmental protection and cold cash. Starting Jan 1, the union intends to expand its emissions trading system to cover emissions from most flights that touch down in, or take off from, European airports. That means even foreign airlines will have to buy some of their carbon permits from traders and European governments. Promoters of the change say the rules should lead airlines to speed up adoption of greener technologies. Many European governments say they will use the extra income to help offset spending on climate protection. But the plan has generated fierce opposition from airlines, many of them based outside Europe, that say that the union has no right to charge for emissions on routes that are mostly outside European airspace.  Read more ...

Airlines win approval to use plant-based biofuels on commercial flights
Bloomberg, 1 July 2011 - Airlines won final approval from a US-based technical standards group to power their planes with a blend made from traditional kerosene and biofuels derived from inedible plants and organic waste. "We're extremely pleased to see the approval of the first group of biofuels for aviation," Billy Glover, Boeing's Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy, said in an e-mail. "The ASTM Emerging Fuels Taskforce, co-led by Boeing and the FAA, worked for years to enable aviation to diversify its fuel sources and reduce our environmental footprint." Companies that may benefit from opening the $139 billion-a-year aviation fuel market include Neste Oil of Finland, US-based Solazyme and Honeywell's UOP unit. "This is an important milestone for the aviation industry and for biofuel producers that bet on drop-in fuels," said Roberto Rodriguez Labastida, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Read more ...

Europe and US in legal clash over airline emissions
Reuters, 1 July 2011 - US airlines will step up their campaign against EU climate policy next week, with a legal challenge at Europe's highest court to their inclusion in the EU carbon market. Airlines warn of a looming trade war, but the EU says it will not back down. The carriers say their emissions should only be tackled in United Nations bodies, such as ICAO. EU officials say the international talks at ICAO have dragged on since 1997 without bearing fruit and they can wait no longer to start dealing with airlines' emissions. "We have been patient for many years," said EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. "Global solutions? I'm all for it. The EU has been fighting for global solutions for many years - unfortunately, without enough success." EU lawyers will argue at the European Court of Justice that the EU only included aviation in its emissions scheme after receiving implicit approval from the UN body. Read more ...

Global maritime carbon deal dead in the water
EurActiv, Belgium, 30 June 2011 - EU officials believe that a global deal to cut maritime carbon emissions is currently unachievable and are instead talking up an initiative by the Bahamas to regulate the world's shipping fleets as an alternative. "We have nothing in the global [talks] and it is unrealistic to expect a MBM [Market-Based Measure] deal this year, next year, the year after, and maybe the year after that also," said one senior EU source. "On the other hand we have a political commitment to do something regionally if nothing happens globally," he said. Throughout 2011, the EU is consulting with stakeholders on policy alternatives, including bringing shipping into EU ETS, if no accord is reached. But as the Chinese airlines row rumbles on, there is little appetite for another spat in Brussels. "The aviation [dispute] shows us that this is probably not the right way to go because if it fails, what have we won beside bad blood and bitterness?" said one EU official. Read more ...

Aviation industry goes green
ChannelNewsAsia, Singapore, 29 June 2011 - Green aviation was a hot topic at the Paris Air Show this year. With volatile oil prices fuelling the need for alternative energy, several solutions were presented to tackle the environmental question. And Asia's largest aviation event next year, the Singapore Airshow, should deliver more answers. Making its debut in Paris was the Solar Impulse - powered by solar cells with zero emissions. "Our goal is not to make a revolution in aviation; our goal is to make a revolution in the mindset of the people when they think about renewable energies," said Bertrand Piccard of Solar Impulse. Some environmentalists said the biofuel business is green aviation's future. Read more ...

Biofuel boom in aviation
Big Think, USA, 29 June 2011 – Last week, a Boeing 747 made history by flying across the Atlantic with all four of its engines powered by hydroprocessed oil from camelina, a biofuels crop. The European airline carriers KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa, Germany's national carrier, also plan to use hydroprocessed oils as their biofuel source. European regulation limiting carbon emissions have increased demand for biofuels in the aviation industry. Are biofuels a realistic alternative for the aviation industry at a time with use of ethanol blends are being blamed for rising food prices worldwide? Yes they are, according to author Peter Fairley: "Camelina can be grown on wheat fields during periods when the fields would otherwise be left fallow, and thus shouldn't drive up food prices. And because the crop can be grown on existing fields, it can also avoid undesirable land use changes, such as the deforestation associated with palm oil cultivation in Southeast Asia." Read more ...

Aviation's ETS objections are baseless
Transport & Environment, Belgium, 21 June 2011 - In recent weeks a number of foreign airlines have been heard complaining about their inclusion from next year in Europe's emissions trading system (EU ETS), writes Jos Dings in a blog. "It was no coincidence that the collective moan emanated from the industry's annual gathering in Singapore. Nothing rallies the airline troops like a rant against environmental policy, and the journalists who had shown up in Singapore had to write about something. It was clear from the start that with the inclusion of aviation in EU ETS, Europe had taken a symbolic and politically important decision. By doing so, for the first time in history, it subjected international aviation to a climate policy. Aviation's environmental free ride will end in six months' time." Read more ...

Airports planning for a sustainable future
Airport Business, June 2011 - Faced with increasing energy costs, pressure from local residents, global warming and substantial incentives from local authorities, airports and airlines alike have a leading role to play in bringing about changes to working practices and mentalities. "The majority of airports have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to saving energy or implementing renewable energy projects," said Etienne Rouverand, head of sustainable design, ADPI. ACI Europe's Airport Carbon Accreditation has been developed as the carbon standard for airports; its purpose is to assess and recognise the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions with four levels of award. "Doing this is, therefore, clearly a self-evident condition for their necessary development. It allows them to embark on a virtuous course of growth, based on a controlled energy policy." Read more ...

EADS details near-hypersonic transport concept
Flightglobal, UK, 19 June 2011 - EADS has further detailed a concept for a ramjet-powered high-speed aircraft which would cruise at Mach 4 and cut the Tokyo-Los Angeles journey to as little as 2h 20min. It is undertaking a feasibility study into the zero-emission high-speed transport (ZEHST) concept, an aircraft which would sequentially use three different engines in order to make the transition to and from the near-hypersonic regime. The manufacturer maintains that a demonstrator would be possible post-2020, although EADS chief Louis Gallois stressed at a seminar that the company was emphasising its technological capabilities rather than launching a project. Read more ...

World Bank to suggest CO2 levy on jet and shipping fuel
Reuters Africa, 5 June 2011 – The World Bank will suggest a global levy on jet and shipping fuel in recommendations to G20 governments later this year on raising climate finance, said a senior official. Developed countries have already written off chances of agreement on a new binding deal at the UNFCCC conference in Durban this year, placing a new focus on piecemeal efforts including fund-raising. Binding targets under the Kyoto Protocol cap the greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 40 industrialised countries but expire in 2012 and now look unlikely to be extended in time. The World Bank is focusing on the levy in a report to G20 finance ministers in October, among other efforts to keep climate action on track. "We are looking at carbon emissions-based sources ... including bunker (shipping) fuels and aviation fuels, that would be internationally coordinated albeit nationally collected," said Andrew Steer, World Bank special envoy for climate change. Read more ...

Stand up to China today, or pay dearly tomorrow
Daily Telegraph, UK, 7 June 2011 – In this blog, the paper's former South Asia correspondent says there is no good logic as to why Chinese carriers - competing for the same well-heeled passengers on the same routes as, say, BA or other carriers - should be exempt from Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme, or why passengers who can afford to fly to Europe should not carry the costs of offsetting their own carbon emissions. "The [aviation] industry response to Chinese threats has, predictably, been to roll over. Airbus, whose business increasingly depends on China, and several other airlines have gone running to Brussels to warn them just how vindictive the Chinese can be. Even if a compromise is reached (allowing carriers to be exempt if they can show they're paying an equivalent fee at home) it will, in effect, be a victory for Chinese bullying." Read more ...

Scientists eye algae as fuel for airplanes
The Chronicle Herald, Canada, 1 June 2011 - Oceans are teeming with algae. So is every lake, river, stream and pond. Now researchers believe this lowly, plentiful organism can become a major source of fuel and may be a key to creating a greener planet. National Research Council Canada scientists are searching for ways to grow algae, also known as phytoplankton, on an industrial scale to produce fuel for airplanes. "The prize that our eye is on . . . is biojet (fuel)," said Patrick McGinn, a micro-algae specialist and the project's lead researcher. "We feel there is a greater likelihood of uptake of these technologies by the aviation industry." That's because, unlike ground transportation, planes cannot rely solely on electricity for power, he said. Read more ...

Airline manoeuvres intensify as EU cap on jet emissions looms
New York Times, USA, 31 May 2011 - While American airlines are heading to a court battle with the European Union over including their European flights in the European Union's carbon dioxide emissions cap-and-trade programme, their Chinese competitors are trying to fly under the regulatory radar by pushing for an exemption. The European Union is examining China's plan to cut domestic aviation carbon emissions to see if it qualifies Chinese airlines for an exemption from the EU Emissions Trading System. "The civil aviation authorities in China have announced that they are looking at cutting emissions by 20 per cent compared to business as usual by 2020," said Isaac Valero-Ladron, a spokesman for the European Commission. "We are looking at this as a possible equivalent measure, but it's still too early to say. We are very open. The definition of equivalent measures is a very flexible concept." Read more ...

German decision to scrap nuclear to add to airline carbon costs
OPIS, Sweden, 31 May 2011 - Germany's decision to phase out all its nuclear power plants by 2022 could add another 5 euros to the price of EU carbon allowances by 2020, according to analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. The move will likely increase Germany's carbon emissions by around 420 million metric tons from now until the end of phase three of the EU emission trading scheme, which runs from 2013 to 2020. Airlines are due to join the cap-and-trade market in 2012, and face a shortage of carbon allowances and credits from the outset. The sector will receive around 175 million EU allowances for free in 2012, but are estimated to emit around 265 million metric tons of carbon. In 2013, the amount of free EU allowances airlines will receive drops to 170 million. OPISs unique forward clean jet price for 2012, the price of buying jet fuel and the required carbon allowance to offset the emissions next year, rose to $1,145 a metric ton today, up nearly $22 on Friday. Read more ...

Lead emissions from avgas may lead to costly California lawsuits
AIN Online, USA, 30 May 2011 - The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has sent a notice of violation to oil companies and fuel supplier Avfuel, as well as to more than two dozen companies at 25 California airports, notifying them that they have been violating the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The warning serves 60-day notice that the CEH plans to file a lawsuit against each company unless it warns people near airports about the lead in avgas, stops using leaded avgas and pays a civil penalty for violating the California health and safety code. "It's not too far from extortion," said Jim Coyne, President of the National Air Transportation Association, which is mounting a campaign to fight the CEH notice and potential lawsuits. "There's little evidence that anyone's been able to produce, [showing] that the quantities of lead emissions by general aviation aircraft ever injured anybody." Read more ...

Solar plane is European 'dream bird', says EU commissioner
EurActiv, Belgium, 24 May 2011 - The first solar-powered aeroplane to fly day and night is being used to showcase renewable technology - chiefly of use to the electric car market - to EU policymakers during Green Week. The plane will be the centre of a flurry of attention during its stay in Brussels. It was launched with a dinner attended by Connie Hedegaard and Viviane Reding, EU commissioners for climate action and justice respectively. Pilot and co-founder Bertrand Piccard told the gathering: "Politicians need the same pioneering spirit as those in the aviation industry now more than ever, because the challenges facing us in terms of fossil fuel reliance are greater than ever." The Solar Impulse was likened by Reding to "the bird that represents the European dream".  Read more ...

Military and aviation industry outline need for sustainable biofuels
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), USA, 13 May 2011 - At BIO's World Congress in Toronto, Michael Lakeman of Boeing and Charles Fishel of Biojet Corp set forth small initial goals for including biofuels in the mix of aviation fuels. Lakeman envisioned a 1 per cent goal - 60 million gallons - for biofuel use by commercial airlines by 2015. As Fishel explained, the small goals are appropriate. The commercial airline industry needs low-cost fuels and so may not be able to compete for sustainable options produced by biotech companies, which will likely find it more attractive to fill low-volume, high-value chemical markets. Sustainable solutions such as algae must reach large-scale commercial production before they can begin to produce high-volume, low-value fuels at a competitive price. Read more ...

As jet fuel prices soar, a green option nears the runway
National Geographic, USA, 20 May 2011 - With high fuel costs buffeting airlines around the world, the best hope for alternative energy for commercial aviation may be on the horizon. The standards-setting body ASTM International is set to vote this summer on certification of hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuel. Tests both in the laboratory and in the air have shown that HRJ can be processed from many types of feedstock - from weedy plants to animal fat - to make a fuel chemically identical to the crude-oil based kerosene that powers flight today. Logistical challenges will dictate how many of the world's air passengers will be flying on biofuel, and how quickly. But there's no question that the gyrations of the global oil market this year have caused aviation companies and their passengers to think about the burden of petroleum dependence, and its impact on the cost of jet travel. Read more ...

IATA sees 10 airlines joining carbon scheme this year
Reuters, 6 May 2011 - Airlines are expected to start investing in projects this year that earn carbon credits under a UN scheme to help offset emissions, as Kenya Airways became the first African carrier to enlist. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is running a carbon offset programme under the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in which firms investing in such projects receive credits called certified emissions reductions. The global aviation body said there was a push for airlines to have carbon offset programmes because the industry's rapid expansion is likely to pose a climate change challenge. "Aviation is a growing market especially in the Asia region. That is why we have specific measures in place to neutralise those increases (in carbon emissions)," said Michael Schneider, IATA Assistant Director for carbon offsets. Read more ...

Majestic muck: Can pond scum revive airlines?
FoxBusiness, USA, 18 May 2011 - Many aviation and renewable-energy experts have expressed optimism that biofuels made from algae and certain plants will one day lessen airlines' dependency on petroleum, while lowering painfully high operating costs and increasing sustainability. The environmentally friendly oils have been studied intensely over the last few years and have met many stringent jet fuel regulations. Boeing officials are optimistic they will be approved for commercial use by the end of this year. "We now know that these fuels meet all the standards for gasoline, jet fuel and diesel," said Richard Sayre of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, who also serves as Chief Technology Officer of Phycal, an algae-fuel focused biotech company. "We are very optimistic [algae] will produce fuel for the aviation industry in particular." Read more ...

EU's aviation carbon control aims at emission reduction or just 'passage money'?
Xinhua News Agency, China, 17 May 2011 - EU's carbon emission control over the aviation industry has triggered a question in the international community: Is it aimed to promote carbon emission reduction or simply 'passage money'? Many developing countries believe the EU move violates the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities', one of the fundamental principles in the efforts to cut global carbon emissions, as the EU does not differentiate responsibilities between developing and developed countries. The money collected under the name of carbon emission regulation is not used for global carbon emission reduction, but goes to the EU pockets instead. The unilateral practice, which violates international rules and is unfair, is likely to induce counter measures on European airlines by other countries. Therefore, it is harmful to the development of the international aviation industry and to global emissions reduction.  Read more ...

Idling jets pollute more than thought, researchers find
Science News, USA, 12 May 2011 - Airports can pose a far bigger threat to local air than previously recognised, thanks to the transformative power of sunlight. In the first on-tarmac measurements of their kind, researchers have shown that oil droplets spewed by idling jet engines can turn into particles tiny enough to readily penetrate the lungs and brain. Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his team collected the pollution from a plane powered by one of the most common types of commercial jet engines as it operated at different loads. Though jet engines operating at full power produce mostly solid particles, at low engine loads - such as when a plane idles at the gate or on the runway - emissions are predominantly in the form of microscopic droplets.  Read more ...

Business aviation operators seek to reduce administrative burden of EU ETS
Flightglobal, UK, 11 May 2011 - Business aviation operators are calling for the threshold to qualify for using Eurocontrol's emissions trading scheme support facility to be raised in order to reduce administrative burden, as they brace themselves for a financial hit when their mandatory inclusion in the European Union's emissions trading scheme becomes a reality next year. The support facility allows certain business aviation operators to enter their emissions data into a spreadsheet that uses modelling to estimate fuel consumption, significantly reducing the administrative cost and effort of complying with ETS data submission requirements. However, at present only operators with fewer than 243 flights in three consecutive four-month periods, or annual CO2 emissions of less than 10,000t, are permitted to use it, something the European Business Aviation Association is seeking to change. Read more ...

Aviation carbon suit to stir trade tension at Durban talks, says IETA chief
Bloomberg, 16 May 2011 - A lawsuit by US airlines arguing against inclusion in the European Union carbon market probably will stir tension at this December's climate talks, said Henry Derwent, the International Emissions Trading Association president. US airlines are arguing in the European Court of Justice that the bloc's inclusion of carriers in the market starting next year exceeds its jurisdiction and amounts to an improper tax or charge. Chinese airlines' support of the suit shows developing nations are concerned new climate-related barriers and costs will hurt their exporters, said Derwent. Developing-nation concern "will be strengthened by a Commission win in the aviation court case," he said. Should the EU lose its court case it will look foolish at the Durban talks, Derwent said. "We are seeing unfolding before our eyes a very important part of the post-Kyoto world," he said. The court decision "will be a significant moment."  Read more ...

Camelina falling out of favour with Montana farmers
Billings Gazette, MT, USA, 22 Apr 2011 - Camelina, the biofuel that five years ago Gov. Brian Schweitzer called his new girlfriend, now struggles for a planting date with Montana farmers. "The biggest challenge of all is the price of wheat,” Schweitzer. With wheat prices historically high, there's no incentive to mess with an oilseed still relatively unproven as a cash crop. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that last year Montana farmers planted 9,400 acres of camelina, less than half the acres planted just two years ago. The oilseed has graded well as biofuel for the airline industry. The Air Force last month broke the speed of sound in an F-22 burning a 50-50 blend of camelina and regular jet fuel. But on the farm camelina is going nowhere fast. "It's price," said Logan Fisher, of Earl Fisher Biofuels in Chester. "Whatever a farmer can use his acres for to get the best price, that's what he's going to do." Read more ...

ATAG's Steele: Airline industry needs biofuel
ATW Online, USA, 5 May 2011 – Air Transport Action Group Executive Director Paul Steele said the airline industry failing to achieve its stated goal of a 1.5% improvement in fuel efficiency/carbon dioxide emissions annually through 2020 and CO2-neutral growth beyond 2020 would "destroy our credibility". But he cautioned that the development of economically viable biofuel is essential for the industry to achieve its environmental goals. Speaking at ATW's 4th Annual Eco-Aviation conference, Steele said: "Where we are now is at this huge tipping point between the technical certification [of biofuel for aviation], which hopefully will come in the next couple of months, and commercial production." He warned that air transport faces a "darker future" if biofuel production for aviation isn't up and running within three to five years. Read more ...

FAA and airlines continue attack on Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme
ATW Online, 5 May 2011 – US FAA and organisations representing airlines pushed back against aviation's inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme starting next year, arguing that it exceeds the EU's regulatory authority and will take money away from airlines that could instead be used to invest in new technology that could help lower carbon dioxide emissions. Speaking at ATW's 4th Annual Eco-Aviation conference, FAA Assistant Administrator-Policy, International Affairs and Environment Julie Oettinger said: "CO2 emissions are a global concern that calls for a global solution … The European Union continues to move forward unilaterally. I fear that [airlines' inclusion in the EU ETS] will be counterproductive. [Reducing CO2 emissions in aviation] demands a globally harmonized approach."  Read more ...

European biofuel dispute over land use change splits the industry
EurActiv, Belgium, 5 May 2011 – A divisive debate over the green credentials of biofuels has stalled investment and threatens the future of some producers, but could also create lucrative opportunities, according to European companies. After a two-year investigation, the European Commission has decided that the complex issue of 'indirect land use change' (ILUC) - or displaced deforestation - can lessen carbon savings from biofuels. In July it may announce moves to curb the least sustainable - possibly by raising an EU-wide sustainability benchmark. The EU's plans to create a $17 billion annual market for biofuels have been thrown into doubt by the battle over ILUC. "It has sent a lot of signals to investors that the policy environment is uncertain," Kare Riis Nielsen, head of EU affairs at Danish enzymes producer Novozymes said. "The whole industry is suffering from that." But the greenest 'next-generation' biofuels could benefit from the EU's review of biofuels strategy. Read more ...

UK hits aircraft operators with extra ETS admin fees
AINonline, USA, 2 May 2011 – Aircraft operators assigned to the UK for compliance with the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are already facing additional costs, even before the requirement to pay for carbon emissions begins in January 2012. The operators concerned are being assessed with so-called subsistence charges to cover administrative costs for ETS. Unlike most EU states, the UK is requiring its Environment Agency to recover these administrative costs in full and directly from operators. The UK also charged operators fees to register their ETS monitoring, reporting and verification plans. The Environment Agency bills all registered operators for subsistence fees on April 1 based on ETS-related emissions in the previous 12-month period.  Read more ...

Argentinean algae company confident its jet fuel will be ready soon
Flightglobal, UK, 19 Apr 2011 – An Argentinean company claims to be at the forefront of producing affordable jet fuel from microalgae, and is confident that its product will be widely available to the aviation industry "very soon". Biocombustibles del Chubut (BC) has developed a "simple and scaleable proprietary harvesting system," says company President Marcelo Machin. The company uses solar panels, wind and biomass by-products to generate the energy needed to grow the microalgae. "So when do we expect production of commercial quantities? Very soon," says Machin, adding that BC's 'Brazil' blend of algae-derived biofuel will soon undergo certification testing for aviation use in the USA. "You can expect that in less than two years it will be all over the market," he says. Read more ...

Lufthansa to start trading EU emission permits on European Energy Exchange
Bloomberg, 19 Apr 2011 - Deutsche Lufthansa, Europe’s second-biggest airline, will begin trading emission rights on the European Energy Exchange as it prepares to join the world’s largest greenhouse gas cap-and-trade programme. EEX, continental Europe’s biggest energy trading platform, said that it admitted Lufthansa as the first airline to trade European Union carbon dioxide permits directly on the spot and derivatives market on the exchange. Airlines will be the second-largest sector in the EU emissions-trading system, after power generators. Aviation joins next year with a carbon-dioxide limit of 213 million metric tons, falling to 208.5 million tons in 2013. Read more ...

Germany joins up with Lufthansa to sponsor biofuel six times worse than fossil fuels
The Ecologist, UK, 19 Apr 2011 - The German government is financing a leading European airline's biofuel trials despite claims from environmental groups it could cause emissions six time greater than fossil fuels. A total €2.5 million of government money is being ploughed into the six-month biofuel trial run by Lufthansa, who will be partly financing the €6.6 million project. Attempts are being made to source jatropha oil for biofuel test flights which aim "at reducing overall emissions in air traffic". However, environmental groups have raised concerns over the use of jatropha as a biofuel crop. A recent report by ActionAid and RSPB found that the development of jatropha plantations would produce 2.5 to six times more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. "Jatropha is far from the 'sustainable' fuel that it is made out to be by the aviation industry. In fact, it could end up increasing carbon emissions," says Tim Rice, ActionAid's biofuels expert. Read more ...

Turning the blue sky green - American's onboard recycling efforts
NBC, USA, 18 Apr 2011 – American Airlines is doing some surprising things to recycle and reuse. Windows, magazines, carpet, pillows and blankets are all targets of American Airlines' massive effort to recycle and reuse. As a coordinator of the airline's on-board recycling efforts, flight attendant Lisa Lonvick has helped the airline gather up tons upon tons of recyclable material. She gives new life to things that have hit the end of the road in the air. Last year alone, American recycled more than 1 million pounds of airline magazines. Plastic windows were melted into pellets and turned into toys. Ninety-six-thousand pounds of unused customs forms were converted to recycled paper. Pillows and blankets went to homeless shelters for another round of use. But perhaps the biggest impact of all can be seen in the drink carts. Last year, flight attendants gathered up more than 15 million aluminium cans. Read more ...

NASA: Green airliner achievable by 2025
Aviation Week, USA, 15 Apr 2011 - Aircraft makers are banking on a raft of emerging technologies to make their next-generation airliners quieter, more fuel efficient and lower on emissions. In the US, the research effort is spearheaded by NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) programme, which is exploring a suite of airframe and propulsion technologies that could be ripe for full-scale development around 2020 and entry into service five years later. Given the growing environmental pressures on aviation in the 21st century, the ERA goals are suitably ambitious for potential products aimed 15 or so years into the future. Although the ERA targets are individually challenging, what sets them apart from many previous NASA research projects is that they are expected to be met simultaneously and without compromise. "It's quite a challenge, and people are asking how we are going to do this," says ERA Project Manager Fayette Collier. "We've done some experiments that lead us to believe that although this is difficult, we think it is achievable."  Read more ...

Airports and neighbourhoods prepare for Boeing’s massive new 747 freighter
Kansas City Star, USA, 12 Apr 2011 - The biggest version yet of Boeing's iconic 747 could soon be flying into airports that have never seen aircraft that large, raising hackles among some airport neighbours. Medium-size airports in Toledo, Ohio; Rockford, Ill., and Huntsville, Ala. are among those asking the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to receive the massive 747-8 freighter. Boeing expects to deliver the first planes to customers later this year. The airports are eager to grab a share of the air cargo market, which is growing faster than passenger traffic as the economy recovers. But some residents feel threatened by the big cargo planes currently flying over their homes and doubt Boeing's claims that the new 747 won't be as noisy. The 747-8 has a wingspan 11 feet wider and a body 18 feet longer than the current 747-400 model. Despite its size, Boeing says the 747-8 will be 30 per cent quieter. Read more ...

European pollution regulations face challenge from US airlines
New York Times, 10 Apr 2011 - Ships and planes that belch greenhouse gases in Asia and North America could affect the climate in Europe as severely as in some other parts of the world. So does that give the European Union the right to regulate the emissions from airlines and shippers using its ports and airports? The answer may partly rest on a lawsuit brought by Air Transport Association of America and by three major airlines. The airlines filed their case in late 2009, at the High Court in London, against the extension of the EU Emissions Trading System to most international flights landing in and taking off from European airports. The court then referred the case nearly a year ago to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for a preliminary ruling. Any verdict in favour of the airlines, which claim that the move by the EU breaches international conventions and laws, has the potential to undermine the initiative because EU regulators and European airlines say participation by foreign carriers is critical.  Read more ...

EU's airline emission goals under scrutiny
EurActiv, Belgium, 4 Apr 2011 - When the European Commission unveiled plans to slash transport CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 last week, many assumed the figure would apply to road, rail and air travel in the same way. But the cut for aviation is only 34 per cent, a target both environmentalists and industry sources say is unrealistic. The EC's White Paper on transport, unveiled last week, sets out broad environmental targets for 2050 but does not break down the expected pollution cuts by sector. Sandro Santamato, head of the alternative fuel policy unit at the Commission's transport department, said "CO2 emissions from aviation will not decrease by 60 per cent but by only 34 per cent between 2005 and 2050." Other transport sectors will be measured against a 1990 baseline but in the 15 years to 2005, air emissions soared by some 81 per cent. So the 2050 figure should be more easily achieved for airlines. Read more ...

Welcome back carbon?
Air Transport World, USA, 1 Apr 2011 - Absent major advances in wind and solar technology, the role of fossil fuels in powering the world economy will grow, not shrink, over the coming decades notwithstanding concerns about global warming. The implications for the airline industry are unclear, but it would not be wise to assume that pressure to become greener will ease as this reality sets in. Instead, as it becomes apparent that petroleum, natural gas and coal will be the primary energy sources of the foreseeable future, efforts to reduce their environmental impact only will intensify and airlines already are a major focal point of those efforts. They could take the shape of higher fees and taxes and/or a reduction in the number of free carbon credits allocated in carbon trading programmes. Down the road, it is not inconceivable that they could lead to flight restrictions or rationing. So the air transport industry needs to double down on its pursuit of energy alternatives, primarily biofuels at this stage. Read more ...

Mayrhuber urges teamwork to make aviation more sustainable
FlightGlobal, UK, 31 Mar 2011 - Former Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber has called on European aviation industry stakeholders and policy makers to work closer together to make air transport more efficient and to focus on sustainability as a means to maintain the region's lead as an aerospace location. Biofuels are central to making aviation more sustainable, provided they are technically suitable as jet fuel, bring an ecological benefit and are commercially scaleable, he says. While recognising various initiatives across the aviation field, he says these "pockets of investment and innovation" need to be eventually brought together to have an impact on the industry as a whole. This would require the political will to consolidate the existing information as well as incentives to introduce biofuels into aviation. Read more ...

Aircraft contrails stoke warming, cloud formation
Reuters, 29 Mar 2011 - Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers' first flight in 1903, says a study by experts at the DLR German Aerospace Center. It indicated that contrails have big knock-on effects by adding to the formation of high-altitude, heat-trapping cirrus clouds as the lines break up. The experts estimated that the net warming effect for the Earth of contrails and related cirrus clouds at any one time was 31 milliwatts per square metre, more than the warming effect of accumulated CO2 from aviation of 28 milliwatts. Read more ...

Aviation may be biofuels' killer app
InvestorPlace, USA, 29 Mar 2011 - Lost amid Japan's tragic events and continuing unrest in the Middle East was news of a significant breakthrough in aviation technology. As Military & Aerospace Electronics reported, a US Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft, "powered by a 50/50 fuel blend of conventional petroleum-based JP-8 and biofuel derived from camelina", broke the sound barrier, achieving a speed of Mach 1.5 and proving the utility of biofuels for military aviation. While the military may see biofuels as a way of guaranteeing supply in times of crises, commercial aviation likely sees them as a way to control costs. As National Defense Business and Technology, noted recently, "Fuel is the aviation industry's second largest expense, after labour." With that as an incentive, aviation fuel could become the killer app which helps fledgling biofuel makers achieve the economies of scale they need to reward investors. Read more ...

Boeing: Biofuels 'vital' to airlines' carbon pledge
EurActiv, Belgium, 14 Mar 2011 - For US plane manufacturer Boeing, biofuels will be key to achieving the airlines' pledges on carbon-neutral growth. "Without biofuels we cannot get there. It is a vital contribution," said Antonio De Palmas, Boeing's President for EU and NATO relations. It was difficult to assess their contribution but "certainly more than a double-digit figure," he said. "However, the priority now is commercialisation and availability. We need a comprehensive policy approach to aviation biofuels that includes R&D but also tangible measures that recognise the critical role of aviation biofuels to decarbonise our transport and also supports the take-off of this important emerging market for Europe. The other point I want to make, and this is an important one – aviation is a global business which needs a global approach. And also when it comes to sustainability, we need harmonised standards that can be enforced across the world. With aviation biofuels, the biggest risk is to have a patchwork type of standard that would certainly inhibit the development of an aviation biofuels market in Europe and worldwide." Read more ...

When waiting saves time - study says keeping planes at gate increases efficiency
Boston Globe, USA, 10 Mar 2011 - Working with air traffic controllers in Boston, a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that holding planes for an average of four minutes longer at the gate - instead of having them line up like dominoes on the runway - reduced taxi times by 20 per cent and cut fuel consumption by up to 20 gallons per plane without increasing flight delays. The study, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, could eventually be used to create a tool that tells air traffic controllers across the nation when planes should leave the gate. This could have big implications for the environment, for travellers and for airlines, which are grappling with skyrocketing fuel costs. Read more ...

Airline industry last in line to sign up for algae fuel: Sapphire CEO
Flight International, UK, 11 Mar 2011 - One or two pioneering airlines may begin using jet fuel derived from algae and use it to create a competitive advantage in the nearer term, but the commercial airline industry as a whole will be last in line to sign up as a customer for this type of fuel, predicts the chief executive of US renewable jet fuel producer Sapphire Energy. "[Airlines] don't engage in long-term contracting and they're quite prickly about pricing," says Jason Pyle. "They want green jet fuel but they don't want to pay for it. They don't consume a lot of product as individuals, and airports as fuel purchasers are very difficult to deal with." Read more ...

Plane truths: How to build greener planes that airlines will actually want to fly
The Economist, UK, 11 Mar 2011 - Two groups working on the future of aircraft have come up with designs that could meet the practical needs of the industry and still cut fuel consumption by half. These researchers, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Imperial College, London, rely largely on existing technologies for many of their designs. If a B737-800 was morphed into the shape of one of the aircraft on which Mark Drela is experimenting in MIT's wind tunnel, then it would be about the same size, could fly the same routes and would carry a similar number of passengers. But the D8.1 version (which could be built conventionally, from aluminium) would use 49% less fuel. The D8.5 (similar, but constructed from composite materials expected to be available by 2035) would burn 71% less. At Imperial College, Varnavas Serghides has come up with a number of designs for lighter planes with less drag that therefore need smaller engines that burn less fuel. Read more ...

Aviation industry's role in finding renewable fuels
Environmental Leader, USA, 3 Mar 2011 - The aviation industry is playing a leading role in the search for renewable fuels that will not adversely affect human food supplies, according to Susan Pond, adjunct professor of the Dow Sustainability Program at the US Studies Centre. In a video recorded during the Australian International Airshow, Dr Pond says government policy is critical to supporting research and development into alternative fuels, and contends that even without a carbon tax Australia's aviation industry is heavily involved in renewable energy road-mapping. Read more ...

Plane spotters and bubble blowers wanted for climate survey
The Guardian, UK, 3 Mar 2011 - The UK public are being asked to blow bubbles and spot plane trails as part of a new national survey on the climate. The research, led by scientists at the Met Office and the Royal Meteorological Society, will look at various aspects of how humans are affecting the climate, and how people may adapt to rising temperatures. People are being asked to look out for aeroplane trails, or contrails, which may be contributing to climate change and which can only be recorded by the human eye. Researchers are also urging schoolchildren to blow bubbles to measure wind speed and direction near the ground, to reveal how the built environment affects the wind, as well as watching cloud movement to record wind direction in the sky. Read more ...

House OKs testing of forest biomass as jet fuel
Seattlepi.com, USA, 22 Feb 2011 - The state House of Representatives has approved a Department of Natural Resources' request to test whether forest biomass could be a viable source of aviation fuel. House lawmakers approved a bill calling for a demonstration project on using forest biomass - plant or tree material produced by forest growth - as a renewable energy source. Lawmakers say four biomass projects are already under way. Prime sponsor Rep. Derek Stanford of Bothell says this bill will help Washington lead the way in aviation biofuel production and will help advance a critical area of technology: renewable energy. (Read GreenAir Online article for details on project). Read more ...

Due diligence: how to evaluate a renewable energy technology
Consumer Energy Report, USA, 21 Feb 2011 - When you read a biofuel technology story, how do you separate fact from fiction and wishful thinking from reality? Renewable energy blogger Robert Rapier provides some useful advice. "I try to be cautious until I have peeled the onion a bit. There are technologies with real potential, and just because a company hypes their technology doesn't mean it won't work. So my opinion on technologies that I haven't particularly studied will tend to be general and conservative. But let's say you are interested in becoming a stakeholder in the process. You could be a private investor, a government entity, or you could be someone from the media. That requires quite a different level of investigation than rendering an opinion based on a press release, and many people don't know where to start. In my own experience, perhaps 90 per cent of the stories you see promoting various technologies are at least exaggerated." Read more ...

Airport's planned solar farm would be the largest in the state
Indystar.com, USA, 19 Feb 2011 - The warm rays of the sun may be the next big thing to make money for Indianapolis International Airport. The airport is looking for a developer to build what would be the largest solar energy farm in the state on 30 acres of airport-owned land near the end of a runway. It would generate 10 megawatts of electricity an hour - enough to power up to 6,000 homes - and that electricity would be sold to Indianapolis Power & Light. The airport would make money by leasing the property to a company that would build and operate the array of thousands of solar panels. The airport's solar farm would send a highly visible message of public support for renewable energy, said Mark Hedegard, the airport's senior business development director. Read more ...

EU court backs fines for excessive airline noise
Reuters, 17 Feb 2011 - European Union member states are entitled to penalise airlines that make too much noise in built-up areas near airports, said a top adviser to the EU's highest court. Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalon wrote in a non-binding opinion that EU rules on maximum noise levels and operating restrictions do not prevent member states from imposing their own penalties if airlines make too much noise, as measured on the ground. DHL group's European Air Transport airline had asked the court to reject a fine imposed in Belgium for excessive night-time noise made by its aircraft. But the court adviser found the Belgian regulations did not constitute operating restrictions that prevent access to an airport, they simply imposed penalties if maximum noise levels were exceeded. Read more ...

EU wants 60 per cent transport carbon cut by 2050, draft will say
Reuters, 16 Feb 2011 - The European Union's executive Commission will call for a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050, in a draft paper to be published in the summer, said an EU official. The proposed transport targets are based on an existing EU goal to cut the bloc's GHG emissions by about 80 per cent by the middle of the century. "If we're going to achieve these targets, the transport system must cut its emissions by 60 per cent below 1990 levels," said Kyriakos Maniatis, who is responsible for technical biofuel issues at the directorate general for energy at the European Commission. Aviation would depend on synthetic kerosene, produced from solid biomass using the Fischer-Tropsch process, or else biodiesel made from vegetable oils.  Read more ...

Alaska Air chief calls for more cooperation between industry and the FAA
Aviation Week, USA, 15 Feb 2011 - Alaska Air Group CEO Ayer believes a plan to implement Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures at the operator's Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub can convince critics of the benefits of FAA's NextGen programme. The RNP plan, dubbed Greener Skies, is a joint effort launched in July 2009 by Alaska Air, Boeing, the Port of Seattle and the FAA. The project, according to Ayer, will reduce emissions by 22,000 metric tons a year, as well as noise levels, through rerouted approaches with the introduction of RNP at each runway end. "It seems like the term NextGen is used for a lot of things, and its lack of specificity creates some confusion and some naysayers within the aviation community," noted Ayer during a keynote speech. "We view NextGen as the smart deployment of technology to reduce delays and congestion, and importantly, to reduce fuel burn, noise levels and emissions." Read more ...

Boeing hopes aviation biofuel market-ready by 2015
Washington Examiner, USA, 14 Feb 2011 - Boeing hopes aviation biofuels will be practical for the market by around 2015, but it's going to take a lot of work. Richard Wynne, Boeing Commercial Airplane's Director of Environment and Aviation Policy, said the company is working with others throughout the industry towards having 1 per cent of all aviation fuel come from non-petroleum sources by then. While that might sound like a small amount, Wynne said it's about 16 million gallons - roughly what Seattle-Tacoma International Airport uses each year. Many different sources and processes for the fuels will be needed, he said, not just to meet demand but so that airports around the world have a nearby source of fuel that can be had at a competitive price. Read more ...

Humans with antlers - why we're wired for extinction
OnEarth, USA, 9 Feb 2011 - Why aren't we more alarmed about climate change? Psychologist Andrew Shatté, a professor at the University of Arizona, believes we are hardwired for extinction. He compares us to the Irish elk, which went extinct about 11,000 years ago. The male of that species evolved to grow antlers too big to survive. So why are we like the Irish elk? The problem is the human brain, Shatté says. Our evolutionary development has not yet caught up with the change in our circumstances. More specifically, the problem is our brain's fear triggers. Our instincts are still paleolithic; our fear reflexes respond to all the wrong things. They lie dormant in the face of climate change, no matter how ominously scientists predict its probable consequences. Concern about climate change has diminished almost everywhere in the past year, in inverse proportion to the gravity of the warnings from mainstream scientists. But alarm in the United States remains much lower than in any other developed country. Read more ...

Biofuels: Off into the wild, green yonder
The Economist, UK, 1 Feb 2011 - Spooked by the spike in oil prices in 2008 and warily eyeing the latest spurt in fuel charges, airlines have noted that the costs of not going green are growing. In particular, they fret about the painful levies on carbon-spouting planes to be imposed under the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme. Little wonder, then, that the queue of carriers hopping on the biofuel bandwagon is growing. Lufthansa, Ryanair and Easyjet are only the latest reported to be seeking a deal with Solena, an American producer of aviation biofuels. Industrial lobby group IATA reckons biofuels could account for 6 per cent of all aircraft fuel by 2020, reducing carbon emissions by over 4 per cent, or more than 20m tonnes, from current levels. The technology does not come cheap. IATA predicts that an investment of $10 billion-15 billion will be needed to reach the 2020 target. Read more ...

Energy markets: Lufthansa, Delta jockey for free carbon permits
Bloomberg, USA, 28 Jan 2011 - The biggest expansion of Europe's carbon market is pitting Lufthansa against Japan Airlines and Delta Air Lines in a contest for free permits as traders struggle against computer hackers. Airlines serving the European Union face caps on their greenhouse gas emissions starting next year, when they join almost 12,000 factories and power stations in the world's largest carbon market. The EU regulator, which pushed back an August 2009 deadline for setting the limits, said January 18 it needs more time to verify airline emissions data and "respond to questions raised by the industry". The European Commission, already contending with an unrelated halt to spot CO2 trading because of hacking attacks, faces criticism from airlines over the way it plans to allocate a limited supply of free permits. The EU decided in 2008 to hand out permits for this decade based on the efficiency of carriers in 2010, a year when fuel prices surged and Icelandic volcano ash, freezing weather and labour strikes disrupted travel.  Read more ...

Alternative fuels don't benefit the military, a RAND report says
New York Times, USA, 25 Jan 2011 - The United States would derive no meaningful military benefit from increased use of alternative fuels, according to a government-commissioned study by the RAND Corporation. The report also argued that most alternative fuel technologies were unproven, too expensive or too far from commercial scale to meet the military's needs over the next decade. In particular, the report argued that the Defense Department was spending too much time and money exploring experimental biofuels derived from sources like algae or the flowering plant camelina, and that more focus should be placed on energy efficiency as a way of combating greenhouse gas emissions. RAND's conclusions drew swift criticism from some branches of the military - particularly the Navy, which has been leading the foray into advanced algae-based fuels. The Air Force is engaged in extensive testing of biofuel blends in its aircraft, and the Navy received 20,000 gallons of algae-based fuel for testing and certification from the California company Solazyme last summer. Read more ...

Green groups warn new London airport plan is not fit for take-off
BusinessGreen, UK, 18 Jan 2011 - London mayor Boris Johnson has drawn the ire of green groups by backing a report calling for a brand new airport in south-east England. Johnson said the report showed that London's economy would suffer without a new aviation hub. The report concluded that Heathrow had fallen from second in 1990 to seventh in 2010 in the league tables of destinations served by international airports. Jenny Bates, London campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said Johnson had broken his promise to make London the greenest city in the world. "This airport would have a massive impact on local communities and wildlife, and completely undermine efforts to tackle climate change." Read more ...

How we'll fly in 2025 - NASA's vision
CNNGo, Asia, 17 Jan 2011 - NASA has begun testing revolutionary passenger aircraft set to take flight in 2025 that are faster and greener than existing models. In late 2010, NASA contracted three design teams from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and The Boeing Company to work on the models for the rest of 2011. The three teams have already released artist conceptions of what the planes look like, including one by Boeing that's a dead ringer for the stealth bomber, and another that has the engine perched at the back. The designs will fly up to 85 per cent of the speed of sound, cover a range of approximately 7,000 miles and carry between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds of passenger or cargo payload.  Read more ...

The growth of aviation biofuels
4Hoteliers, USA, 14 Jan 2011 - According to IATA, biofuels offer the greatest hope for aviation to reduce its carbon emissions, and savings of up to 80 per cent are on the table if the industry can get it right. However if airlines wait until the price is right and commercial quantities are available, biofuels might never happen. There are tough challenges to overcome: aside from technical issues, biofuels must be competitive in price and available in quantity. But the difficulties that appear to be holding them back may also contain the solutions necessary to drive biofuels forward. "Biofuels represent one of the most promising means for the industry to reduce its carbon footprint," says Paul Steele, IATA Aviation Environment Director. "But it's not only about emissions." Read more ...

Aviation biofuels: real or green fantasy?
AVwebinsider, USA, 16 Jan 2011 – "Sometimes, the more you learn about a thing, the more information you gather and the more people you talk to about a specific topic, the harder it is judge," writes blogger Paul Bertorelli. "That's definitely the case with aviation biofuels which are, in a sense, leading the charge towards a greener, bio-based fuel economy. I have pored over dozens of reports, research presentations, studies and news articles on this topic and conducted a number of interviews. The impression I get is of an industry operating on an underlying assumption that biofuels are an inevitability. The typical headline reports on some new development or milestone that's been achieved, but down in the body of the story, you rarely see the offsetting qualifier noting that the entire edifice isn't out of the R&D phase yet. There's a strong tendency to green wash everything, including editorial coverage. When you ask, "how much," people stop talking." Read more ...

Dismantling company finds innovative ways of reusing scrapped aircraft materials
Flight International, UK, 12 Jan 2011 - UK based P3 Aviation, which started life in 2004 primarily as a aircraft components supplier, is also aiming to capitalise on the growing market for dismantling and recycling airliners. To address the fact that the book value of an aircraft is much greater to its owner than its market value, the company has devised a programme that enables airlines and lessors to consign unwanted aircraft for dismantling over a 12- to 24-month period. P3 Aviation, a member of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, dismantled seven aircraft in 2010. It aims to increase this to 10 aircraft in 2011, but plans to remain "deliberately small" for now. Read more ...

Biofuels developers get a taste for waste
Biofuels Digest, USA, 10 Jan 2011 - The partnership between Solena and Qantas - which will investigate the prospects for a waste-based Fischer-Tropsch processing plant in Australia to produce aviation jet fuel - elicited a strong commentary from the publication's readership on the potential for Fischer-Tropsch technologies and municipal solid waste (MSW). According to Biofuels Digest, "MSW is hot. No matter how you feel about jatropha, algae, forest waste, agricultural residues, beef tallow or dedicated energy crops - and they all have their advantages in carbon, scale or cost - there's just nothing that is nearly as sustainable, affordable, reliable and available. For near-term, small-scale projects, think MSW and other negative-cost feedstocks. But at scale, biofuels will require broader sources, and can be expected (with affordable capital costs) to make low-cost feedstocks work as well as negative-cost feedstocks." Read more ...

BA, Rolls-Royce ramp up biofuel effort
Aviation Week, USA, 10 Jan 2011 - British Airways and Rolls-Royce will begin work on validating 10 different alternative fuel programmes this year, with the hope of completing work on the initiative by early 2012.nThe two last year launched a new call to fuel suppliers to provide 60,000 litres of fuel for testing. A similar initiative failed due to a lack of response, but this time 17 suppliers responded saying they could meet the criteria, BA CEO Willie Walsh told an Imperial College London green aviation forum. The airline and Rolls will examine 10 of those in a laboratory environment in the next few months, with rig tests of about five fuels due in the second quarter, followed by full engine tests using two fuels in the second half. Walsh notes that the progress made in biofuels in recent years suggests they can contribute more than first thought in terms of helping airlines reduce their CO2 emissions. "I've become much more excited" about the prospect of such fuels, he notes. Read more ...

Forecast for 2011: Turning on to biofuels
Flight International, UK, 4 Jan 2011 - Securing enough investment to scale up the production of biofuels for use in commercial aviation hinges on the authorisation of such fuels by certificating body ASTM International. This approval was expected in mid-December, but the anticipated date for authorisation has slipped to the first quarter of 2011. Richard Altman, Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, describes 2011 as a "critical year" for initial investment in production programmes aimed at scaling up feedstock availability to commercially viable levels. Read more ...

$3 billion for green aviation research?
Daily Press Hampton News, VA, USA, 21 Dec 2010 - US Senator Mark Warner is spearheading a potential multibillion-dollar endeavour to make Hampton Roads, Virginia, a leader in the emerging field of green aviation. The effort, which would draw on the region's rich history of aeronautics research, is in its initial stages of development, said Warner. Preliminary plans include tapping NASA Langley Research Center and partner organisations, such as the National Institute of Aerospace and Science and Technology, all of which are based in Hampton. Often overshadowed by space exploration, aeronautics is one of NASA's core missions. Funding for the field has flatlined in recent years as NASA focused on returning astronauts to the moon. The trend is reversing somewhat because President Barack Obama scrapped the moon mission and plans modest funding increases for aeronautics to include green aviation research. Read more ...

A push to make air travel more environmentally friendly
San Jose Mercury News, USA, 15 Dec 2010 - More than 43 million Americans are expected to fly over the winter holidays, and among them will be many conflicted eco-conscious travellers. Airplanes release huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. For reluctant fliers, the recession has brought a bit of good news. It has pushed airlines to find ways to save money on jet fuel, by far their largest operating expense. That's led to scores of initiatives to make planes more fuel-efficient, from investing in biofuels, to using just one engine to taxi as they prepare for takeoff, to switching to lighter seats, meal carts and carpets to reduce the weight in the cabin. Read more ...

Aviation escapes proposed new tax as UN climate talks end
Flight International, UK, 13 Dec 2010 - Climate change negotiations in Cancun have concluded without the imposition of a proposed levy on the aviation industry, but with a greater recognition of ICAO's role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the sector. In the run-up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) 16th conference of parties (COP16) there were expectations that a high-level advisory group on climate change financing would recommend an aviation tax to fund initiatives to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change. However, while COP16 agreed to establish a Green Climate Fund, aviation was not specifically mentioned as a potential source of funds. Read more ...

Airline industry emerges from COP 16 meetings with ICAO recognition, no green tax
Air Transport World, USA, 13 Dec 2010 - UNFCCC climate talks in Cancun (COP16) ended with ICAO firmly established as the proper forum for addressing aviation's role and responsibilities regarding emissions, according to air transport industry officials attending the event. In a clear sign of this development, aviation was not mentioned in the agreement that emerged from the meeting. As had been anticipated, COP16 created a Green Climate Fund intended to provide financial aid to developing countries coping with the impact of climate change. A global green tax on international aviation had been suggested as a source of funds, raising $3 billion per annum, but aviation was not mentioned in the agreement to establish the fund. Read more ...

COP 16 campaign may delay airline industry GHG restrictions
Environmental Leader, USA, 3 Dec 2010 - The global airline industry is using political and marketing muscle to push UN leaders to establish a sectoral approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On day two of COP16, the UN Secretariat laid out the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) comprehensive resolution on aviation and climate change. The group hopes to formulate a CO2 standard by 2013. The International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 global airlines, is urging governments to keep focused on a global treaty rather than regional approaches and to "take advantage of aviation's role as an economic catalyst rather than using the industry as a cash cow source of funding." To appeal to delegates directly, the group conducted a "50 percent off" marketing campaign to promote its own strategy to halve emissions by 2050. Read more ...

Hydrotreated renewable jet fuel close to certification but scale-up challenges remain
Flight International, UK, 23 Nov 2010 - Commercial production of jet biofuels could soon find authorization under fuel specification amendments being considered by certificating body ASTM International. Enormous investments and economies of scale are far behind testing that consistently confirms the safety and performance of hydro¬treated renewable jet (HRJ) fuel, a term used to describe any feedstock or process that leads to fuel that is chemically identical to crude oil-based kerosene. Fresh test reports supporting a new ballot to revise ASTM D7566-09 and allow HRJ production are being examined by the 160 members of ASTM International Committee D02's Subcommittee J. Negative responses are not expected after seven negatives led to the withdrawal of a similar ballot in June. Those objections were no surprise, with engine manufacturers already asking for safety and performance tests that are now complete. Read more ...

Emissions trading: spectre of EU ban looms for lax airlines
Flight International, UK, 9 Dec 2010 – Airlines that fail to fully comply with the European Union's emissions trading scheme when it expands to include aviation in 2012 could be banned from taking off and landing in Europe, according to a draft European Commission regulation document obtained by Flight International. The document says that national enforcement measures taken by EU member states "may not be sufficiently effective to ensure compliance by an aircraft operator with its obligations" under the ETS. In these circumstances "an operating ban applied across the EU may be the only means to ensure effective compliance". Read more ...

EU carbon price to rise 49 percent next year, predicts analysts
BusinessGreen, UK, 8 Dec 2010 - The price of a tonne of carbon in the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) will rise by around 50 percent next year as energy companies attempt to hoard carbon credits ahead of the launch of the next phase of the scheme in 2013. That is the conclusion of the latest forecast from analysts firm Point Carbon, which predicts the price of EU allowances (EUAs) will rise from €14.78 currently to an average price for next year of €22 a tonne. The report also predicts the price will then rise again in 2012 to €25 a tonne before the third phase of the ETS kicks off in 2013 and prices begin to rise steadily as a result of the tightening emissions cap imposed by Brussels. Point Carbon predicts that by the end of the next phase of the scheme in 2020 the average carbon price will reach €36 a tonne. However, says Point Carbon, the price projections are based on a set of assumptions and the market was likely to continue to experience considerable price volatility over the next two years. Read more ...

Cancun: Richard Branson calls for global carbon taxes
The Guardian, UK, 6 Dec 2010 - Branson, in Cancún to launch a web-based initiative to reduce shipping emissions by as much as 25% over the next 20 years, said taxes could be useful. "[Carbon] taxes are fine if they are global. Everyone must be in the same boat. We would welcome it if they were done equitably, across the board and as long as it's not just airlines. Everyone must share the burden." Branson said that Virgin planes could fly on biofuels within three to five years. "The biggest prize has to be clean fuel. We are investing 100% of our profits from aviation into fuel research. We are perhaps three to five years away." He said Virgin had considered slowing planes down to save fuel. "But it actually uses more fuel." He said that a combination of ideas such as retrofitting planes with winglets, rationalizing air traffic control in Europe to reduce planes' waiting time to land and making planes lighter by using carbon fibre could reduce emissions significantly. Read more ...

Deadline looms for EU verified emission report
Aviation International News, USA, 1 Dec 2010 – With less than four months to go before the March 31 deadline for aircraft operators to submit independently verified emissions reports for the EU ETS, there is still widespread confusion as to how the verification process will work for many in the business aviation sector. European authorities continue to be slow in approving the independent verification companies needed to complete the task and the industry is still awaiting a final European Commission ruling as to whether costly site visits will be required to complete verification for the so-called smaller emitters. Questions as to whether site visits are required will probably be resolved only when the EC approves the final version of Eurocontrol's ETS Support Facility (covering the process for small emitters). This has been expected for many months and should be issued before year-end.  Read more ...

Hydrogen should take priority over biofuel in aviation: WWF
Flight International, UK, 30 Nov 2010 - The aviation industry should focus research and development programmes on liquid hydrogen rather than third-generation biofuels in the quest to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to World Wildlife Fund director for global energy policy Stephan Singer. Speaking at a roundtable on environmental issues at the European Parliament in Brussels - part of the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe's (ASD) Aeroweek conference - Singer said liquid hydrogen and algae-derived biofuels should be the focus of investment over other alternative fuels because they are less likely to interfere with land used for food production. Read more ...

Europe's Aviation ETS: blame it on the 'Taliban'
Orient Aviation, Hong Kong, Dec 2010 - When outgoing Singapore Airlines (SIA) Chief Executive, Chew Choon Seng, told European Parliament member, Brian Simpson, that Europe's emissions trading scheme (ETS), set to be introduced in 2012, is discriminatory and disadvantages Asia-Pacific airlines, the SIA boss received a rare insight into the divisions that exist in Europe's corridors of power. "I agree with you," said Simpson, who is chairman of the parliament's powerful transport and tourism committee. However, he told airline chiefs at a conference, the ETS was not in his remit: "ETS is in the remit of our environment committee, affectionately known by the transport committee as the Taliban committee." According to Simpson, the environment committee originally wanted an ETS based on 100% auctioning, where airlines would have to purchase enough permits to cover all their emissions. "We managed to drag them back, but the environment committee is coming back now and saying we need to review the ETS to reintroduce the 100%. We are still at the moment, unofficially, trying to get them to forget that idea." Read more ...

Aviation's lesson for Cancun: the real thing?
National Journal, USA, 29 Nov 2010 - A matter as critical as climate change, which actually is a broader dialogue about sustainability (the balancing of economic, social and environmental needs), must be grounded first in reality, blogs Nancy Young, Vice President Environmental Affairs for the Air Transport Association. "If the Cancun talks are so grounded, the broader climate talks may make real, meaningful progress," she writes. "Perhaps the tremendous progress we have made in international aviation can suggest a way forward." Although climate negotiators in Cancun have a broader array of issues, industries and climate instruments to address, she says the route taken in reaching a framework for aviation and climate at ICAO could provide a valuable lead. The UNFCCC negotiators should endorse the work that ICAO has done for aviation and take lessons from it for its broader mission, she suggests. Read more ...

ICAO's aviation emissions reduction plan heads for Cancun
Flight International, UK, 23 Nov 2010 - Perhaps Aerospace Industries Association Chief Executive Marion Blakey most accurately captured the sentiment generated by the International Civil Aviation Organization's framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Quoting a Rolling Stones lyric, she said: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you get what you need." No one pretended that getting ICAO's 190 member states with varying agendas to agree on a path to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation would be easy. What emerged was commitment for a 2 percent annual fuel efficiency improvement to 2050, states agreeing to strive for carbon neutral growth from 2020 and developing a CO2 standard for aircraft with a target date of 2013. Read more ...

Generating sustainable feedstocks locally is one of the main advantages of aviation biofuels
Air & Space Smithsonian, USA, Nov 2010 - According to Richard Altman, Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), one of the advantages of biofuel is that it can be generated and manufactured locally. "We're presently certifying from seed oil crops, and many of those crops such as jatropha are grown plus or minus 20 degrees from the equator," he says. "So it grows in places like India, parts of Latin America, Africa, but not the United States. Here the crop would be something like camelina, a rotation crop for wheat. Later on, we'll be getting into technology that breaks down sugars out of grass and other cellulosic materials. But the fuels will vary by region. Our goal is to make sure we have all the processes that are required to be able to use those seed stocks as jet fuels." He believes that within the next six months to a year, there will be some very significant breakthroughs in aviation jet biofuel investment. Read more ...

Space tourism - a final frontier worth exploring?
BusinessGreen, UK, 23 Nov 2010 - It isn't easy trying to pioneer an entirely new industry - just ask Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's attempt to take tourists into space. Not only does he face the prospect of launching a multi-billion dollar venture in the wake of an economic downturn, but he is also having to battle growing environmental concerns about the high profile project. Just as Virgin Galactic opened its first spaceport, Geophysical Research Letters published a report suggesting that the environmental effects of this new mode of space travel might be more severe than first thought. According to the report, we can expect to see the radiative forcing - the extent to which we're forcing heat into the atmosphere and throwing it out of balance - from modern spacecraft launches reach that of subsonic aviation within a decade. The report has Whitehorn hopping mad. Read more ...

New Mumbai airport gets environmental clearance
Reuters, 22 Nov 2010 - A long-delayed project to build a second international airport in India's commercial hub of Mumbai took a big step forward after it received clearance from the country's environment minister. Ending months of wrangling, the approval imposes 32 stipulations to ensure the area surrounding the estimated $220 million project is protected. The approval was necessary for construction to begin on the project in Navi Mumbai, seen as vital to the city's status as an international commercial centre with a passenger crunch looming at the current airport. The civil aviation ministry and local Maharashtra government have pushed hard in recent months to ensure environmental clearance was granted for the airport, which will be funded through a public-private partnership. Read more ...

Boeing subsidiary joins effort to develop electric aircraft
BrighterEnergy.org, USA, 19 Nov 2010 - A subsidiary of The Boeing Company has joined efforts to design and develop an electric propulsion system for a light aircraft. Jeppesen, part of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, is to collaborate on work by alternative aviation specialist Bye Energy and Cessna to produce an electrically-powered Cessna 172 Skyhawk. It will collaborate on the design and development of the proof-of-concept aircraft, and co-market the so-called Green Flight Project. Bye Energy is planning to fly the electric-powered Skyhawk in the spring of 2011. Read more ...

Aviation industry 'ditches' hydrogen
BBC Science & Environment, UK, 17 Nov 2010 - It took just 32 seconds to extinguish faith in the airship and the hydrogen that once buoyed the Hindenburg, which erupted in a fatal inferno 73 years ago. Now hydrogen is being dropped again by the aviation industry. But this time the promised 'green' fuel for powering flights of the future has been quietly shelved in favour of biofuels and more fossil fuel-sipping aviation. And while hydrogen as a potential 'greener' fuel for foreseeable flights gets dumped worldwide, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are also jettisoning their once radical ideas for such hydrogen-burning, sci-fi-like, cryoplanes. Despite the millions poured into research, the promised commercialization of such aircraft has to come to nothing as hydrogen failed to prove itself any greener then other energy sources. Read more ...

Study: carbon footprint of electronic devices can rival those of airlines
TriplePundit, USA, 12 Nov 2010 - A recent study by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm reveals the fact that our love affair with electronics is contributing almost as much to global warming pollution as the entire airline industry. The study shows that the combined telecommunication, media and entertainment sectors are responsible for roughly 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions, as compared to 4-5% for the airline industry when all of its supporting infrastructure is included. This can be broken down to 1.3% for the IT and telecommunications sector and 1.7% for the media and entertainment sector. Together the two sectors contribute some 1.4 billion tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, based on 2007 data. That wasn't very long ago, but long enough for some segments, such as cell phones to grow by an additional 50% since then. Read more ...

Russia could use sawdust to fuel airplanes, says minister
Ria Novosti, Russia, 9 Nov 2010 - Russia may start using biofuel made from sawdust to power aircraft, said Russia's Deputy Transport Minister Valery Okulov. "We have a country full of forests and plenty of sawdust; why not make biofuel from it as an alternative source of energy," he told a news conference hosted by RIA Novosti. Although biofuel is not much cheaper than traditional aircraft kerosene, it will not be subject to environmental tax, Okulov said. Read more ...

Factory turns chicken fat to diesel and jet fuel
Wall St Journal, USA, 8 Nov 2010 - Agricultural giant Tyson Foods and fuel developer Syntroleum have successfully opened a plant that makes diesel from chicken fat and leftover food grease. But they say their new venture won't survive unless Congress gives them a hefty tax break, an argument that many other alternative energy projects are also making. Tyson and Syntroleum say they've begun in recent weeks to make diesel and jet fuel from chicken fat, beef tallow and a range of greases and oils at a plant they've built in Louisiana. Read more ...

Algal fuels: just around the corner or 10 years away?
Biofuels Digest, USA, 5 Nov 2010 - In California, a new report from the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) in Berkeley projects that development of cost-competitive algae biofuel production will require much more long-term research, development and demonstration. "It is clear," the EBI scientists conclude, "that algal oil production will be neither quick nor plentiful - 10 years is a reasonable projection for the R, D & D (research, development and demonstration) to allow a conclusion about the ability to achieve, at least for specific locations, relatively low-cost algal biomass and oil production." In another report, Pike Research projects the growth of algal fuel production to only 61 million gallons per year by 2020, with an overall value of $1.3 billion, or more than $20 per gallon. Read more ...

Young algae industry getting government push
MSNBC, USA, 1 Nov 2010 - With a big boost from the government, algae is making headway as a potential replacement for some of the 18 million barrels of crude oil used daily nationwide. Not only has the federal government invested heavily in the emerging biofuel, but the military has stepped up as a potential customer. Algae biofuel, while still experimental, also is attracting the attention of big oil companies and commercial users including airlines and manufacturers. For biofuel companies, bringing down the cost of production is among the biggest challenges they face, and they are constantly searching for ways to save money and improve output. The US government's Steve Chalk says he expects to see commercial production increase over the next five years, with algal biofuels reaching the commercial market in five to ten years. (Article includes video) Read more ...

Noise politics is local and powerful
Aviation Week, USA, 25 Oct 2010 - Much remains to be done on the regulatory and technical side of achieving performance-based navigation (PBN), but airlines are discovering that they need to pay attention to the basics, especially local sensitivity to jet noise, when they implement it. In PBN, the precision of satellite navigation allows an aircraft to take any route within a navigation network rather than being restricted to flying between beacons. The satellite-based navigation tools that are the backbone of PBN bring a 'green' efficiency to the system by permitting more direct routing, closer spacing between en-route aircraft, and more precise descents and ascents. PBNs promise includes a 3-10% increase in airport capacity, 10% reduction in delays, 8-10% slice off fuel burn and 30% drop in overall noise patterns, said GE Aviation Civil Systems President Chet Fuller at the Global PBN Summit. Read more ...

Travel expert: Environmental policies loom as tourism threat
Las Vegas Sun, USA, 26 Oct 2010 - Seventy-two US government agencies have cut their travel budgets because of environmental concerns, a top travel executive said, leading him to conclude that overzealous environmental policy could be the next roadblock facing the tourism industry. Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, said in recent years the industry has got through 9/11, an increase in the cost of oil from $60 to $150 a barrel for the airlines, a swine flu scare, top government leaders blacklisting some resort cities that host conventions, a volcanic eruption and a major oil spill. But no concern could be greater than environmental policy that discourages people from travelling to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions, he said. Read more ...

Boeing to test China commercial jet biofuel next year
Chicago Breaking Business, USA, 18 Oct 2010 - Boeing, in cooperation with Air China and others, plans to test a commercial jet biofuel in China produced from a locally grown plant by the middle of 2011 - part of an effort to commercialize cleaner fuels world-wide and bolster China's potential as a biofuel provider. The demonstration flight is expected to be conducted by May or June next year, according to Boeing executive, Al Bryant, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The biofuel to be used in the scheduled test flight is one based on jatropha and is expected to be supplied by Chinese oil company PetroChina, which grows jatropha in southern China for aviation use, said Bryant. "This flight is going to demonstrate that China has the ability to create a new biofuel industry here in China." Read more ...

Aviation needs CO2 price to double by 2020: British Airways
Reuters, 14 Oct 2010 - The aviation industry needs the carbon price to double to over 30 euros ($41.82) a tonne by 2020 to fulfil its pledge to cap harmful carbon dioxide emissions, British Airways' head of environment, Jonathon Counsell told the Reuters Summit on Environment and Alternative Energy. "I think 30 euros [is a good level] but the key is that it stays and that everyone is paying it. It has to be global," he said. Carbon permits currently trade around 15 euros a tonne in the EU ETS. The price would have to be much higher to help fund BA's fuel efficiency measures, alternative fuels and new technology for lowering emissions from planes, Counsell believed. "By 2020 there should be a strong enough price signal out there for the manufacturers to spend significant money to bring forward the technology quicker," he said. "We think we can get to 2000 levels of emissions by 2050 but we will rely on carbon trading." Read more ...

Algae power reaches for the sky
CNN, 12 Oct 2010 - Air travel could be powered from vast seas of algae growing close to airports within four years, according to researchers and airlines hoping to find a green future for aviation. Industry giants including British Airways and Airbus are supporting a project at the UK's Cranfield University to investigate ways of harvesting algae for jet fuel in commercial quantities. The researchers will also look at whether the algae could be grown close to airports to prevent the environmental cost of distributing fuel around the globe. "If you have to employ tankers to bring it around the world, it wouldn't be green," said Cranfield's Prof Feargal Brennan. He warns against seeing algae as a 'silver bullet'. "The solution to aviation fuel is likely to come from a variety of sources and this is only one of them." Read more ...

What does Boeing's SolarEagle mean for the future of green aviation?
CleanTechies, US, 29 Sep 2010 - Boeing is one of the most recognizable names in the aviation industry, so when they come up with a new design it generates a great deal of buzz. While no one would necessarily be surprised about a redesigned 747 or 777 incarnation, it is always refreshing when they announce one of their green projects. The SolarEagle is the result of the Phantom Works research into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are powered by renewable energy sources. The announcement of the SolarEagle, in fact, comes after the unveiling of the Boeing Phantom Eye: the UAV reconnaissance vehicle that is powered by biofuels. Unlike the Phantom Eye, however, the SolarEagle is designed to run off of electricity gathered by the sun's rays. The really unique ability that the SolarEagle is bringing to the table is that it will supposedly be capable of flying non-stop in the stratosphere for a period of five years before being required to land. Read more ...

Delta seeks advanced engine technology to help meet its aggressive CO2 goals
Aviation Week, US, 23 Sep 2010 - Delta CEO Richard Anderson says, in no uncertain terms, that he wants Airbus and Boeing to re-engine the A320 and 737 aircraft, respectively. "There is constantly innovation in this industry, and we need that innovation. So we think the manufacturers need to re-engine these airplanes and give us the benefit of that innovation," Anderson declared. Delta does not want to wait for the next generation of narrowbody aircraft, he added. Anderson put Delta’s need in the context of pollution reduction, rather than fuel efficiency and cost savings. "We have very aggressive CO2 reduction goals, and part of that is to have the engine technology that will result in reduced fuel burn over time, so that we can meet our CO2 reduction goals," he said. Airbus seems to be close to deciding to re-engine the A320, but Boeing has been ambivalent about doing the same for the 737. Read more ...

Airlines are turning the blue yonder green
New York Daily News, US, 13 Sep 2010 - While the airline industry has long been an easy target for environmentalists, several carriers have recently taken huge steps towards turning the skies a little greener.We may see flying cars before we ever actually see a zero-emissions airplane - the stated goal of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is reportedly shooting for the manufacture and widespread use of such aircraft within the next 50 years. But the industry has seen some important, if less spectacular, changes in recent years that have resulted in increased energy efficiency meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read more ...

Biofuel ready for commercial-scale production
Engineering News, South Africa, 10 Sep 2010 - Process technology supplier Honeywell UOP is ready to move its green jet fuel into commercial-scale production within the next two or three years, and has started the certification and licensing processes. The green jet fuel was originally developed under contract from the US-based Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in 2007, to identify new sources for producing renewable military jet fuel for the US military. Green jet fuel currently costs more than petroleum-based fuel owing to its small-scale production and feedstocks, which are also not yet produced on a commercial scale. "As more biological feedstocks, such as camelina and algae, become available and, as we move into commercial-scale fuel production in the next few years, we expect that the costs will be comparable," the company tells Engineering NewsRead more ...

Branson bets his own money on renewable oils from algae
The Australian, 9 Sep 2010 - Richard Branson is betting on algae as an alternative jet fuel and has invested a chunk of his personal fortune in its development. Sir Richard has joined Unilever in investing in Solazyme as the industrial bio-tech company raised $US60 million in equity funding to develop oil-based products for use in goods ranging from biofuels to cosmetics and foods. Sir Richard has invested in Solazyme's financing in a personal capacity. His stake in the Californian company complements Virgin Group investments through the Virgin Green Fund in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors. "Sustainable renewable oils and biofuels will play an important role in our future," Sir Richard said. Read more ...

Tech fixes to wind turbine-radar conflict face hurdles
CNET Green Tech, US, 6 Sep 2010 - Emerging technology can ease the problem of wind farms causing interference with air-traffic control systems. But deployment of that technology in the US has been slowed by questions over authority and cost. Since 2006, radar maker Raytheon and National Air Traffic Services, which provides air traffic control in the UK, have been working on a project to upgrade air traffic radar so it can distinguish between aircraft and wind turbines' spinning blades. Concerns over the disturbances turbines can cause on air traffic control systems are already stunting the growth of wind power: radar and wind turbines conflicts derailed nearly as much as the total amount of installed wind power capacity in the US last year. Read more ...

Could saddle seats in planes help cut CO2?
BBC, UK, 17 Sep 2010 - Airlines are pondering whether to install a new form of saddle seat that leaves passengers half sitting and half standing, and crams more people on to a plane. The latest design for the sit-stand aircraft seats was published in the Daily Express. The story complained: "Air travel gets even worse. Airline passengers are facing cramped 'cattle truck' travel conditions after controversial saddle-style seats were unveiled." So what's this got to do with an environment column? Well, quite a lot, says BBC environment analyst Harrabin. Because the new saddle-style seats that leave people perched almost upright could reduce greenhouse gases per passenger, leave passengers feeling better, and even reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Read more ...

Soapbox: We are not in denial about climate change
Financial Times, UK, 14 Sep 2010 – Cathay Pacific's Head of Environmental Affairs Mark Watson acknowledges that projected increases in the airline industry's emissions cannot be left unchecked but says the aviation sector is directing significant investment towards reducing its environmental impact. He says a global approach for the sector is the best way forward for a sustainable future rather than a patchwork of regional schemes that are discriminatory and distortive. Taxes on passengers or fuel impact unfairly on investments in new, more fuel-efficient aircraft. In Asia, exemplified by the significant growth in air travel in China, aviation is still seen as a force for good and a key ingredient of economic development and social mobility. Read more ...

Global warming? It doesn't exist, says Ryanair boss O'Leary
The Independent, UK, 10 Sep 2010 - Ryanair's combative boss Michael O'Leary is renowned for backing unusual ideas, but some passengers may feel that even he has overstepped the mark with his latest comments – denying the existence of global warming. In an expletive-littered interview the chief executive of Europe's largest airline branded the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is heating up the planet with potentially grave consequences for the future of humanity as "horse****". He agreed the climate was changing but denied it was caused by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, such as those from his planes. He suggested scientists had invented and perpetuated the theory in order to gain research grants, described the United Nations as "one of the world's most useless organizations" and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "utter tosh". Read more ...

Few air travellers offset carbon emissions, UK study finds
The Guardian, UK, 30 Aug 2010 - Only 7 percent of flyers are funding green energy projects to offset the carbon emitted on their flights, according to a survey. A study of passengers at London Stansted airport revealed that 93 percent of those questioned did not offset their flights. Ignorance cannot be blamed: 56 percent of those questioned by the Civil Aviation Authority knew what the practice meant. Asked if they had taken fewer flights over the previous year on environmental grounds, only 9 percent of those asked said yes, most of whom took one or two fewer flights. When asked if their choice of airline had been affected by how environmentally friendly they were, only 3 percent replied in the affirmative. British Airways and easyJet, which both allow passengers to offset their flights directly on their websites, said that the number who chose to do so this year was "static" compared to last year, without giving more details. Read more ...

Arizona set to become centre for algae-based, biofuel industry
The Arizona Republic, US, 27 Aug 2010 - Arizona researchers are developing algae as a promising 21st-century alternative fuel to power cars, trucks and planes and propel the state's economy into the future. With its ideal climate and abundance of available land, Arizona is poised to become a major centre of a multibillion-dollar, algae-based, biofuel industry. Scientists at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus say major innovations in research in recent years have put them on the brink of boosting production capabilities from thousands of gallons to millions - the difference between powering a few vehicles and fuelling millions of cars and fleets of airliners. ASU researchers say they are three to five years from large-scale production, a breakthrough that could eventually reduce US dependence on foreign oil. Read more ...

Ranking the airlines by fuel efficiency
Wall St Journal, US, 12 Aug 2010 - Just as some car-makers are more fuel efficient than others, there's a big spread among airlines. With cars, you measure miles per gallon in how far the vehicle can travel on one gallon of gas. With airlines, it's how far one seat (occupied or not) can travel on one gallon of jet fuel. And US major airlines average about 64 mpg, according to calculations using DoT data for 2009. For each gallon of jet fuel, airlines could, on average, fly one seat 64 miles. That's better than your SUV or hybrid car, unless you pack lots of people into the car. The three worst major US carriers for fuel efficiency happen to be the three biggest. They fly the biggest planes, which aren't always more fuel efficient, and they have the oldest fleets. The best in fuel economy all have fleets that average nine years of age or younger. Fuel economy is already a huge cost issue for airlines. Now it could be a competitive issue as well. Read more ...

Colorado researchers turn plant scraps into butanol jet fuel
MIT Technology Review, USA, 9 Aug 2010 - Researchers at a start-up in Colorado have turned plant scraps into jet fuel, an important demonstration that high-energy fuels can be made efficiently from renewable and abundant biomass. The company, Gevo, has engineered a yeast that helps transform the cellulose found in wood chips and plant stalks into butanol, an ingredient of gasoline. The researchers can then modify the butanol into jet fuel. Butanol has 30 percent more energy than an equal amount of a conventional biofuel such as ethanol. Because of that appeal, such companies as Cobalt Biofuels, Gevo, and DuPont have been developing ways to cheaply and efficiently produce butanol from renewable sources. Read more ...

FAA's bird fears runs into conflict with EPA requirements over storm-water pond plan
Green Bay Press-Gazette, USA, 9 Aug 2010 - A plan to construct up to 28 water-detention ponds to meet storm-water requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is on hold as the village struggles to meet a Federal Aviation Administration directive that recommends wet ponds be set back 10,000 feet from airports. That's an issue for Ashwaubenon because two-thirds of the village lies within 10,000 feet of the Austin Straubel International Airport. The FAA's new guidelines are a result of a plane crash in which a collision with birds brought down a jet carrying more than 150 people in New York last year. The 10,000-foot zone around airports is aimed at preventing similar accidents by keeping migratory birds at a safe distance. Read more ...

How the science of biomimicry is being used to develop more fuel efficient aircraft
Flight International, UK, 9 Aug 2010 - The magazine's special environmental report looks at how the science of biomimicry is being used to develop more fuel efficient aircraft; an update on the legwork that still needs to be done by aircraft operators ahead of their forthcoming participation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme, including a possible simplification of the process for business aviation and other small emitters; and progress of the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (Aspire) to see how successfully the air traffic management project is implementing the techniques learned from its green demonstration fights. Read more ...

Electric hybrid airliner generates buzz at Oshkosh air show
Chicago Tribune, USA, 1 Aug 2010 - Imagine a hyper-efficient aircraft as large as a Boeing 737, although weighing much less. It would run quieter and cleaner than any other commercial plane ever made, requiring two-thirds less energy, according to NASA-funded research. The hybrid-powered jetliner of the future would operate on batteries or jet fuel, depending on whether it's cruising or taking off and climbing, when the most thrust is required. Boeing is working on a concept plane called the SUGAR Volt that would use turbine engines and electric motors connected to the fans to more efficiently propel the electric airliner. On flights of up to 900 miles, the SUGAR Volt would cruise almost exclusively on battery power, said Marty Bradley, a technical fellow at Boeing's research and technology division. An electric propulsion system would help slash the amount of fuel burned as well as noise around airports by about 70 percent compared with today's airliner fleet, say aerospace researchers who believe they can have such a flying machine up and running by about 2035. Image here of aircraft. Read more ...

Garuda Indonesia planning to switch to biofuel
Jakarta Globe, Indonesia, 2 Aug 2010 - National airline Garuda Indonesia is finalizing preparations to use biofuel in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a senior official said. "We are in the process of changing from avtur [aviation fuel] to biofuel. Not a single [domestic] airline has done it yet. We will be implementing this plan in stages and it will not necessarily be achieved within this year," Garuda commissioner Wendy Aritonang said. The airline has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with IATA, committing to improving air travel services as well as to using biofuel, which is produced from renewable resources like palm oil. Read more ...

Aviation industry's drive for fuel economy spurs progress in cockpit technology
Chicago Tribune, USA, 22 July 2010 - Both the rising cost of fuel and demand for more environmentally-friendly flying are putting pressure on the aviation industry to come up with advances. Aircraft makers and technology companies are battling each other to bring ever more efficiency to the market after pledging last year to cut emissions to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The issue has become so urgent that organizers at the Farnborough Air Show devoted one of its five days to environmental issues. "Airlines are saying to us, we want less noise, we want the same speed, we want the range, but we want the environmental performance," Boeing's Chief Technology Officer John J. Tracy said when he updated the industry on the long-delayed 787's progress this week. In the next few years, both Boeing and arch rival Airbus expect to roll out new turbofan engines which promise 10-15 percent better performance, while Canadian plane maker Bombardier is marketing its C-Series single-aisle jet as a fuel-efficient alternative to the current duopoly's offerings. Read more ...

Commercial airlines may get one percent of fuel from biofuels by 2015, Boeing says
Bloomberg, USA, 22 July 2010 - Commercial airlines may derive 1 percent of their fuel by 2015 from biofuels made of plants including algae, Boeing Co.'s environment chief said. Carriers including British Airways and Continental Airlines are testing the carbon-cutting alternative fuels as the global air industry accelerates efforts to slash greenhouse-gases blamed for global warming. Boeing has worked with airlines from the US to Japan to test jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha and camelina. That's because moving more toward cleaner fuels is in the industry's best interest, said Billy Glover, managing director of environmental strategy at Boeing's commercial airplanes unit. Read more ...

Algae holds promise to make aviation carbon-neutral
MarketWatch, USA, 19 July 2010 - Forget about revolutionary light-weight composite materials: a four-seater propeller plane is more likely to hold the key to the future of aviation. Or at least that's the hope of European aerospace and defence giant EADS. The group, which owns Airbus, is showing off an aircraft powered by algae juice at the Farnborough Air Show. EADS is betting that the small aircraft, which completed its first successful flight last month in Germany, can help make air travel kinder to the planet in the not too distant future. As deadlines for the industry to cut its carbon emissions loom, jet makers and airlines alike are more eager than ever to find alternatives. "We absolutely need to find a plan B for the replacement of kerosene," said EADS Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti. EADS would like to have a pilot programme running within five years, perhaps on a route like Paris-Toulouse, Botti said. His long-term hope is for 10% of the global fleet to run on pure biofuels, or a blend of them, by 2030. Read more ...

Looking for green in blue skies
New York Times, USA, 19 July 2010 - A month before the Farnborough Air Show, an assortment of visionaries, inventors and oddballs, together with a sprinkling of aviation heavyweights, gathered at Le Bourget airfield, north of Paris, for the second edition of the Salon de l'Aviation Verte, or Green Air Show. "There is no such thing as 'green' aviation," said Olivier Jouis, head of environmental affairs at Eurocopter, one of the heavyweights there. "It's a misnomer. It's a polluting industry. We can only hope to make it less so." Progress is being made, he said, to reduce pollution in mainstream commercial flight operations and manufacturing but it is slow and incremental. Read more ...

The flying Prius - the future of the passenger jet
Newsweek, USA, 16 July 2010 - The future of aviation that engineers dreamed about 70 years ago didn't look much like the present. But it did look a lot like the future of aviation they're still dreaming of today. Basic principles of lift and propulsion are immutable, so certain design features keep coming back. What's really new is just about everything else that's likely to go into making the next generation - indeed, the next several generations - of planes: the composites for the bodies; the engines that propel them; the computers that steer them; and, most important, the new economic, environmental, and political imperatives of the 21st century. Manufacturers really have little choice but to produce quieter, safer, more fuel-efficient, and greener machines than ever before - if only they can figure out how. "In the future, environmental concern will be a really huge issue," says Jaiwon Shin, Head of Aeronautics Research at NASA. "We are seeing that in other industries. I think aviation will not be an exception." Read more ...

Carbon airliner with a small footprint readied for take-off to Britain
The Independent, UK, 16 July 2010 - Shortly after 9am on Sunday, a new chapter will begin in European aviation history when flight ZA003 touches down in Hampshire and heralds the arrival of the much-anticipated – and greatly-delayed – Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the world's first airliner to be largely built from carbon fibre. The first Boeing 787 to leave American soil will arrive at the Farnborough Air Show to display what the US aviation giant insists represents a quantum leap in aircraft technology by abandoning the traditional method of building a passenger jet out of sheets of riveted aluminium. Along with a raft of innovations, the lightweight materials are claimed by Boeing to make the new plane one of the most eco-friendly ever produced, burning 20 percent less fuel than its rival equivalents. Despite a troubled history of logistical and technical problems which means it will enter service some two years behind schedule, the 787 has become the fastest-selling wide-bodied jet in history, with more than 860 on order. Read more ...

New Mumbai airport plan pits environment against business
The Independent, UK, 15 July 2010 - India's government is expected to make a decision on whether to give the go-ahead for $1.9bn Navi Mumbai International Airport project within weeks, after a battle between developers and opponents lasting more than a decade. The fight sums up the dilemma facing modern India: what gets sacrificed in the quest for better infrastructure to cater for a rapidly expanding population - and how to deal with those who happen to be in the way. Environmentalists have taken heart at the concerns expressed by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh about upsetting the delicate ecological balance in what is officially a protected tidal wetland area. Thousands of hectares of mangrove trees and shrubs, which act as a natural buffer against the sea and coastal erosion, have been removed from around Mumbai in recent years, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Conservationist Stalin Dayanand wants other sites for the airport to be considered and he has vowed to fight any building approval through the courts. But there are signs that he could be waging a losing battle: the developers have powerful allies. Read more ...

Aviation industry harnesses algae for biofuel
Der Spiegel, Germany, 15 July 2010 - There are plans within the aviation industry to replace kerosene with biofuel derived from algae. The new fuel comes with a surprising benefit: Planes will be able to fly farther on the same amount of fuel. German biotechnologist Otto Pulz was recently planning a test flight for a small aircraft and needed fuel. After making a number of phone calls halfway around the world, he even ordered a few hundred litres of the miraculous fluid from as far away as Argentina. This chemically refined fuel is expected to gradually replace kerosene in civil aviation. Once they had collected enough of the fuel, Pulz and his team achieved an important breakthrough last month. For the first time in history, a small aircraft, a Diamond DA42, its engines driven solely by pure algae fuel, lifted off at the International Aviation Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin. "This material will change the rules of the game in our industry," Airbus executive Christian Dumas says joyfully. Read more ...

German air travel tax set at up to 26 euros from January 2011
Reuters, 15 July 2010 - Airlines will have to pay up to 26 euros ($33.04) per passenger under the German government's plan to impose an air travel tax to raise 1 billion euros a year, according to a draft law seen by Reuters. German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month announced the tax plan as part of 80 billion euros of budget measures, stunning the aviation industry. For shorter trips within the European Union and a number of other countries less than 2,500 kilometres away, the tax is set at 13 euros; for longer trips, at 26 euros. However, tax to be lowered from 2012 to offset emissions trading. Read more ...

Push up cost of air travel to cut demand, say UK engineers
Daily Telegraph, UK, 14 July 2010 - The price of air travel should be increased to cut demand for flights according to the UK's leading engineers. In a report published today the Institution of Civil Engineers believes a twin-track approach is essential to safeguard the future of aviation while protecting the environment. The report calls for a minimum carbon price to make flying more expensive. The Institution has also said the Government should reconsider its policy on airport expansion, warning the decision to scrap Labour's plans for a third runway at Heathrow could cost the country dear. Read more ...

Airplanes can punch holes in clouds and make it rain, finds study
Discovery, USA, 14 July 2010 - If you've ever been lucky enough to see a hole-punch cloud form in the afternoon sky, you'd be forgiven for thinking a UFO landed somewhere nearby. But according to a new study, the clouds form when much more pedestrian flying objects - turboprop and jet airplanes - fly through and change water droplets into ice crystals. In 2007 Andrew Heymsfield, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado was a on a research flight west of Denver International Airport when he and his team flew right below a big hole-punch cloud. When they went back and looked at footage from a ground-looking camera on the plane, they found the area directly beneath the hole had been coated in two inches of fresh snow. Heymsfield and colleagues write in a new study in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society that on average, 7.8 percent of Earth is covered in clouds ripe for 'plane seeding'. Read more ...

Airframers step up biofuel efforts ahead of Farnborough Air Show
Flightglobal, UK, 12 July 2010 - In the run-up to Farnborough both of the major commercial airframers have launched new initiatives aimed at bringing the prospect of a low-carbon, biofuel-powered aviation industry closer to reality, amid a sharpening awareness of the urgent need for investment in fossil fuel alternatives - among governments and industry players alike. Late May brought the news that Boeing had partnered PetroChina to evaluate the potential to establish a sustainable aviation biofuels industry in China. In June, at the ILA air show in Berlin, Airbus owner EADS unveiled a hybrid eco-helicopter concept - which will be exhibited again at Farnborough - and flew an aircraft fuelled by algae-based biofuel. It has since embarked on a project that envisages a new biofuels plant in Brazil. Read more ...

Aviation taxes in danger of pricing people out of flying, says BA's Willie Walsh
Daily Telegraph, UK, 9 July 2010 - Calling for an end to Air Passenger Duty when airlines join an EU emissions trading scheme in 2012, BA CEO Willie Walsh said: "APD on long-haul routes will have tripled or even quadrupled in four years. We are in severe danger of pricing large numbers of people out of flying." He pointed out that global airlines had collectively lost $47bn in the last decade and only been profitable in three of those years. He noted how the United Nation's climate committee had recently suggested that the global airline industry pay a $10bn tax as its contribution towards the $100bn a year promised at Copenhagen from developed to developing countries. "It has worried me for some time that aviation is being regarded by policymakers as a kind of cash machine with wings." Read more ...

Airlines fret as emission rules in Europe are set to kick in
New York Times, 4 July 2010 - Most environmental experts say that emissions from air travel account for between 2 percent and 3 percent of global emissions. But emissions from aviation are growing faster than those from many other sectors. Environmentalists also say that measurement plays down the effect of releasing gases and particles at high altitude. Among the major airlines, there have been remarkable advances in biofuels aimed at reducing the footprint of commercial aviation drastically. But those experiments are at an early stage. So instead of relying on a technological leap forward that still may be years or even decades away, the European Union is embarking on another way of lowering the emissions from flying: making airlines join its five-year-old Emissions Trading System.  Read more ...

Britain curbing airport growth to aid climate
New York Times, 1 July 2010 - In a bold if lonely environmental stand, Britain's coalition government has set out to curb the growth of what has been called "binge flying" by refusing to build new runways around London to accommodate more planes. The government decided that enabling more flying was incompatible with Britain's oft-stated goal of curbing emissions. Britons have become accustomed to easy, frequent flying as England has become a hub for low-cost airlines. The country's 2008 Climate Change Act requires it to reduce emissions by at least 34 percent by 2020 from levels reached in 1990. "The emissions were a significant factor" in the decision to cancel the runway-building plans, Teresa Villiers, Britain’s minister of state for transport, said in an interview. Read more ...

Boeing looks at lifecycle efficiencies beyond the 787
Aviation Week, USA, 30 June 2010 - Boeing's recent $25-million award to support FAA's continuous lower energy, emissions and noise (CLEEN) effort is only one example of 'green' integration efforts that the aircraft manufacturer has underway. In conversations here at the joint Aviation Suppliers Association and Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association meeting, Jeanne Yu, Director for Airplane Environmental Performance, and William Carberry, Aircraft Recycling Project Manager, described other in-progress efforts to retain materials in the high-value aviation supply chain. Boeing has been working on its aspects of the five-year CLEEN program for a year. Developing a closed-loop, or "circle of life", as Yu puts it, approach to aircraft lifecycle management is another area of focus. Read more ...

Blimps could replace aircraft in freight transport, say scientists
The Guardian, UK, 30 June 2010 - Fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and other foreign luxuries could be part of a global revolution by carrying cargo around the world in airships instead of planes, one of the UK's leading scientists has predicted. The government's former chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir David King, now director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford, told a conference that massive helium balloons - or blimps - would replace aircraft as a key part of the global trade network as a way of cutting global warming emissions. King said several major air and defence companies, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, were working on designs, and the US defence department had recently made a large grant to help develop the technology. Read more ...

At German airports, bees help monitor air quality
New York Times, 28 June 2010 - Airports in Germany have come up with an unusual approach to monitoring air quality. The Dusseldorf International Airport and seven other airports are using bees as 'biodetectives', their honey regularly tested for toxins. "Air quality at and around the airport is excellent," said Peter Nengelken, the airport's community liaison. The first batch of this year's harvested honey from some 200,000 bees was tested in early June, he said, and indicated that toxins were far below official limits, consistent with results since 2006 when the airport began working with bees. The honey, Dusseldorf Natural, is bottled and given away as gifts. Biomonitoring, or the use of living organisms to test environmental health, does not replace traditional monitoring, said Martin Bunkowski, an environmental engineer for the Association of German Airports. But "it's a very clear message for the public because it is easy to understand," he added. Read more ...

Southwest COO pushes for narrowbody replacement
Air Transport World, USA, 25 June 2010 - Southwest Airlines Executive VP and COO Mike Van de Ven called on aircraft manufacturers to develop a new narrowbody aircraft, saying that today's 737NG and A320s are unable to deliver the "step change" in efficiency that the airline industry needs. Delivering the opening keynote address at ATW's Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington, he said, "The time has come to develop a replacement to the workhorse narrowbodies." He added that today's single-aisle aircraft only enable airlines to make "marginal improvements" in fuel burn efficiency, adding that "marginal improvements won't allow us to meet our environmental responsibilities and economic challenges. Read more ...

Airlines urged to speed up preparations for EU emissions trading
Flight International, UK, 23 June 2010 - Emissions trading is thundering down the track and will land on airlines' doorsteps before they know it. But there are concerns many carriers are leaving preparations for their inclusion in the European Union's emissions trading system, which enters force from 2012, to the last minute. The message from those specializing in this area is clear: you can't run, you can't hide and the sooner you get on with preparing for emissions trading, the better off you'll be. Perhaps some of the heel-dragging can be attributed to a "wait and see" policy as airlines await the outcome of a legal challenge launched by the US Air Transport Association and three of its members - American, Continental and United Airlines - which argues that the inclusion of international aviation in the EU ETS is contrary to international law. Read more ...

Comment: What about another big greenwashed tax on tourism?
TravelMole, UK, 23 June 2010 - It's starting to form a pattern - despite calls to get rid of the tax because it makes developing country's plight even worse - the UK has hardened and adapted APD and Germany has started its own. Air Passenger Duty is now getting a little meretricious cloak of green credibility - the British say that it will be fairer because it's levied per aircraft movement and the Germans say that it will, in time be replaced by the EU-ETS. It will certainly depress outbound travel, although in the UK at least it will benefit those operating with high load factors. And it will legislate against low cost Caribbean, Asian and African tourism, particularly when they are petrified about the effects that global warming will have on their tourism industries anyway. Read more ...

How green is the World Cup?
TerraCurve.com, USA, 22 June 2010 - Eleven teams have announced plans to offset the emissions caused by their participation in the soccer World Cup in South Africa – including travel to and from Cape Town. The teams, whose offset is sponsored by PUMA, are Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Uruguay, Italy and Switzerland. Meanwhile, Chile, England, Republic of Korea and Serbia have also committed to offsetting their emissions. The teams' carbon footprint includes international flights to and from South Africa, domestic flights and coaches to and from group matches for teams and officials, and accommodation in hotels - a total of approximately 6,050 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Read more ...

Aviation biofuels are growing up quickly
Daily Herald, Everett, WA, USA, 20 June 2010 - The development of aviation biofuels has occurred at a speed that has surprised everyone. Just a few years ago, aviation biofuel looked to be decades away. But with outside pressure building on the aviation industry to reduce its carbon footprint, the Boeing Co. and others in the industry banded together to accelerate research. A few factors have helped kick biofuels research into high gear, including the availability of petroleum-based fuel and its price, said Darrin Morgan, who directs Boeing's biofuels strategy. Early on, the industry was concerned about whether biofuels would meet the technical requirements of jet fuel. That has been resolved, Morgan said. "Biofuels are not only as good as petroleum-based jet fuel but are better," he said. The challenge will be introducing aviation biofuels on a large scale. Morgan says the toughest percent of biofuels being incorporated in commercial aviation will be the first percent. Read more ...

Energy of the future? It's green and slimy
San Diego Union-Tribune, USA, 20 June 2010 - Some 300 million years ago, decaying algae that filled the world's seas and swamps left behind a gift: oil. Now, with the planet rapidly approaching a time where the rate of oil depletion outpaces the supply, researchers and energy companies are hoping the hardy little green slime can do the trick again. Algae has such immense potential because it can be grown naturally, produces five to 10 times more energy molecules than crop biofuels, and is an extremely clean energy, creating almost no carbon. Scientists agree that the science to turn algae into fuel has arrived. It's just the economics that remain elusive. "We all complain about the price of gas, but in fact, it is the cheapest commodity out there. Bottled water sells for more," said Stephen Mayfield, head of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology. "And that's a challenge for companies that are trying to create alternative fuels. We can already make fuel from algae, we can grow it, extract oil from it, convert it into jet fuel, diesel and gas. We can do it all - if we want to ignore the cost." Read more ...

Smoother airplane landing pattern conserves fuel
Daily Herald, Everett, WA, USA, 20 June 2010 - It's the way airplanes were designed to land - in a smooth, continuous movement. "An airplane wants to glide down," said Rob Mead with the Boeing Co. Mead has spent much of the past few years working with the aviation industry to change the way the country's air traffic management system allows aircraft to land at airports. He's won international recognition for his ideas. Ultimately, the "tailored arrival" approach will cut fuel use, reduce emissions and save Boeing's airline customers money. Tailored approach landings are made possible through aircraft and ground automation that plans the landing specifically for the type of aircraft. Landings made using this method save as much as 43 percent of the fuel the jets would have burned during the landing process if using the standard step-down method. Read more ...

London City Airport CEO calls on industry to lobby UK government
ABTN, UK, 17 June 2010 - Richard Gooding, CEO at London City Airport, called on the business travel community to lobby government on its plans for the future of aviation. Speaking at the Business Travel Market in London, Gooding said the aviation industry was under increased pressure from "scary" changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) and constraints on expansion. The government plans to scrap APD in favour of a per plane tax, which many airlines, including Easyjet, will welcome. But Gooding warned: "The scary bit is that the government has set out to increase the take from APD by 40%. That's going to be paid by you and your customers." Read more ...

Airlines reject Germany's proposed environmental tax
Environmental Leader, USA, 10 June 2010 - The aviation industry reacted negatively to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposal to levy an environmental surcharge on airline passengers flying out of German airports, according to press reports. The Associated Press reported that Lufthansa’s Chief Executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber estimated the tax would increase ticket prices by $9.5 – $19 a ticket. Merkel said she wanted the tax in place until aviation emissions are included in Europe's carbon trading scheme, which go into effect in 2012, at which point the tax would be repealed, according to the Times of London. Passengers embarking from British airports already pay a similar tax. The CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Giovanni Bisignani, said the tax would harm the aviation industry and confer no environmental benefit. Read more ...

US Air Force confident of meeting 2011 blended synthetic fuel target
Flight International, UK, 6 June 2010 - Synthetic jet fuel has proven itself to the US Air Force, which is confident it will easily meet a 2011 goal by certificating its entire turbine fleet to burn blended fuel, half of which will be converted from coal or natural gas. Fuels from the Fischer-Tropsch process so impressed the USAF that hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuels are likely to have an easier passage, with HRJ testing set to take place on only three "pathfinder" airframes. And fuel producers are pleased to see certificating body ASTM International showing similar confidence as its turbine fuel specification comes up for revision to include biofuels made from a growing assortment of feedstocks. A major question now is whether private industry will make capital investments during a recession to help the USAF meet another high-profile goal for synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK). Read more ...

Green approaches: Airport sustainability
Passenger Terminal World, UK, June 2010 - The terms 'sustainability', 'carbon neutrality' and 'the environment' always arise when planning new airports or expanding existing ones. But is this driven more by compulsory legislation than by ethics or economics? The future of flying has had a lot of media coverage recently, due to environmental concerns over the amount of CO2 it produces and its sustainability. While scientists continue to look into biofuel options for aircraft, architects are incorporating environmental design into their terminals, and airport operators are looking for methods to mitigate their effect on the environment. Read more ...

Sky’s the limit for synthetic jet fuel maker
Los Angeles Business Journal, USA, 17 May 2010 - A recent test flight of a United Airlines plane has given Westwood, CA-based Rentech the lead position in what's shaping up as a dogfight to sell synthetic jet fuel to the nation's commercial aviation industry. The company supplied synthetic fuel used by the Airbus 319 that took off from Denver International Airport for a 90-minute flight on April 30. When the company begins production in four years, Rentech's CEO expects it will be able to produce synthetic fuel that's priced comparably with standard jet fuel, which currently sells for about $2.40 a gallon. Airline industry analyst Robert W. Mann Jr. said that there are still many players in the game, and that price will be a key factor in determining the winners. Read more ...

New UK government coalition sets out plans on runways and aviation tax
BBC, UK, 13 May 2010 - The UK's new coalition government has cancelled controversial plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow airport. It will also refuse extra runways at London's other two main airports, Gatwick and Stansted. Campaigners responded with joy to the news. The policy may send birds in the Thames Estuary flapping for cover, though. If demand for flying in the South-East continues to increase, operators may look eastwards for a new airport. Today's announcement reveals that air passenger duty will be scrapped and replaced by a tax on the plane, not passenger. This is likely to mean that full flights (often budget airlines) will get cheaper and poorly-used flights more expensive. There are several ramifications to this policy, which will play out in time. Read more ...

Spirit Airlines installs lighter-weight, fuel-saving, pre-reclined seats
USA Today, 13 May 2010 – Spirit Airlines, the low-cost carrier that soon will charge passengers for stowing carry-on bags in overhead bins, is now installing seats that can't move backward or forward on some of its aircraft. The 'pre-reclined' seats - they lean back 3 inches - are already on the airline's two Airbus A320 jets, and it will outfit two more by the end of this year, the airline says. The new seats also weigh less, and "The lighter-weight seat means less fuel, which is not only better for the environment, but it's a way for us to keep costs low," says Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson. "And we, in turn, pass that along to our customers by way of even lower fares." Read more ...

Heathrow runway plans scrapped by new UK coalition government
BBC, UK, 12 May 2010 - Plans for a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport have been scrapped by the new government and said it would also refuse any additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted airports. Councils, residents and green groups had opposed the expansion scheme which Gordon Brown said was needed for economic reasons. John Stewart, from Hacan ClearSkies, which campaigned against the Heathrow runway, said he was "absolutely delighted". Airport operator BAA said it would work with the new government to provide strong trading connections. BAA, supported by airlines and commerce in the capital, had argued that Heathrow needed extra capacity and without it London - and consequently the UK - would lose out to rival European cities as a place to visit and do business. Read more ...

Lufthansa to use biofuel on flights by 2012, says CEO
Reuters, 9 May 2010 - Lufthansa is set to become one of the world's first airlines to mix biofuel with traditional kerosene on commercial flights as carriers seek ways to cut soaring fuel costs, its chief executive said. The German flag carrier will start running its engines on some flights on a mix of biofuel and kerosene within two years, Wolfgang Mayrhuber told reporters. A spokesman for Lufthansa added the airline will likely decide on a more precise schedule by the end of this year. Mayrhuber said Lufthansa had no plans to run individual test flights at this point. Instead, the carrier would wait until it could start using biofuel regularly on some routes to gather reliable data over a longer period of time. Read more ...

Montana-grown camelina biofuel takes off in jet engines
Helenair.com, USA, 21 Apr 2010 - The US military is revamping its own energy consumption to deal with the threat of climate change, says a new report that outlines how the US armed forces have set aggressive goals for reducing their overall energy consumption and switching from fossil fuels to alternative, renewable fuels. One of the military's many efforts involves using biofuel to power the Navy's F-18 Hornet fighter jet, which will make its first demonstration flight with biofuel on Thursday, 22 April, which is Earth Day. The Hornet will be burning a 50-50 blend of traditional jet fuel and fuel processed from camelina grown in northern Montana. Sustainable Oils won a contract last year to supply this biofuel to the Navy and the Air Force. Read more ...

Deadline looms for business aviation emissions trading crunch
Flight International, UK, 14 Apr 2010 - Europe-based business aviation operators, looking at compulsory inclusion in the emissions trading scheme in 2012, are facing the possible elimination of an administratively simplified ETS system designed for small emitters. At a meeting on 6 May, a European Commission decision will be made that may withdraw funding from the Eurocontrol ETS support facility, a system that calculates the emissions of aircraft using flight tracking data from Eurocontrol's central flow management unit. Its continued existence is important not only to business aviation, but to the European aviation ETS as a whole, because it is one of the main emissions verification systems. Read more ...

Heathrow's third runway opponents score High Court victory
ABTN, UK, 26 Mar 2010 - Opponents of the proposed third runway at Heathrow have beaten the Government at the High Court in London. Lord Justice Carnwath agreed with local councils, residents and green lobbyists that the public consultations that lead to the approval of the new runway were flawed. The decision does not mean the runway will not be built, but ministers will have to carry out fresh consultations with affected groups. Lord Carnwath said called for a review of "all the relevant policy issues, including the impact of climate change policy." The ruling is a major blow to the Labour government with only seven weeks until the general election. However, the Department of Transport said it would "robustly defend" the third runway plan. Read more ...

EADS backs algae as future biofuel rather than fuels from plant-derived sources
Aviation Week, USA, 23 Mar 2010 - Airbus parent company EADS is backing algae as the best source of sustainable jet fuel, arguing that other feedstocks will not allow the airline industry to meet its carbon-footprint reduction goals. EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti does not believe second-generation, plant-derived biofuels now under development offer sufficient life-cycle, carbon-dioxide reductions to replace petroleum-based jet fuel. "I do not see today a real Plan B to replace kerosene," he says. "We absolutely need to push third-generation biofuels made from algae." Read more ...

Los Angeles International Airport tightens carbon accounting for US climate rules
Bloomberg, USA, 18 Mar 2010 - Los Angeles International Airport, the sixth-busiest in the world, will more closely track emissions from its terminals and other buildings ahead of proposed US regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gases. "We definitely need to know exactly what we are emitting," said Lin Wang, an environmental supervisor at the Los Angeles city department that owns the airport. The airport is upgrading its accounting systems for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases ahead of a federal requirement, starting next year, that industrial polluters like oil refineries and factories file annual emission reports to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Read more ...

EU draws up plans for first direct tax with fuel levy
Daily Telegraph, UK, 4 Mar 2010 - Proposals expected to be announced next month would give the EU its first funding which would not come from national governments. Algirdas Semeta, the new European commissioner for taxation, is planning a "minimum rate of tax on carbon" across the whole EU as a "priority". The idea of using fuel duties and eco-taxes to give the EU a direct and independent source of income has long been demanded by the Commission. Proposals currently circulating in Brussels could mean that all airline tickets, shopping and petrol station receipts in Britain list the amount of aviation tax, VAT or fuel duty that goes directly to Brussels as an "EU tax". Read more ...

Jet stream: Special Biofuels Digest report on aviation biofuels
Biofuels Digest, USA, 3 Mar 2010 - "If 2009 brought us the "summer of Algae", 2010 is certainly looking to usher in "Jet Spring", with a series of stunning developments in the commercialization of aviation biofuels - shaping up as the first breakout, blockbuster end user segment for advanced biofuels," says online publication Biofuels Digest in a wide-ranging rundown of the latest developments in aviation biofuels. Read more ...

Fly the poplar skies - Research teams developing processes for carbon-negative renewable jet fuel
Biofuels Digest, USA, 1 Mar 2010 – In Wisconsin and Maryland, teams are working independently on processes that, when paired, may lead to the direct conversion of poplar trees into jet fuel as well as other high-density biofuels. The Maryland project is seeking to radically improve the nitrogen efficiency of poplars by discovering, defining and enhancing the switching mechanisms in the poplar genome nitrogen cycle, thereby improving the plant's already considerable reputation for fast growth. The Wisconsin project is now reporting results on the direct conversion (in two steps) of cellulose to jet fuel. Read more ...

Aviation biofuels: the bumpy road to scale production
Flight International, UK, 22 Feb 2010 - Both of the major commercial airframers have joined forces with industry peers to pursue new biofuel research initiatives, reflecting an intensification of concern about future availability of alternative fuels in the quantities required by aviation. In January, Qatar Airways revealed plans to work with Airbus and other Qatari state entities to draw up "a detailed engineering and implementation plan for economically viable and sustainable biofuel production". At an event marking the launch of the Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform consortium, airline chief Akbar al Baker hailed its European project partner as "more proactive than Boeing in experimenting with alternative fuels". Read more ...

Leaving the trash behind - recycling efforts at US airports
New York Times, US, 22 Feb 2010 - The aviation industry is often criticized for contributing to global warming through airplane exhaust. But waste of a different kind also has the potential to create environmental problems. Even before they board, air travellers throw away trash of all sorts - including paper, plastic and food waste - and airports and airlines recycle only a small portion of it. An estimated 7.5 million pounds (3,400 tonnes) of trash is generated every day. While the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, says that 75 percent of that trash is recyclable, it has found that only 20 percent reaches a recycling centre. Read more ...

What you must know about flying green
Environmental Leader, US, 19 Feb 2010 – Brighter Planet, a US company that helps people reduce and manage their carbon footprints, provides tips to help air travellers. Says CEO Patti Prairie: "It's no coincidence that airlines have been ratcheting up the baggage fees as oil prices rise. The heavier the load, the more fuel a plane burns. It turns out that leaving your golf clubs at home may make a big difference. If all passengers on US domestic flights packed five pounds less, it would save 64 million gallons of jet fuel each year and have a climate impact equivalent to grounding all domestic flights for three days, or shutting down all the dirty power plants in the US for four hours." Read more ...

EU approves revised ETS rules to combat cyber crime
EurActiv, EU, 18 Feb 2010 - Representatives of member states yesterday approved a revision of the registries that audit emissions permits under the bloc's trading system to enhance Internet security. The new rules were originally proposed by the European Commission to prepare for the aviation sector's entry into the EU ETS from 2012. But they also include measures to combat fraud in the aftermath of recent cyber attacks on national registries. Last month, Internet fraudsters sent fake emails to companies that use the registries, directing them to a rogue website where they were asked to enter their identification code and password. They then used the codes to obtain emission allowances and sold them on. Read more ...

Greening air travel to reduce its environmental impact
EurActiv, EU, 18 Feb 2010 - Amid steady growth in air traffic and related polluting emissions, the aerospace industry is rolling up its sleeves to ensure that the sector grows in a carbon-neutral manner as of 2020. Greening air transport means developing cleaner technologies and new flight management systems to reduce the environmental impact of aviation. The EU objective is to halve, by 2020, CO2 emissions and perceived noise pollution, and reduce NOx emissions by 80% from 2000 levels. There are no legally binding targets to reduce CO2 emissions from aviation. But both political concerns over climate change and simple economics (reducing fuel cost to increase profit) are pushing the industry to seek more fuel-efficient ways of flying. Read more ...

Foreign Office's 10:10 plan takes off with economy flights for ambassadors
The Guardian, UK, 17 Feb 2010 - Few jobs have the glamour of ambassador but even the lifestyles of Her Majesty's representatives abroad are to be curtailed by the UK government's drive to reduce its contribution to carbon emissions. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff have been asked to downgrade flights to economy class - even for the top men and women and their families. The shift is part of the FCO's plan of action after joining the '10:10' climate change campaign. Like more than 61,000 other members, the government department has pledged to reduce carbon emissions from its 291 posts around the world by 10% in 2010. Read more ...

Aerospace chief: Industry on track to deliver 'greener' aircraft
EurActiv, EU, 18 Feb 2010 - Industry is on track to ensure carbon-neutral growth in the aviation sector from 2020, but strengthened European Union support for research and development is vital to help manufacturers deliver the green technologies required, said François Gayet, Secretary-General of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). He said he expected the first biofuels to be certified in 2012 or later and massive investment was required to bring the fuels out of laboratories and scaled up to millions of litres and distributed around the world to each airport and airplane. He warned against ambitious targets on biofuels and said it was necessary to keep on investing in reducing aircraft weight and fuel consumption. ACARE 2020 industry targets were still on course, he maintained. Read more ...

Airlines have to know how carbon is going to be taxed and what emissions standards will apply to them
Wall St Journal, USA, 16 Feb 2010 - Former Continental Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Kellner says the remedy for airlines is to work out internationally accepted environmental standards, modernize the nation's air traffic control system and devise a faster process for negotiating airline labour contracts. On the environment, he says airlines have to know how carbon is going to be taxed and what emissions standards will apply to them. Environmental costs will determine whether it makes sense economically for airlines to buy equipment to expand or replace current fleets. And just like noise standards, carbon emission standards have to be the same around the world. Read more ...

Business class fliers leave far larger carbon footprint, but by how much?
The Guardian, UK, 17 Feb 2010 - Flying is a high-emission activity, but travelling in business or first-class can be several times as damaging as seats in economy. "Everyone knows that flying is carbon-intensive. But the footprint of any trip depends on a host of factors in addition to the simple question of how far you are travelling: the aeroplane model, how many seats are empty, how much luggage passengers carry, the time of day and potentially even whether passengers have emptied their bladders before boarding," writes Simon Clark in his environmental blog. "As commentators often point out, economy is clearly lower carbon because it maximizes the number of passengers that each flight can carry. But how exactly much difference does this make?" Read more ...

Algae to solve the Pentagon's jet fuel problem
The Guardian, UK, 13 Feb 2010 - The brains trust of the Pentagon says it is just months away from producing a jet fuel from algae for the same cost as its fossil-fuel equivalent. The claim, which comes from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) that helped to develop the internet and satellite navigation systems, has taken industry insiders by surprise. A cheap, low-carbon fuel would not only help the US military, the nation's single largest consumer of energy, to wean itself off its oil addiction, but would also hold the promise of low-carbon driving and flying for all. Darpa's research projects have already extracted oil from algal ponds at a cost of $2 per gallon. It is now on track to begin large-scale refining of that oil into jet fuel, at a cost of less than $3 a gallon, according to Barbara McQuiston, Special Assistant for Energy at Darpa. Read more ...

SAP cuts business flights by 25 percent for environmental as well as business reasons
ABTN, UK, 10 Feb 2010 - Global software provider SAP slashed the number of flights employees took for work by 25% last year. The company has also banned all employees from travelling in business or first class. SAP has achieved an €89m saving overall, plus it has reduced energy consumption by 7 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent. James Farrar VP - Global Corporate Citizenship for SAP said: "Two percent of all greenhouse gases produced are caused by IT and communications - that's the same as all the airlines combined." He stated the decision for the cut was for both environmental and economic reasons. SAP aims to return to 2000 levels of emissions by 2020. "To achieve this, cutting business flights accounts for a massive proportion." Read more ...

Bosses fail to lead on green travel
ABTN, UK, 9 Feb 2010 - Business travellers' commitment to corporate social responsibility has remained resolute during the recession, but company bosses are setting a bad example to employees, according to a new report. The annual KDS survey, produced in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, heralded news that corporations were sticking to environmental commitments amid huge cost cutting programmes. More than half of the 300 business travellers and procurement bosses polled said their companies were sticking to green targets set before the downturn, but identified bosses as the worst polluters. Some 45 percent of respondents griped about the travel choices of their superiors with the problem particularly acute in France and the United States. Read more ...

Aviation firms showcase green technologies at Singapore Airshow
Channel NewsAsia, 4 Feb 2010 - The aviation industry is committed to a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, and reflecting that challenge is a special green exhibition at the Singapore Airshow this year. Major aviation companies are showcasing the latest environmental technologies at the Green Pavilion at the airshow. "The one positive thing about aviation and going green is green technology is tied to fuel burn. So as you reduce the amount of fuel you burn, you reduce the amount of carbon emissions and that is definitely related to profitability of the airlines," said Paul Finklestein, VP of Marketing at Pratt & Whitney.  Read more ...

Research for the future at the German Aerospace Centre
Space Travel, Germany, 3 Feb 2010 - One of the principal tasks of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is research aimed at the protection of the environment. DLR has taken on numerous challenges for 2010, including research on alternative aviation fuels, contra-rotating open rotor aircraft engines and lightweight, high-strength aerospace materials. DLR's research into aviation follows from the European strategy document 'Vision 2020' and its national annex, 'Aviation 2020'. One of the core concerns is the reduction of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 and 80 percent respectively. In this area, DLR, with its institutes and research facilities, is meeting the full spectrum of aviation challenges. Read more ...

The solid business case for cutting carbon emissions
BusinessDay, South Africa, 28 Jan 2010 - With the threat of suspension from the EU, airlines around the world spent the best part of last year scrambling to put in place plans to meet the new requirements of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. At South African Airways (SAA) it was no different. The EU has capped the industry’s overall footprint to 97 percent of 2004-06 emission in 2012, falling to 95 percent from 2013. That means any growth in traffic to the EU will have huge cost implications, as that growth will have to be paid for in additional carbon credits. Therefore the pressure is to cut carbon emissions by as much as possible. But how will this be achieved? "We look at every aspect of the business, from acquiring new, fuel-efficient aircraft, to reducing weight on board and shortening the track distances flown," says Capt Johnny Woods, SAA's Head of Flight Operations.  Read more ...

High-speed rail wins out over airport expansion
TravelMole, UK, 27 Jan 2010 - Most UK business travellers favour investment in high-speed rail over expansion of airports, a new study shows. A poll of 1,240 corporate travellers found that 70% feel a high-speed rail network should be the priority for government investment over expansion of capacity at UK airports. 60% said high-speed rail when asked what infrastructure would make the biggest difference to them. But the survey revealed that any shift from air to rail would not happen unless a high-speed train system was put in place. 66% of business travellers indicated that they would then switch from flying if the trip was faster by rail. Read more ...

Is biofuel is the green answer to oil-based jet fuel?
BBC News, UK, 24 Jan 2010 - Two of the Middle East's biggest airlines, Etihad and Qatar Airways, have announced plans to run their planes on biofuel. Environmentalists have criticised the growing of biofuel products because it competes with essential food production and causes deforestation in developing countries. In this four-minute webcast, the BBC talks to the airlines, aircraft makers and environmentalists about whether biofuel is the green answer in replacing oil-based jet fuel. Read more ...

Great Plains doubling camelina acreage in 2010 as aviation biofuels darling gains traction
Biofuels Digest, USA, 21 Jan 2010 - Camelina has been much in the news of late, as a biofuels feedstock of strong promise, because of its position as one of the few "sustainable, affordable, reliable, available" feedstocks suitable for aviation biofuels. In November, KLM made the first biofuels test flight with passengers on board, powering one engine with a mixture containing biofuel made from camelina. Great Plains - The Camelina Company provided some of the camelina used to make the fuel for this flight. Earlier, camelina was one of the feedstocks powering the Japan Airlines biofuels test, while the US military has performed ground engine tests on camelina-based jet fuel in preparation for FA-18 Hornet fighter jet flights planned for this spring. Read more ...

Boeing Dreamliner: the promise of greener flying
Daily Telegraph, UK, 19 Jan 2010 - The Boeing Dreamliner promises to be one of the least polluting aircraft ever used for commercial flights, and should go some way to answer criticisms of aviation's environmental record. The Boeing 787, which is due to make its first commercial flight later this year with All Nippon Airways, is expected to change air travel in more ways than one. Not only should it offer passengers greater comfort, but it will also be among the least polluting aircraft ever to enter commercial operation. The new plane will be quieter and use 20% less fuel than aircraft of equivalent size, thanks to greater engine efficiency, the use of lighter composite materials and improved aerodynamics. To a certain extent, the Dreamliner is the aviation industry's response to its portrayal by many green campaigners as one of the bad boys of the global warming story.  Read more ...

Building the alternative aviation fuels coalition
Flight International, UK, 16 Jan 2010 - Interview with Richard Altman, Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), which is working closely with aviation's private and public sectors in a bid to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020. He says more help is needed from the private financial sector, as sourcing capital was the greatest problem facing alternative energy. Altman hopes for more long-term agreements between producers and the airline industry during 2010, as well as completion of hydrotreated renewable jet certification. Read more ...

UAE airlines flying high in race to safeguard environment
Emirates Business 24/7, UAE, 11 Jan 2010 - UAE airlines Emirates, flydubai and Etihad are all in the forefront of efforts to safeguard the environment, according to senior officials. The civil aviation sector as a whole places a special emphasis on the issues of climate change and global warming through the manufacture and purchase of environment-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft. Other measures include the use of shorter navigation tracks and joining the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group. The aviation sector has taken these steps even though the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces does not exceed two per cent of the total generated around the world. Read more ...

Can the aviation industry ever be green?
The Guardian, UK, 8 Jan 2010 - Britain can meet its stretching emissions reduction targets and still keep flying. That, at least, is the view of Ed Miliband, the UK's Energy and Climate Change Secretary, echoed in a report by the Committee on Climate Change. How? By holding aviation emissions no higher than their current level - and cutting the carbon from everything else we do by 90%. Just keeping emissions static will be a huge challenge to the airline industry. It has always reckoned on rising passenger numbers, and demand reduction isn't really in its lexicon. Hit by a recessionary blip, airlines have been warning business customers off teleconferencing in favour of the virtues of face-to-face meetings. Yet at the same time, they have been trumpeting a commitment to the ten year goal of "carbon neutral growth" announced by IATA. Read more ...

Two cheers for new greener jet fuel
BBC, UK, 7 Jan 2010 - Aircraft are often attacked as major cause of global warming. The kerosene they burn is responsible for 2 percent of all the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere every year. But the oil company Shell says it now has a possible solution. It says its researchers in the Gulf state of Qatar have created a potentially much greener fuel from natural gas. Qatar Airways has already experimented with using the fuel. However, there are still drawbacks and issues still to be resolved before airlines snap it up, reports the BBC World Service in this audio broadcast.  Read more ...

USA's first on-site wind turbine at general aviation facility installed
Environmental Leader, USA, 30 Dec 2009 - The General Aviation Facility at Vermont's Burlington International Airport is the first such facility in the U.S. to have installed an on-site wind turbine. The 100 kilowatt wind turbine adds to the facility's new 25 kilowatt solar electric system and a solar thermal hot water system. Heritage Aviation, which owns the facility, is building its resume to achieve LEED certification for its office and hangar facilities. Taken together, the solar and wind systems are expected to offset about $14,600 in energy costs a year, or enough to power about 40 area homes. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority also is working to reduce its emissions and will launch a series of efforts in 2010 to slash greenhouse-gas emissions from aircraft, shuttle buses and other vehicles. Read more ...

Sir Richard Branson: the airline owner on his new war
Daily Telegraph, UK, 28 Dec 2009 - Every weapon in the arsenal must be deployed to reduce carbon dioxide, he argues, from biofuels to greener materials for aeroplane bodies, both through financial penalties for polluters and more funding for technology. He claims that his current goal for the decade is not only to ensure that all his planes run on eco-friendly biofuel mixes by 2015, but to persuade others in the airline industry that they should do the same by 2020. "We do owe it to the world to get our house in order, which is why I want airlines to get together and set an example on lowering emissions. Realizing that flying was part of the problem is why we donate all the profits from Virgin Atlantic to environmental projects," he says. Read more ...

Virgin's Branson says airlines want emissions targets
Reuters, 17 Dec 2009 - The airline industry wants emissions reduction targets rather than taxes and should work to switch to clean fuels by 2020, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said in a Copenhagen interview. He said that airlines would do their part if leaders agreed a climate pact at the Copenhagen talks. "If the governments do not set those targets, then the industries need to get together and set the targets themselves, making sure that they are strong enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees," he said. Branson said that the whole airline industry should be running on clean fuels by 2020, though Virgin aimed to do it by 2015. New lighter-weight aircraft will also be part of the solution, he stated. Read more ...

Southwest's CEO calls cap and trade schemes disastrous
Air Transport Intelligence, UK, 17 Dec 2009 - Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Gary Kelly warns that if proposed cap and trade legislation is finalized by US legislators, it will trigger job cuts and harm the country's gross domestic product. Kelly noted it would be a disaster for the industry. He said that cap and trade is key issue for the airline lobbying group the Air Transport Association of America (ATA). "We don't have a lot of progress to report today," said Kelly. "But we're going to keep going after it." At the time the US House passed its version of cap and trade legislation, the ATA estimated it would cost US airlines approximately $5 billion in 2012 and $10 billion in 2020. Read more ...

LAX nears goal of 70 percent waste diversion by 2015
Airport Business, USA, 15 Dec 2009 - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) sent less than 34 percent of its solid waste to landfills in 2008 and is close to touching down on its goal of 70 percent waste diversion by 2015. The bustling California airport - the sixth busiest in the world - collected and recycled 20,703 tons of waste and diverted an additional 867 tons through the reuse of wooden pallets, cardboard, office paper, scrap metal and donations of packaged and prepared food from airline caterers to local food banks. Tom McHugh, Airport Maintenance Superintendent who coordinates recycling, said the diversion rate at LAX has been steadily climbing in the last several years and has teetered even closer to the 70 percent diversion mark that all California cities are required to achieve by 2020 according to state law.  Read more ...

Copenhagen: support for a global tax on shipping and aviation grows
Daily Telegraph, UK, 14 Dec 2009 - Support for a global tax or emissions trading scheme for shipping and aviation is growing at the Copenhagen climate change talks, according to two sources close to European Union negotiators. If agreed at the tense Copenhagen summit, the money is likely to go towards a £100bn "climate aid" fund to help poorer states deal with global warming. Either a tax or emissions trading system specifically for these industries could provide up to a quarter of this amount. The UK Government prefers the concept of global emissions trading over taxes on aviation and shipping. It is looking closely at plans to regulate both sectors more heavily to provide "innovative sources of financing" for the fund. Read more ...

Company wants to turn poultry fat into jet fuel at Iowa plant
Chicago Tribune, USA, 13 Dec 2009 - Illinois-based Elevance Renewable Sciences plans to build a $15 million plant that could soon begin producing jet fuel from poultry fat. The experimental operation plans to use plant oils and poultry fat as building blocks to replace petroleum-based chemicals used to make myriad products, including jet fuel, lubricants, adhesives and even cosmetics and candles. The project, funded in part by $2.5 million from the US Department of Energy, could get the final go-ahead by late January. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the US poultry industry produces about 1.4 billion pounds of poultry fat every year. Using Elevance's technology, that fat could produce about 250 million gallons of products including diesel fuel, jet fuel and specialty chemicals that can replace petroleum products. A biofuels processor needs the fat from about 50 chickens to make one gallon of fuel. Read more ...

US jet fuel biorefinery projects receive $100 million grant money
Air Transport Intelligence, UK, 11 Dec 2009 - Four companies with biorefinery projects targeting alternative jet fuel production will receive grant money totalling up to $100 million from the US Energy Department. Honeywell subsidiary UOP, algae-based fuel developer Sapphire Energy, chemical producer Elevance Renewable Sciences and biorefineries developer ClearFuels Technology will receive funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as the federal government seeks to accelerate the construction and operation of biorefinery facilities in the US. The Energy Department funding announcement comes as voluntary standards development organisation ASTM International is expected to begin the certification process for bio-derived jet fuels in 2010. Read more ...

Cut in carbon emissions may have dire consequences on vacation plans
Fox News, USA, 10 Dec 2009 - If the US fulfills its pledge to shrink greenhouse gas emission, the carbon dioxide reductions will force a host of unintended consequences on a major sector of the US economy - the travel and tourism industries. The Environmental Protection Agency underscored the threat of greenhouse gases when it released its so-called "endangerment finding", outlining public health risks associated with carbon emissions. And the Obama administration has pledged to work closely with Congress as its looks to pass clean energy reform legislation that will eventually lower carbon gas emission by more than 80 percent. This could lead to big cuts to the travel and tourism industry, higher airline prices and a potential increase in taxes on air travel. Domestic airlines consumed 929,849,433 gallons of jet fuel in October, producing 11.1 million tons of carbon dioxide in that month alone.  Read more ...

Aviation rivals rally for 'green manifesto'
Daily Telegraph, UK, 28 Nov 2009 - The UK aviation industry is to publish a 'green manifesto' detailing how it will hit CO2 emission targets and demanding that it faces no new domestic taxes or unilateral action by the British Government. With fears within the sector rising that David Kennedy, the Chief Executive of the Government's Committee on Climate Change, will outline draconian new controls when the Committee publishes its UK aviation report next week, one-time commercial enemies within the sector representing tens of thousands of employees have agreed to sign up to the document. Airlines, airports and aerospace manufacturers are all signatories to the Sustainable Aviation Manifesto. It calls for a single global framework for emissions, which it says is needed to stop "differential impact" of nationally-imposed targets that would damage the UK industry. Read more ...

KLM biofuel flight fuels hopes for green airlines
Sunday Times, UK, 29 Nov 2009 - At Amsterdam's Schiphol airport last Monday a gaggle of aviation executives, politicians and journalists trooped aboard a KLM jumbo jet for a flight to nowhere. The trip was uneventful - the plane and its 40 occupants circled above Holland for a couple of hours before landing where it took off. However, in a small way, it was historic. It was the first flight by a biofuel-powered airliner to carry passengers. Despite the limited experiments to date - Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and a clutch of other carriers have run test flights without passengers - airline executives are thrilled with biofuels. Their industry is a target for politicians and environmentalists in the crusade against carbon dioxide emissions and the prospect of a fuel that will allow the industry to grow while reducing its emissions is enticing. Read more ...

Clouds created by jets cut out Britain's sunshine, discovers researchers
Sunday Times, UK, 29 Nov 2009 - Clouds generated by a single jet aircraft can reduce sunshine levels over thousands of square miles, researchers have found. The UK Met Office used satellites to watch the vapour trail of an aircraft flying over the North Sea on a sunny day earlier this year. Researchers had expected high-level winds to rip the trail apart and disperse it, but the opposite happened. The vapour trail - made up of soot and tiny ice crystals - seemed to act as a catalyst for more clouds to form. The clouds kept on growing even as they were blown southwards until eventually they formed a hazy high-level blanket of cirrus cloud across southeast England. Since hundreds of jets fly over Britain each day, the collective impact from such clouds could be huge. Read more ...

Paying more for flights eases guilt, not emissions - organizations review their carbon offset programmes
New York Times, USA, 17 Nov 2009 - In 2002 Responsible Travel became one of the first travel companies to offer customers the option of buying so-called carbon offsets to counter the planet-warming emissions generated by their airline flights. But last month it cancelled the programme, saying that while it might help travellers feel virtuous, it was not helping to reduce global emissions. In fact, company officials said, it might even encourage some people to travel or consume more. Responsible Travel is not the only organization that has changed its mind about the usefulness of offsets: Yahoo and the US House of Representatives both ended trial offset-purchase programmes this year, concluding that the money was better spent on improving their buildings' energy efficiency. Some of the world's leading experts on the emissions issue have reviewed and rejected purchasing offsets for air travel.  Read more ...

Falling polar bears put Plane Stupid shocking cinema ad on course for controversy
The Guardian, UK, 20 Nov 2009 - Airline pollution activists Plane Stupid are on a collision course with the advertising regulator after launching a graphic cinema and online campaign that sees CGI polar bears falling to bloody deaths to highlight the impact of carbon emissions. The ad features animated polar bears falling from the sky onto a city centre, bouncing off skyscrapers and landing in the street and on the roof of a car, accompanied by blood-spurting special effects. The only sound, apart from the bone-crunching thump of the impacts, is the steadily increasing whine of a jet airliner's engines. Plane Stupid said that the ad was inspired by the fact that an average European flight produces 400kg of carbon, which it claims is the same weight as an average female polar bear. Read more ...

Alternative fuel "can power 15 percent of flights by 2020"
Agence France Presse/Google, 17 Nov 2009 - Alternative fuels from sustainable sources could power 15 percent of global air traffic by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030, European aircraft-maker Airbus said at the Dubai Airshow. The challenge is finding sustainable feedstocks that do not take land and water used for food production, said Ross Walker, Engineering Programme Manager for alternative fuels at Airbus. "If an area the size of the United Arab Emirates were planted with algae, it could produce enough bio jet fuel to support the world's civil aviation industry," he said. Read more ...

Air Passenger Duty condemned by tourism ministers from 100 countries
Daily Telegraph, UK, 13 Nov 2009 - Tourism ministers from more than 100 countries have strongly criticized the increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) imposed by the UK Government. The condemnation of the travel tax, which was raised on November 1 and is due to rise again in a year's time, came at a summit organized by the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) in London. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the WTO, called on the Government to rethink the tax. "APD is not an environmental measure, it is an anti-development measure," he said. "The British Government says it is committed to promoting development in poorer countries, yet it has introduced a tax that is a terrible blow to their development." Read more ...

EU research budget cannot cut aircraft emissions says UK agency
Flight International, UK, 12 Nov 2009 - Europe is not spending enough on aerospace research and development to reach its newly agreed target for slashing aviation emissions. This is the warning from the UK Government's Aerospace and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network, which has begun a consultation process that could kick off a new multi-project, multi-year UK national technology programme in 2011. Read more ...

Jet plains: do grasses, woods, mustards grown in the heartlands hold the key for aviation fuels?
Biofuels Digest, USA, 11 Nov 2009 - Ceres, ViaSpace, Sustainable Oils, Solazyme are among R&D leaders aiming to turn America's heartland into a high-tech advanced biofuels playground of energy grasses and camelina for advanced transportation biofuels and aviation fuel. 60 billion gallons of aviation fuel - all of it up for grabs for those biofuel producers who can develop the feedstocks and the processing technologies to make affordable, sustainable biofuels. At $2.50 per refined gallon, it is a $150 billion market today - perhaps more in the future. Read more ...

SAS claims lead in lean fuel operations
Flight International, UK, 6 Nov 2009 - Driven by a potent combination of industry recession, fuel prices and ecological pressures, airlines are looking for ways of saving fuel. SAS, which has been working since 2007 to refine new operational techniques, says airlines cannot wait for technological 'hard' fixes, so they are having to be inventive with 'soft' measures that can deliver results in the near term. Read more ...

Carbon trading – does it really reduce emissions?
BBC, UK, 5 Nov 2009 - Carbon trading could trigger a financial collapse like the sub-prime loans crisis, according to a new report from the green group Friends of the Earth (FoE). It is the latest in a series of assaults against carbon trading as the Copenhagen climate conference looms. The carbon trade allows dirty industries in rich countries to offset emissions targets by paying for clean development projects in poor countries. London is a major centre for the trade, which could reach trillions of dollars in the next few decades. But FoE says most trades are done not by polluting industries, but by speculative traders packaging carbon credits into complex financial products similar to those which triggered the sub-prime mortgage crash. It warns that this could lead to a future crisis of sub-prime carbon.  Read more ...

Sasol makes strides towards alternative fuels for aviation
Business Day, South Africa, 4 Nov 2009 - Oil companies around the world are forging ahead with the development of alternative fuels for the aviation industry, and petrochemicals giant Sasol is no exception. Sasol has already made significant strides in the use of coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel for aviation, and recently, along with the global oil industry, won approval for the wider use of synthetic fuels. The move to new fuel sources took a major step forward in September when ASTM International, the global standards body, approved the use of a 50 percent blend of synthetic fuel with traditional crude-based jet fuel. "This has opened the door for Sasol to supply the airline industry with a blended gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel from its various plants," said Paul Morgan, Manager of Fuel Technology at Sasol. Read more ...

American, Air France reschedule AIRE transatlantic emissions reduction demos
Flight International, UK, 23 Oct 2009 - American Airlines and Air France are preparing to demonstrate next generation technologies and procedures designed to cut noise pollution and carbon emissions and conserve fuel after test flights originally scheduled for June were postponed following a fatal Air France Airbus A330 crash. Both carriers will operate one precision altitude flight on 7 December between Paris Charles De Gaulle and Miami International airports. The tests are part of the carriers' involvement in the in Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE), a joint initiative among several airlines, the European Commission and the FAA. Read more ...

Continental Airlines executives encourage consistency in emissions regulations
Flight International, UK, 26 Oct 2009 - Management at Continental Airlines is hopeful governments will take action against the European Union's emissions trading scheme, but in the mean time the carrier and its counterparts are preparing to handle the requirements of the new regulation. The European Union's plan to expand ETS to include aviation from 2012 has ignited controversy since it will cover all carriers operating flights to the EU. During a recent analysts call Continental President Jeff Smisek explained the hope is one or more governments will sue to prevent the enactment of the ETS, "because clearly it is illegal from an extraterritorial perspective". Read more ...

European business aviation group criticizes ETS execution
Aviation International News, US, 20 Oct 2009 - Many business aircraft operators who fly into European airspace will be required to account for the carbon they emit and ensure that they have bought enough carbon credits to cover this output when Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is fully up and running in January 2012. According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), of some 6,000 operators on the European Commission list for ETS, around 5,000 collectively account for less than one percent of total CO2 emissions. "This proves that the decision to include corporate operators in ETS was ridiculous," said EBAA President and CEO Brian Humphries. "It is a bad regulation, badly executed." Read more ...

Guilt-free flying - Can flying be ever green?
BBC Radio, UK, 22 Oct 2009 - BBC Radio 4 programme 'Costing the Earth' looks at the issues surrounding aviation's impact on the environment and climate change. Reporter Tom Heap interviews Willie Walsh, British Airways' CEO; Steve Ridgeway, Virgin Atlantic's CEO; Vicky Wyatt of Greenpeace; Professor David Lee of Manchester Metropolitan University; Ian Jopson, UK CAA; and pilot and green aviation enthusiast Bruce Dickinson of rock band Iron Maiden. The programme looks at possible technology solutions including ATC improvements, biofuels and the rebirth of the airship. The programme can be listened to at the BBC/Costing the Earth website. Read more ...

Plane answers: airlines see green in appearing green
Gadling, US, 15 Oct 2009 - Airlines have gone to great lengths to operate efficiently in their struggle to survive, but some companies are touting practices they hope will cast them as greener than the rest. What's hype and what's really effective in reducing an airline's fuel emissions? Since the price of fuel represents as much as 40% of an airline's expenses, the industry has been on a quest for new technology and operating techniques to fly in a more efficient manner. But if every airline is doing it, how can one company set themselves apart from their competitors and declare themselves the most green airline? Read more ...

Boeing looks at greener partnerships in China for aviation biofuels
China Daily, China, 12 Oct 2009 - After producing aircraft components for Boeing for more than two decades, China is expected to become the US airplane manufacturer's research and development partner for environmentally friendly technologies that will make the aviation industry greener. A key part of the partnership will be to develop biofuels that will allow the aviation industry to have a low-carbon lifecycle footprint, said Matthew Ganz, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Research & Technology, a central R&D unit of The Boeing Co. Boeing is currently in talks with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and several Chinese universities about the potential partnership, Ganz said. But he declined to release further details about the form of the partnership and the amount of investment involved. China has been promoting the development of biofuel plantations to reduce the country's dependence on imported crude oil. The country is expected to have 13 million hectares of biofuel plantations by 2020 that can yield 6 million tons of biodiesel annually, Xinhua News Agency reported. Read more ...

Plastics remain a weight-saving hope
Plastics News, US, 5 Oct 2009 - While problems with plastic composites have repeatedly delayed Boeing's next-generation 787 Dreamliner airplane, some aviation industry executives continue to see a role for polymers in helping airlines reduce weight and improve their environmental footprint. The airline industry continues to look hard at plastic composites and other new materials as it faces increasing pressure to reduce fuel consumption and cut the environmental impact from flying, according to aviation industry executives. But, they say, plastics must improve performance to meet stringent tests that require things like withstanding crash forces of 16 times gravity. Read more ...

Aviation takes lead on emissions
Wall Street Journal, US, 10 Oct 2009 - The global aviation industry and countries around the world are finding more common ground to set goals to battle long-term climate change, the head of the International Air Transport Association said Saturday. Late Friday, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a body representing nearly 200 countries on aviation issues, for the first time issued a declaration with targets for cutting the amount of harmful emissions that the aviation industry puts into the air. In a conference call from Montreal, IATA Chief Executive Giovanni Bisignani said the results were better than he had expected when the diverse group began its meeting Thursday, although there is still a gap in the goals of industry and governments. Read more ...

Capping carbon - Getting air traffic under control
Time, US, Oct 2009 - It's bad enough that an archaic air traffic control system has led to pitiful performance: nearly 25 percent of US flights were late in 2008. But inefficiencies in the air and on the ground caused by the system also mean fuel wasted and carbon dioxide emitted at the very time when the air travel industry is coming under scrutiny for its role in climate change. Though airlines contribute only about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, that figure is set to rise as air travel expands, especially in the developing world. And for frequent travellers, flights can enlarge their personal carbon footprint – a round-trip journey between New York City and London emits 1.5 metric tons of CO2 per passenger. Read more ...

European ETS fiasco riles business aviation
Aviation International News, UK, 1 Oct 2009 - The bureaucratic torpor and confusion that has mired the initial registration process for the introduction of Europe's new emissions trading scheme (ETS) has brought the cap-and-trade approach to reducing aviation's carbon footprint into disrepute, according to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). The group is launching a new lobbying effort aimed at convincing members of the European Parliament that, as it predicted, the cost burden entailed in bringing small operators into ETS has vastly outweighed the minuscule contribution that these aircraft make to air transport's combined output of carbon dioxide. What's more, according to EBAA president and CEO Brian Humphries, ETS now threatens to have the unintended consequence of delivering a competitive advantage to those non-European executive charter operators who have managed to escape the requirement to report and trade in carbon emissions. Read more ...

Environmental Protection Agency seeks to limit plane de-icing chemical runoff
Associated Press, US, 29 Sep 2009 - Every winter, airports across the country spray millions of gallons of de-icing chemicals onto airliners and allow the runoff to trickle away. When the chemicals end up in nearby waterways, the de-icing fluid can turn streams bright orange and create dead zones for aquatic life. The practice is legal, but environmental officials want it to stop. "We normally don't think of airports as one of our major polluting facilities," said Chuck Corell, water quality bureau chief with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "I think it's safe to say that for years it was unchecked." Not every airport lets the chemicals drain off the tarmac uncollected, but those that do range from some of the nation's largest – including John F. Kennedy in New York and Chicago's O'Hare – to small regional airports such as the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids. Both activists and federal environmental officials say the chemicals slowly create waterways that won't support life. Read more ...

Senate climate bill seeks airplane emissions cuts
Reuters, 29 Sep 2009 - Commercial airlines would have to fly new planes that emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions under a US Senate climate change bill that is set to be introduced on 30 September. The legislation would require the government to write standards "applicable to emissions of greenhouse gases from new aircraft and new engines used in aircraft by December 31, 2012", according to a draft copy of the bill obtained by Reuters. The Environmental Protection Agency would consult with the Federal Aviation Administration in setting the aircraft emissions standards, according to the bill. To make sure aircraft and engine makers could meet the emissions goals, the government would be required to consider the technology that will be available at the time the standards take effect and it must consider the "cost, energy, and safety factors associated with the application of such technology." Read more ...

EU to propose climate action on planes, ships
Reuters, 27 Sep 2009 - Aviation and shipping should cut their respective carbon dioxide emissions to 10 and 20 percent below 2005 levels over the next decade, the European Union is likely to propose at global climate talks this week. EU diplomats said the cuts might be linked to a tax on fuel to generate billions of dollars of revenues to help poor countries cope with climate change - a key contribution to finding a global climate deal by December. "We are concerned about the slow international negotiations and are keen to shift gear," said an EU diplomat involved with the proposal. "This is a concrete measure from the EU side in order to contribute to this step-up." After fine-tuning the proposal, the EU will present it at a meeting in Bangkok where climate negotiators from up to 190 nations will try to revive momentum towards a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol from 2013.  Read more ...

Will new GPS system save US airline fuel and curb emissions?
The Daily Green, US, 22 Sep 2009 - By 2011, US airports will process 2.75 billion passengers, a nearly 30 percent increase from 2006, according to IATA. With staggering growth comes staggering pollution from an industry already one of the top contributors of carbon emissions, not to mention dangerous congestion that costs airlines, flyers and businesses $9.4 billion each year. The aviation sector is becoming increasingly aware of its big environmental footprint, as evidenced by the announcement of an industry-wide goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions to half the 2005 levels by 2050. Even so, Greenpeace has criticized the announcement as hollow and too little, too late. Still, it's clear airlines will soon be asked to do their part, and one of the tools at hand is likely to be a close look at the current air traffic control system, which is archaic and inefficient. It's a system based on World War II-era technology: radar. "Radar is extraordinarily safe, but we need improved efficiency," said Mike Wilson, president of ITT, Advanced Engineering and Sciences, the company charged with implementing the GPS-based system that will revolutionize the skies, called ADS-B. "(And) with efficiency, you will get reductions in fuel and emissions." Read more ...

Final EPA rule limits impact on aviation
Aviation Week, US, 22 Sep 2009 - The US Environmental Protection Agency's final rule on collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data largely spares the aviation industry from onerous additional data collection requirements. The rule requires manufacturers of turbofans and turbojets rated at more than 6,000 lb. thrust to report CO2 emission rates beginning in 2011, for all engines in production, but this will use existing data and not require any new testing. Manufacturers will be required to report NOx emissions data directly to EPA, the agency deciding it did not have sufficient access to and detail on the data already provided to the International Civil Aviation Organization and forwarded on to the FAA. The final rule does not require any additional reporting by aircraft operators, accepting that in-flight GHG emissions can be derived from fuel-burn data already routinely reported by airlines to the Transportation Dept. Read more ...

Aviation industry chews over ways to reduce emissions
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, US, 22 Sep 2009 - The US and world aviation industry is facing a struggle to dramatically improve fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gases and other emissions over the next decade or two, even as the volume of air travel worldwide is expected to double. Aviation industry officials meeting in Dallas said aircraft and engine manufacturers and other suppliers all must take immediate steps so airlines and private aircraft operators can cope with impending environmental regulations and fees or taxes. The European Union is already working on implementing a broad range of greenhouse gas emissions fees that will be levied beginning in 2012 and the US will likely follow suit, said Peter Bunce, President of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Read more ...

Airbus needs extra cash for new greener and faster planes
Reuters, 24 Sep 2009 - Airbus needs at least an extra 800 million euros ($1.2 billion) over six years to develop greener and faster planes, Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier told Le Figaro newspaper. By 2015, the new Airbus planes would emit 50 percent less carbon dioxide and would be 50 percent less noisy, thanks to new "open rotors" reactors placed on the back of the plane, rather than on the wings, Bregier said. Read more ...

Aviation emissions cannot grow unchecked, says UK Transport Secretary
ABTN, UK, 18 Sep 2009 - The task facing the world was to build an industry which met people's needs while also managing its environmental impact, said Lord Adonis. Speaking at the London Aviation Club, he added: "Building a cleaner, greener aviation sector is a vital part of this. The global recession cannot be an excuse for pressing the pause button on our commitments to address climate change." He said he believed there was now a "broad consensus" that emissions could be cut while allowing "reasonable" growth in the industry. But this required four conditions. Read more ...

UK Transport Secretary says the increase in Air Passenger Duty enough to cover industry's climate impact
ABTN, UK, 10 Sep 2009 - There will be no immediate increases in British taxes on aviation, Lord Adonis, the UK transport secretary said. He told a conference in London that the rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD) in November would currently be enough for the airline industry's contribution to curbing global warming. But Lord Adonis said it was possible there could be future rise in APD. APD which raises £1.9bn ($3bn) a year for the UK Treasury, is due to rise from £10 to £11 per passenger for short haul trips. For long haul flights it will go up from £40 to £45 and for trips of more than 6,000 miles, it will increase carry an extra charge of £55 on top of the £45. All the charges are due to rise again in 2010. The minister was replying to questions as to whether the government planned aviation tax increases in the light of the advice of the Committee for Climate Change (CCC). Read more ...

Airlines vow to halve carbon emissions by 2050
The Guardian, UK, 21 Sep 2009 - The aviation industry will tomorrow make a dramatic pledge to slash carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2050 in a move that will force up air fares and spark a green technology race among aircraft manufacturers. The British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, will unveil an agreement between airlines, airports and aircraft companies to cut emissions to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. In a bid to seize the initiative from environmental groups clamouring for higher taxes on the industry, the plan will be presented to world leaders at the United Nations forum on climate change in New York. Airlines have been accused of dragging their heels over climate change, but the strategic shift reflects industry concerns that it could be ambushed at the global warming summit in Copenhagen in December if it does not address its growing emissions. Read more ...

Quieter, cleaner, safer skies? Sign us up
The News Tribune, USA, 1 Sep 2009 - Boeing 737s land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport many times a day, but a recent 3am arrival was something special. An Alaska Airlines jet touched down carrying 40 engineers and technicians who were on hand to witness a test run of the future of air travel. Their landing was characterized by a short approach, a smooth descent, and minimal chatter between the pilots and air traffic controllers. The flight was a demonstration of a new satellite-based airplane navigation system pioneered by Alaska. At Sea-Tac alone, Alaska predicts the technology could reduce overflight noise for 750,000 Seattle-area residents, save 2.1 million gallons of fuel a year and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 25,000 tons annually. Read more ...

Going green: the optimist's view
ABTN, UK, 27 Aug 2009 - There cannot have been much comfort in recent surveys for those committed to sustainability. Most seem to find that the recession has pushed green issues down the agenda with the Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey earlier this month revealing that just 1 percent of its respondents saying they would not travel less because of environmental considerations. This is likely to have left many greens with a sense of despair that the message will never get across. But not Leilani Latimer, Sabre Holding's Director for Sustainability Initiatives. She is still brimming with optimism that the green arguments will win through. Read more ...

Travellers unwilling to pay more for green travel
TravelAgentCentral, USA, 25 Aug 2009 - US travellers are more familiar with sustainable travel terminology than they were two years ago but remain unwilling to pay more for eco-friendly travel options, according to the July travelhorizons, the quarterly consumer survey co-authored by the U.S. Travel Association and Ypartnership. The percentage of American travellers who consider themselves "environmentally conscious" has not changed since 2007 (78 percent). However, there has been a remarkable increase in the percentage who report familiarity with the term "carbon footprint" (from 12 percent in July 2007 to 54 percent in July 2009). Awareness of the term "green travel" also improved from 9 percent in July 2007 to 22 percent in July 2009. Despite these increases, only 3 percent have purchased a carbon offset when booking travel. Read more ...

Airlines stung by European CO2 limits
Business Week, USA, 26 Aug 2009 - Thousands of airlines are set to face problems in flying into the European Union from 2012 unless they join the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the European Commission has said, although a number of member states at the same time continue to bankroll the sector that is the fastest growing source of transport greenhouse gases to the tune of millions of euros. Some 4,000 companies including the likes of KLM, Qantas and United, alongside business jet operators and even national air forces were listed in the bloc's official gazette as operators must work to reduce their carbon emissions. The bloc adopted legislation in January of this year that requires aviation emissions to reduce by three percent on 2005 levels by 2012 and five percent by 2013. Read more ...

High-speed trains 'not the answer' for cutting emissions
EurActiv, 24 Aug 2009 - Heavy investment in high-speed train networks is not a viable strategy for fighting climate change and could place an excessively heavy burden on taxpayers, a report by a Swedish expert group has found. The report, published by the Expert Group for Environmental Studies, an independent state body under the auspices of the Swedish Department of Finance, argues that a "political consensus has emerged that investing in high-speed railways can contribute to economic growth and reduced carbon emissions". However, following a lengthy quantitative investigation, the authors have concluded that in reality, the carbon-reducing impact of these networks is minimal, and should not be sold to EU citizens as a realistic 'green' policy. Read more ...

Airlines follow IATA guidance to make ETS submissions 'under protest'
Air Transport World, USA, 24 Aug 2009 - A number of carriers falling within the scope of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme have submitted or will submit their first monitoring and reporting plans "under protest" following advice from IATA. IATA emphasized that it is advising carriers to comply with the current ETS submission requirements so that they do not get penalized for noncompliance when airlines become part of the scheme in 2012. Noncompliance could include a ban on flying into Europe and/or withdrawal of a carrier's right to free emissions allowances. The US Air Transport Assn. is taking a similar position and also is advising members to comply "under protest". Read more ...

EU: Airlines must join emissions trading plan or face penalty
USA Today, 24 Aug 2009 - Nearly 4,000 commercial airlines, business jet operators and air forces from around the world will have to join the European Union greenhouse gas emissions trading plan by 2012 or be penalized when flying to the continent, the EU said Saturday. The bloc's official gazette published Saturday the list of operators, which includes major airlines such as Lufthansa, Alitalia, Qantas, KLM, Emirates, US Airways and United. Also listed are European airplane manufacturers Airbus and Dassault, hundreds of private business jet operators, as well as a number of military services such as the US Navy and the air forces of Israel and Russia. Read more ...

Airline emissions scheme deadlines loom
Flight International, UK, 19 Aug 2009 - With the first reporting stages for Europe's inclusion of aviation into its emissions trading system just months away, the process is already facing delays, concerns many smaller operators are not ready and the continued possibility of legal challenges. Under the controversial expansion of the EU ETS to include aviation, airlines operating flights into the EU regardless of their country of origin will be covered by the scheme from 2012. The European Commission has now published a revised list, covering nearly 4,000 air operators, which historically would have come under the scheme, to assign a member state to administrate their contribution. Read more ...

How to turn seawater into jet fuel
New Scientist, UK, 18 Aug 2009 - Faced with global warming and potential oil shortages, the US Navy is experimenting with making jet fuel from seawater. Navy chemists have processed seawater into unsaturated short-chain hydrocarbons that with further refining could be made into kerosene-based jet fuel. But they will have to find a clean energy source to power the reactions if the end product is to be carbon neutral. The process involves extracting carbon dioxide dissolved in the water and combining it with hydrogen - obtained by splitting water molecules using electricity – to make a hydrocarbon fuel. Read more ...

Europe leads the way in greener airlines
Environmental Leader, US, 14 Aug 2009 - The airline industry will be the first in the US to face a cap on its greenhouse gas emissions, as the European Union readies a list of airlines it will regulate under its cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide, reports the New York Times. More than 700 airlines registered in the US are on the preliminary list, though smaller carriers will likely be dropped. Despite the debate over carbon caps in the aviation industry, European airports are moving forward with plans to reduce their emissions. As an example, BAA is giving its airport terminal Heathrow East a $1.65 billion green makeover, which is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent compared to the other buildings. Read more ...

Airlines will be first US industry to confront cap and trade
The New York Times, US, 12 Aug 2009 - The first US industry to face a cap on its greenhouse gas emissions is not, as may be expected, the coal-burning power utilities. It's not the oil refineries, churning through crude. It's not the automakers, manufacturing again. It's the airline industry. Sometime this month, the European Union will release a list of airlines it will regulate under its existing cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide. Beginning in 2012, all international flights landing in the region must abide by the regulations. And several airlines on that list will have a decidedly New World feel: Delta, United and American. They are not alone. The move to regulate what is an international business typically governed by treaty has raised hackles from airlines and governments around the world. Many see its position as a violation of national sovereignty - or simply bad for business.  Read more ...

Going green: just who actually cares?
ABTN, UK, 10 Aug 2009 - Does the environment really matter in business travel? There seems to be a steady drip of surveys finding that environmental issues take second place to economic ones when companies consider their bottom line. That being the case, the latest findings of the annual Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey that the "deciding factor" in decisions on travel spend is short term economics, "not longer term environmental impact", should come as no surprise. But what is startling about the findings of this poll are some of the figures it has thrown up. For example only 1 percent of the 2,202 people polled, including CEOs, chairmen, non-executives, financial directors, executive directors, managers and personal assistants, said they would travel less because of environmental reasons. Read more ...

I’m in a dirty old business but I try, says airline chief Richard Branson
Sunday Times, UK, 9 Aug 2009 – Sir Richard Branson has spent £100m ($160m) buying stakes in clean-fuel companies in an effort to uncover an alchemy for today: turning the base metal of crops into the solid gold of clean fuel. He started with coconut oil before moving on to ethanol but dumped that when it became clear that it freezes at 15,000ft. Now, he thinks he has found the answer. "Isobutanol is wonderful," he said. He has sunk several million pounds into a California-based firm called Gevo that makes the fuel. Branson's aim is that in five years some or all of Virgin Atlantic's planes will be running on isobutanol and that he will be selling it to rivals. Read more ...

Academic sets aviation industry challenge on climate change
TravelMole, UK, 1 Aug 2009 - The discussions about aviation emissions are 'hotting up' as negotiations begin ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. The aviation industry is under increasing pressure to step up and make its contribution to the essential reductions in global emissions. The G8 in July pressed the aviation sector to make their contribution outside of the national carbon account targets, writes Prof Harold Goodwin of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. The aviation industry is the "first global industry to commit to a carbon-neutral growth target by 2020". Yet the strategy for achieving this seems to be based on the vain hope for some magic, non-polluting fuel. Neither ICAO nor IATA can be held accountable for achieving this target. Read more ...

Aviation industry prepares biofuels for take off
BusinessGreen, UK, 3 Aug 2009 - The aviation industry is on target to certify the first jet biofuels for commercial use by 2011, according to a senior executive at one of the world's largest jet engine manufacturers. Dr Alan H Epstein, Vice President Technology and Environment at Pratt & Whitney, said the company was confident that the industry's efforts to develop biofuels were on track to attain the official certification new fuels require to be used commercially during 2011.  Read more ...

Heathrow airport noise pollution study 'illogical', says top aviation scientist
Surrey Comet, UK, 1 Aug 2009 – The UK air industry regulator's former chief scientist has called on the UK Government to commission a new study into the effects of aircraft noise on residents around Heathrow Airport. Anti-expansion campaigners and local councils said the call could be used as part of a in a legal challenge against the planned expansion. Professor Peter Brooker - who worked as chief scientist at the Civil Aviation Authority from 1991 to 1998 - said the Government's position on the aircraft noise was "illogical". A new study was necessary because previous reports were either inconclusive or outdated, he said. Read more ...

Electric overtakes alternate fuels in the greening of general aviation
Flight International, UK, 30 July 2009 - All-electric light sport aircraft look set to lead the greening of general aviation in the USA as battery-powered products vie for sales by 2011, while alternate hydrocarbon fuels creep forward with no champion product. However, also holding promise are unleaded gasoline type alternate fuels for general aviation. Unleaded fuel is the subject of ongoing work by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Read more ...

Algae: The ultimate biofuel?
EurActiv, Belgium, 27 July 2009 - With traditional biofuels under fire for driving up food prices and wreaking environmental havoc, industrialists are stepping up research into algae as a sustainable alternative - but many obstacles remain before algae oil finds its way into our cars and planes. However, algae are considered the most efficient organisms on earth, because of their rapid growth rate (some species can double their biomass in a day) and their high oil content. According to US oil giant ExxonMobil, which recently launched a $600 million research and development project on the issue, algae could yield more than 2,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year of production (7,580 litres).  Read more ...

Low NOx combustors target of new NASA funding
Flight International, UK, 21 July 2009 - NASA intends to invest $14 million in a new 50/50 cost-share programme with industry to identify and test jet engine combustion concepts that could reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions as much as 50 percent below today's CAEP/6 levels in the 2020 timeframe. Read more ...

Who's behind the plan to pave New York's Central Park and build an airport?
The Guardian, UK, 24 July 2009 - "Environmentalists rally in support of Manhattan airport". That got your attention, didn't it? And that was precisely the intention of the Manhattan Airport Foundation, a mysterious organization that has outlaid its proposals to bulldoze Central Park in New York city and build an airport instead. The foundation put out a press release saying that the "Triborough Association for Fair Treatment" - a group it says lobbies to get legislation drafted to help protect migratory birds from aircraft strikes - was putting its full support behind the building of a new airport in the heart of Manhattan. It's all nonsense, of course. The whole thing is a hoax - one that's been getting plenty of attention and managing to snare a few suckers along the way, too. Read more ...

Plans to reduce rising emissions from global shipping falter at key international meeting
BBC, UK, 17 July 2009 - The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has delayed a decision to raise the cost of ships' fuel and use the money to help poor nations tackle climate change. Delegates from developing countries complained that rich nations had reneged on other promises. Environmental groups criticized the lack of progress, saying that the world could not afford to wait any longer. When the Kyoto Protocol was agreed, the shipping and aviation sectors were left out because no-one could agree on how the emissions should be allocated. The IMO was given the task of finding a way around the problem, but there has been little progress to date. Read more ...

Low-cost carrier AirTran Airways joins environmental sustainability programme
Atlanta Business Chronicle, USA, 10 July 2009 - AirTran Airways is joining with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reduce the low-cost carrier's environmental impact. Orlando, Florida-based AirTran, which has its largest hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, was recognized by DNR as a bronze level member of the state's Partnership for a Sustainable Georgia campaign. As part of the pact, AirTran has agreed to assess its environmental impact and develop programmes to reduce such things as its carbon footprint, water usage, solid waste disposal and fuel consumption. The company, with the help of an employee advisory committee, will identify goals to reduce waste, and under DNR guidelines, will have three years to achieve them. Read more ...

Brussels agrees business aviation emissions concession on EU Emissions Trading Scheme
Flight International, UK, 13 July 2009 - Brussels has finally agreed to allow the business aviation community to bypass the complex monitoring and reporting rules governing how much carbon its members emit before the EU Emissions Trading Scheme goes live. Last week, European business aviation chiefs met with European Commission environment officials and agreed that small emitters below an annual threshold of 10,000t of carbon dioxide - or those operating fewer than 243 flights every three months - need only send their reporting plans to their respective supervising national authorities by the 31 August deadline. This signals that they will opt for a simplified procedure that relieves the administrative burden. Read more ...

We have the only alternative fuels approved for commercial aviation, says Rentech CEO
BNET, USA, 13 July 2009 - Los Angeles-based Rentech CEO D. Hunt Ramsbottom says his company uses the well-established Fischer-Tropsch process to convert "any carbon-bearing technology into jet fuel and diesel." He claims: "We have the only alternative fuels approved for commercial aviation," and adds the company has sold Jet A fuel to some as-yet-unidentified commercial customers, and to the US Air Force. Pending federal approval, the first revenue flight on biofuel will take place shortly. Rentech is also trying to turn waste streams into fuel. For instance, its Rialto, California plant proposes to convert town-collected grass clippings into 600 barrels of diesel fuel daily, plus 49 megawatts of renewable power (enough for 30,000 homes). The diesel fuel produced will, among other things, power ground equipment at Los Angeles' LAX airport. Read more ...

We will protect air travel for the masses, says UK Climate Secretary
The Guardian, UK, 13 July 2009 - Mass air travel will be preserved even in a low-carbon Britain because the government will find deeper emissions cuts in other areas, the climate change secretary Ed Miliband said today. Dismissing demands for punitive sanctions to curb flying, Miliband said the government was determined to ensure that airline travel remains affordable for ordinary people. In a Guardian interview, ahead of the publication of a white paper on climate change, Miliband said air travel would become more expensive as Britain tries to meet a G8 target to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050. But he said it would be wrong to impose the target on airlines, which will be covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012 if they fly to and from the EU. Read more ...

Business aviation groups fear costs in US climate bill
Aviation Week, USA, 7 July 2009 - Business aviation advocates are becoming increasingly concerned that the climate change bill progressing through Capitol Hill has few details on how it might impact the aviation industry. House legislators removed a provision calling for carbon emission standards for new aircraft and aircraft engines by 2012. But the bill calls for the introduction of a market-based cap-and-trade programme that would establish a provision for averaging, banking and trading emissions credits for motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines, non-road vehicles and other engines including those on aircraft and marine vessels. The Helicopter Association International called the elimination of the aircraft emission standards provision significant because the White House has not yet taken a position on including aviation in the European Union emissions trading scheme. The association, however, has expressed concern that the legislation could become "a huge tax on our industry and one that is based on the European model for climate change." Read more ...

Time to clear the airways - sponsored interview with Chairman of BAA
Daily Telegraph, UK, 6 July 2009 - As Chairman of BAA, the airports group that runs Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, Sir Nigel Rudd is a target for environmental campaigners. From Terminal 5 to the proposed third runway at Heathrow and the mission to save Hatfield Forest from the expansion of Stansted, airports arouse passions, and sometimes unwisely so, believes Sir Nigel. However, Sir Nigel is far from an unenlightened industrialist on the climate-change issue. Like many bosses of consumer-led businesses, he recognizes that mitigating climate change is becoming very important to customers, and that companies need to act on the issue to preserve their reputations and brands. "Clearly as far as our customers, the travelling public, are concerned, I think people want to see that we are environmentally aware," he says. Read more ...

One billion gallons by 2014: algal fuel price, capacity projections
Biofuels Digest, USA, 22 June 2009 – Online industry publication Biofuels Digest is projecting that algal biofuels capacity will reach 1 billion gallons by 2014, based on analysis of price and capacity projections for 2009-14 from leading companies in the field. Algae producers are targeting to reach a $1.30 per gallon wholesale cost [the current market price of jet fuel is around $1.88] and 1.62 billion gallons in capacity by 2014. 39 percent of 2014 capacity is expected to be built in the US, and 61 percent in other countries. 33 percent of 2014 capacity is projected to use a closed system, photobioreactor (PBR) process, with 67 percent using open pond "raceway" systems. Read more ...

Greener, cheaper planes favoured at Paris Air Show
France 24, France, 18 June 2009 - Lighter, more fuel efficient planes were the buzzwords at the recent Paris Air Show, where the world's top jetmakers showed off their efforts to reduce pollution and cut fuel costs. The Airbus A380 superjumbo parked on the runway at the show in Le Bourget even spelled it out in big blue letters across its side: "Greener, Cleaner". European aircraft maker Airbus and its rival Boeing have both said they aim to reduce fuel consumption of their airliners by a quarter by 2020. The efficiency drive has financial goals as well as environmental ones. In a bid to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, aircraft makers are testing various biofuels and trying to make the planes as light as possible using composite materials such as hi-tech plastics and carbon fibre. Read more ...

Biofuels to the fore in fight to reduce aviation emissions
Reuters, 18 June 2009 - Biofuels could be used to replace jet fuel in less than five years following recent tests by plane-maker Boeing, while the industry says it is putting billions of dollars into improving its environmental impact. Boeing's Director for Environmental Strategy Billy Glover told Reuters that results from recent test flights using biofuels such as jatropha and algae had been "better than expected", meaning a partial replacement for jet fuel could be become a reality in "three to five" years. The industry predicts that if 100 percent of all jet fuel was replaced with biofuels it would cut airline carbon emissions by 80 percent. EADS-owned rival Airbus is planning its first commercial test flight with biofuels later this year, according to Axel Krein, the company's Senior Vice President of Research & Technology. He said Airbus currently spends 2 billion euros ($2.79 billion) a year on research and development - the bulk of which goes into fuel efficiency.  Read more ...

For greening aviation, are biofuels the right stuff?
Yale Environment 360, USA, 11 June 2009 - As global economies strive to wean themselves off fossil fuels, one of the most daunting challenges is to find a replacement for the liquid fuels that power the world's aircraft. Biofuels made from algae and non-food plants are now the leading contenders. While homes, cars, and offices can be powered by electricity produced from such renewable sources as solar, wind, and hydropower, there is little likelihood in the near future that battery power will be lifting a jumbo jet into the sky. And the global aviation industry uses an enormous amount of jet fuel - energy-dense kerosene - frequently referred to as Jet A or JP-8. The US commercial airlines alone burn about 50 million gallons of jet fuel every day, at a cost of roughly $150 million. Read more ...

Quieter is better
Forbes, USA, 15 June 2009 - Pratt & Whitney is feeling the pain at the Paris Air Show. The aircraft engine maker is planning to cut around 3,000 jobs this year to cope with declining sales and earnings growth. But it is also thinking about how to position itself for the coming recovery, which will be guided as much by environmental and fuel concerns as by demand. David Hess, President of Pratt & Whitney describes why his company thinks its "geared turbofan" design due in 2013 will prove more successful than rivals' attempts to reinvent the wheel. He defends the aero-engine maker's decision to steer clear of noisy open-rotor designs for airliners. Read more ...

Can open rotor deliver?
Flight International, UK, 16 June 2009 – Airbus and Boeing have a big dilemma on which engine technology they should select for the new aircraft generation to replace the best-selling A320 and 737 families: advanced but "conventional" turbofans or the futuristic-looking open rotor? The problem for Airbus and Boeing is that some airlines are demanding a new narrowbody choice with radically improved economics sooner rather than later. CFM says it will be ready with its all-new Leap-X engine in 2016. This will offer up to 16% better fuel burn and 50-60% lower NOx emissions compared with today's best CFM56s. But open rotor technology could offer a lot more. Fuel burn could be 26% better with NOx levels similar to Leap-X, although a CFM open rotor engine could not enter service until late into the next decade. Read more ...

Comment: Carbon Credit
Flight International, UK, 18 June 2009 - At IATA's annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur airline leaders took another big step on the environment by agreeing on capping emissions growth by 2020. Next comes the even tougher task of influencing the global debate on carbon trading. This year's IATA annual general meeting had a green theme. On the one hand there was talk of when the industry is going to see the first green shoots of recovery. The answer is don't be too optimistic. It could be well into 2010 before traffic growth returns and even then it could be a slow upward climb. The other green theme was, of course, the environment. Read more ...

The conventional wisdom about jatropha is wrong, says biofuels company, as cold-tolerant species appear
Biofuels Digest, USA, 16 June 2009 - Jatropha has featured strongly as a suitable feedstock for aviation jet biofuels but the plant has been considered only suitable for cultivation in warmer climates. In California, new details were disclosed by SG Biofuels on their discovery of cold-tolerant jatropha varietals. The company said that, conservatively, the discovery of varietals in Central America, after suitable testing and cross-breeding, could open up the US Gulf Coast for jatropha cultivation. The region has not been considered suitable for jatropha, except in southern Florida, because of winter frost conditions unsuitable to previously known varietals. Read more ...

Green group proposes surcharge at Jackson Hole Airport
USA Today, 17 June 2009 - The Nature Conservancy says it's time for Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming to pay for its use of land inside Grand Teton National Park. The airport is located on 533 acres inside the park but hasn't compensated the National Park Service for its use of the land for the past 25 years, said Paul Hansen, Greater Yellowstone Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. Hansen is proposing a $5 surcharge on plane tickets to help buy roughly 900 acres of private inholdings in the park that are worth an estimated $80 million - an idea one park official said is interesting. Then-Interior Secretary James Watt signed the original lease agreement for the park in 1983. Not mitigating the airport's use of national park land, Hansen said, violates the National Environmental Policy Act. Read more ...

Passengers should pay global carbon tax, says British Airways chief
The Times, UK, 12 June 2009 - Airline passengers should pay a global tax on carbon and accept an increase in the cost of flying for the sake of the environment, says Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of British Airways. The airline is the first in the world to propose that all airline passengers should pay an additional sum which would be likely to rise steadily over time. BA is proposing that the tax should raise at least $5 billion a year to be used to combat tropical deforestation and help developing companies to adapt to climate change. Walsh states that passengers should expect to pay more for their flights to compensate for their environmental impact. He said airlines should be forced to buy permits from 2013 to cover their carbon emissions in a global emissions trading scheme.  Read more ...

Train can be worse for climate than plane, discovers new US full life-cycle emissions study
New Scientist, UK, 8 June 2009 - A new study compares the full life-cycle emissions generated by 11 different modes of transportation in the US. Unlike previous studies on transport emissions, Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath of the University of California, Berkeley, looked beyond what is emitted by different types of car, train, bus or plane while their engines are running and includes emissions from building and maintaining the vehicles and their infrastructure, as well as generating the fuel to run them. A transport studies expert says it is valuable because it attempts to compare transport on equal terms. To do this, Chester and Horvath calculated how many passengers each train, plane, bus or car would carry in its lifetime and how many kilometres it would cover. The pair took into account how much each infrastructure component – such as tracks, roads and airports – is used in its lifetime. Read more ...

Wild green yonder: are new aircraft orders an environmental play?
Wall Street Journal, USA, 8 June 2009 - United Airlines' plan to spend as much as $10 billion on new jet aircraft sparked a wave of tea-leaf reading - is the order just a sign of recession-era bargain hunting, or true green shoots for the battered American economy? But could United's plan to buy as many as 150 big planes actually be an environmental play? Fuel costs make or break the airline business. If crude oil goes where many analysts are now predicting - between $65 and $85 a barrel - then the airline business will be buffeted even more. One big way around that? More fuel-efficient aircraft, which also means fewer emissions of greenhouse gases. That could become important as policymakers, especially in Europe, target the aviation industry as an environmental villain. Read more ...

European Union eyes airlines and shipping for climate funding
Reuters, 4 June 2009 - Shipping and airlines could be tapped for money to help poor nations tackle and adapt to climate change, according to draft proposals to be presented to European finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday, June 9, who have been tasked with identifying possible finance sources for poor countries that will help secure a global deal. "Financing could be complemented by funding from a global instrument addressing international aviation and maritime transport," said a document prepared for the meeting and seen by Reuters. Read more ...

Air New Zealand sends its biofuel jumbo jet to the wreckers
Jaunted.com, New Zealand, 8 June 2009 - Air New Zealand is preparing to send the plane used for its December biofuel test flight to the scrap yard. The Boeing 747-400, named The Bay of Islands, has been in service for almost twenty years. The plane has not flown since the biofuel flight while ANZ looked for a new buyer, but there were unfortunately no takers. Read more ...

Airline industry eyes emissions standards
New York Times, USA, 9 June 2009 - A group of foreign airlines will propose a plan today to curb the aviation industry's emissions, hoping to help negotiators reach agreement on one of many friction points in global climate change talks. The plan suggests a cap-and-trade scheme for the airline sector, requiring airlines from all countries to have permits that cover their emissions. As in other cap-and-trade policies, airlines that have excess credits could sell them to others. Airlines would also be allowed to buy credits from international carbon markets, such as the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme. Read more ...

ICAO continues work towards establishing emissions targets
Flight International, UK, 2 June 2009 - While Europe presses ahead with implementing aviation's inclusion in its emissions trading scheme, the International Civil Aviation Organisation group tackling greenhouse gas emissions continues to work toward making global recommendations for addressing the industry's contribution to climate change. The European Union set a 31 August 2009 deadline for airlines operating to, from and within member states to submit their emissions monitoring plans as aviation emissions will be added to the ETS starting in 2012. However, the EU remains open to alternative means of addressing aviation's contribution to climate change. Read more ...

A US/EU dogfight over greener air travel
BusinessWeek, USA, 4 June 2009 - American airlines are balking at new EU emission rules, but with British Airways and others on board, they may be fighting a battle they can't win. This August, US airlines face their first big deadline to meet European Union rules on emissions linked to global warming. That's when carriers landing in Europe will have to submit proposals to the EU on how they plan to track such emissions. This is a first step toward tough European "cap-and-trade" laws requiring airlines to either slash greenhouse gases or pay for permits to emit, starting in 2012. US airlines are watching these developments anxiously, in part because they are already struggling with weak travel demand and yo-yo'ing fuel prices. Read more ...

European Algae Biomass Association says commercialization 10-15 years away; US say 2-3 years: who's right?
Biofuels Digest, USA, 4 June 2009 - In Italy, the European Algae Biomass Association officially launched yesterday with a decidedly pessimistic outlook for commercial-scale algae bioenergy production. New EABA Executive Director Raffaello Garofalo said that it will take 10 to 15 years for algae to reach industrial-scale production, and that, at present, making biodiesel from algae costs 10 to 30 times the cost of making biodiesel from traditional feedstocks. Garofalo told Reuters that the new association has 54 members and that he saw a price of $500-$550 emerging for the algal fuel market, in the long-term, after other fractinos of algae biomass were sold for animal feed or to the nutraceutical markets. Garofalo referred to pilot projects in Portugal and Italy but cautioned against expectations of quick breakthroughs in the path towards algae. Read more ...

EC: Airlines need to take ETS submission deadlines seriously
ATW Online, USA, 29 May 2009 - Asserting that aviation is the "fastest-growing emissions source among modes of transportation," a European Commission official reiterated yesterday that all airlines that operate to the EU must submit plans for monitoring and reporting carbon dioxide emissions by Aug 31 to relevant authorities in EU member states in advance of a 2010 "pre-compliance phase" for the Emissions Trading Scheme that includes aviation from 2012. Speaking in Washington at the Eco-Aviation conference presented by ATW and Leeham Co, Luisa Ragher, head of transport-energy and environment for the delegation of the EC to Washington, said, "The best solution still remains a global approach," adding that "if a country adopts measures to reduce the climate change impact of flights to the EU, exemptions are possible." Read more ...

Aviation must be part of any climate deal, says UK Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon
ABTN, UK, 29 May 2009 - The UK government will push for aviation to be included in any internationally agreed climate change deal, said Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon. Addressing the International Transport Forum in Leipzig yesterday, Mr Hoon said aviation should be included in carbon trading schemes, emissions standards and in drives for new technology. "What we really need is progress at an international level," he said. "One key means is through a well-designed emissions trading scheme. That's why the UK has pushed hard to include aviation in the European Emissions Trading System." Mr Hoon said there would be a push to include international aviation in discussions at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December. Read more ...

Plant-derived fuels could be certified for flights within a year, says Boeing exec
New York Times, USA, 29 May 2009 - Jet fuels derived from algae, camelina and jatropha - plants that pack an energy punch, are not eaten as food and do not displace food crops - could be approved and replacing petroleum fuels in commercial flights as early as next year, said a Boeing executive. Bill Glover, Managing Director of Environmental Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which is leading an effort to develop, test and certify alternative jet fuels, said the technology is ready. Now, it is just a matter of growing enough non-food feedstock plants and refining enough of their oil. Read more ...

Green engine: Open rotor remains tantalizing prospect despite potential obstacles
Air Transport World, USA, 26 May 2009 - If Airbus and Boeing decide to delay the successor A320/737 aircraft to the mid-2020s, an open rotor could power the new-generation planes. At least that is the thinking driving engine manufacturers to continue examining the concept despite considerable challenges to making it viable. CFM International, the GE Aviation/Snecma joint venture, is beginning testing on its first demonstration LEAP-X engine core as it aggressively develops a powerplant for a potential next-generation narrowbody entering service by 2018. The LEAP-X does not feature an open rotor design, but GE and Snecma nevertheless are engaged actively in testing the technology first conceived in the 1980s.  Read more ...

How Boeing fights climate change
Wall Street Journal, USA, 23 May 2009 - Addressing climate change is a particularly difficult challenge for commercial aviation, writes Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' CEO and President. He advocates a fuel efficiency standard for new airplane designs to be defined by ICAO, as it had already established for both airplane noise and oxides of nitrogen emissions. He says the US government should make the FAA's NextGen plan a priority and should commit long-term funding to ensure that it is completed as swiftly as possible. Government help is also needed to get an aviation biofuels industry up and running as biofuels, in Boeing's opinion, are the ultimate answer to aviation's carbon emissions challenge. Read more ...

EU to launch European Algae Biomass Association
Checkbiotech, Switzerland, 14 May 2009 - The European Algae Biomass Association will be officially launched during the first EABA Conference and General Assembly to be held June 3-4 in Florence, Italy. The University of Florence and the European Biodiesel Board, together with number of major stakeholders in the EU algae sector, have announced the launching of the association. The EABA was founded to foster synergies among science and industry, while cooperating with decision-makers for the promotion of development in research and technology in the field of algae. Read more ...

Heathrow third runway a mistake, says Lord Stern
BusinessGreen, UK, 25 May 2009 - The decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow was a mistake, according to one of the UK government's most senior advisers on the economics of climate change. Lord Nicholas Stern said if the decision had been properly considered in light of the UK's climate targets, he thought it would not have been granted. He added that the debate on the issue had been immature. "What did you hear about the third runway? You heard people say that the British economy will collapse unless we get a third runway at Heathrow - that must be false," Stern said. "Other people said it would be completely impossible to meet our carbon targets if we have a third runway at Heathrow - that's probably also false." He said the third runway should have been considered as part of a wider policy for the future of British transport. Read more ...

UK government insists on business as usual despite heavy losses at BA
The Guardian, UK, 24 May 2009 - It would be madness to build a third runway at Heathrow when the aviation sector could be entering a period of permanent contraction, writes environmentalist George Monbiot. He says it could be just a temporary crisis but there are two interesting features. The first is that the airlines have been hit much harder by the recession than most of the rest of the economy, even though the price of fuel has fallen dramatically over the past year. The second is that the sector which has contracted most sharply is business travel. Read more ...

US airlines take legal action over UK's Air Passenger Duty
Daily Telegraph, UK, 24 May 2009 - The prospect of a legal challenge has been raised by the Air Transport Association (ATA), the body representing American carriers. It is furious that it is being forced to impose a British tax on its flights leaving from hubs on the continent. "We think there are many reasons why this scheme could be in violation of international law," said a spokesman for the ATA. "We have raised these legal concerns." The Treasury has triggered accusations of imposing a "stealth tax" by demanding the levy is imposed on anyone travelling to distant destinations, even if they change planes and airlines on the continent. It is estimated that the Treasury raises about £100m a year from passengers who are taxed in this way. Read more ...

Wind farms 'could pose danger to planes without new air traffic control radar system'
Daily Telegraph, UK, 25 May 2009 - The development of new, larger wind farms could pose a danger to planes unless radar systems can be adapted to deal safely with them, air traffic controllers have warned. The wind turbines, which can reach 110m, can move at more than 160mph, and the movement can create blind spots for pilots trying to land aircraft. Wind farms can create distortion on radar screens and as the number of farms has increased, so has the number of radar "blackout zones", meaning that aircraft passing through the area can effectively disappear with air traffic controllers losing their exact position. Read more ...

What the heck is radiative forcing & why should my aviation carbon offset include it?
Treehugger, USA, 15 May 2009 - You want to be a better eco-citizen, minimize your air travel, and want to buy a carbon offset for those times when you do have to fly. But before you hit that calculate my emissions button you notice a small check box."Include Radiative Forcing" it says. What is radiative forcing and why does it matter to the carbon emissions of my travel? The shorter answer is that radiative forcing is the change in the energy balance in the lower atmosphere by a climate change mechanism. Read more ...

GE develops aid to reduce airport noise fines
Air Transport Intelligence, UK, 23 May 2009 - General Electric has developed an automatic computation and throttle control method that could help airlines or business jets avoid fines levied when takeoff noise exceeds predefined dB levels measured by noise monitoring stations around certain airports. In a patent application published 21 May, the company reveals a system that attempts to satisfy noise constraints through real-time automatic commanding of engine power through the flight management system. Read more ...

Aviation now contributes 4.9 percent of climate change worldwide
YubaNet.com, USA, 21 May 2009 - According to the Aviation Environment Federation, work by the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) has been updated by the same authors. They estimate that aviation accounted for 4.9 percent of man-made climate impacts in 2005. This contrasts with the 2 percent figure that is constantly quoted by aviation lobbyists. Just two years ago the authors came up with a figure of 3 percent for aviation's worldwide contribution to climate change. They have now revised their estimate for 2005. It includes for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation and allows for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005. The effect of these is to increase aviation's impacts to 3.5 percent without cirrus, 4.9 percent including cirrus. Read more ...

Special report on aviation biofuels: Commercialization outlook
Biofuels Digest, USA, 24 May 2009 - The consistent message from airlines and aircraft manufacturers is that the certification of biofuels for regular commercial flights is in the 2012/13 timeline. Boeing spokesman Terrance Scott said that biofuels could be a regular source for jet fuel with 3-5 years, with algae becoming a common component in 8-10 years. Read more ...

NASA bags algae, wastewater in bid for aviation fuel
New York Times, 12 May 2009 - NASA is applying space technology to a decidedly down-to-earth effort that links the production of algae-based fuel with an inexpensive method of sewage treatment. The space agency is growing algae for biofuel in plastic bags of sewage floating in the ocean. Jonathan Trent, the lead researcher on the project at NASA's Ames Research Center, envisions the bags producing enough fuel to fill US aviation needs - 21 billion gallons a year. Doing so would require about 10 million acres of ocean, he said. Read more ...

Climate change odds much worse than thought
ScienceDaily, USA, 20 May 2009 - The most comprehensive modelling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago - and could be even worse than that. The new projections carried out by MIT, published this month in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees. Read more ...

EU targets transport, power for next climate action
Reuters, 13 May 2009 - Eradicating greenhouse gases from power stations and cars, trucks and aviation must be Europe's next policy move to tackle climate change, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso following talks with British climate economist Nicholas Stern and Rajendra Pachauri, the Chairman of the United Nations climate panel, on the chances for a global climate deal at Copenhagen in December. Read more ...

Honeywell to test biofuel in APUs, engines this summer
Aviation International News, USA, 13 May 2009 - Honeywell Aerospace is gearing up for biofuel tests on its APUs and engines this summer in a bid to stay ahead of the alternative fuel push. But this kind of testing isn't entirely foreign at the company - over the past few years it has been running military aircraft APUs and engines on jet fuel made from coal and natural gas for the US Air Force. Read more ...

Carbon tax threatens developing world, says eco leader
TravelMole, UK, 7 May 2009 - The carbon tax on British travellers proposed by the UK government is "a major blow to anti-poverty programmes in the developing world", says a development expert. "At a time when we are encouraging European tourists to boost the economies of developing countries with their tourism resources, the UK government in a single move will deal a body blow to those of us trying to use sustainable tourism to alleviate poverty," said Lelei LeLaulu, president of the Island Nations Climate and Oceans Programme. "Tourism is the largest voluntary flow of resources from the 'haves' to the 'have-nots' of the world," asserted LeLaulu, "and the UK's Air Passenger Duty is about to choke that flow." Read more ...

NASA focuses on green aviation research
Aviation Week, USA, 8 May 2009 - NASA is to create a new research programme focused on reducing aircraft fuel burn, noise and emissions and accelerating transfer of the technologies developed to the aviation community. The new Integrated Systems Research Program (ISRP) is the centrepiece of NASA's $507 million budget request for aeronautics research in Fiscal 2010, and is supported by a $59.5 million increase over the funding requested for Fiscal 2009, writes Graham WarwickRead more ...

EBAA's Humphries says ETS would burden smaller business aviation operators
Aviation International News, USA, 12 May 2009 - Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) takes effect in 2012, but operators need to have an approved monitoring plan by the end of this year to participate in pre-compliance monitoring in 2010 and 2011. AIN's EBACE Convention News asked European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) President and CEO Brian Humphries about how the new rules will affect European operators. Read more ...

Aviation industry warns on carbon trading, increased regulation
Reuters, 6 May 2009 - Carbon trading and increased regulation could hinder efforts to reduce airplane greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and increased use of biofuels, airline industry leaders told an aviation and climate change conference hosted by the British Airports Authority. Read more ...

Hailed as a miracle biofuel, jatropha falls short of hype
Yale Environment 360, USA, 4 May 2009 - The scrubby jatropha tree has been touted as a wonder biofuel with unlimited potential. But questions are now emerging as to whether widespread jatropha cultivation is really feasible or whether it will simply displace badly-needed food crops in the developing world, writes Jon R. LuomaRead more ...

Airlines weighing in on carbon offsets
The New Straits Times, Malaysia, 3 May 2009 - Heightened environmental awareness has raised the call for green solutions as the air travel industry records never-before-seen growth. But some quarters question whether carbon offsets are the answer, writes Lilei ChowRead more ...

Carbon complexities
Flight International, UK, 30 Apr 2009 - Business aviation faces huge costs and a difficult task of administering the European Union's emissions trading scheme - but the industry may have found a way to simplify the monitoring and verification process, writes Aimee TurnerRead more ...

Building the first carbon-negative airport
MyCityTalk.com, Norfolk, VA, USA, 29 Apr 2009 - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently took control of Stewart International Airport, a sleepy regional facility 60 miles north of Manhattan in the heart of the Hudson River Valley. The authority's goal is to expand Stewart, provide better service to the region's residents and relieve some of the congestion at the other downstate airports. While people who live around Stewart have concerns that expanded operations will exacerbate air and noise pollution and fuel sprawling development, the Port Authority has pledged to make the facility the world's first "carbon-negative" airport. Read more ...

Altering planes, and the way they fly, to save fuel
New York Times, 29 Apr 2009 - For the aviation industry, its fate inextricably linked to the price of oil, fuel conservation is more than environmentally sound - it's a matter of survival. That is why, in research labs and in airline conference rooms, any measure is open for discussion if it reduces the use of fuel, writes Christine NegroniRead more ...