Danish large-scale project plans using offshore wind power to deliver sustainable aviation e-fuels by 2030.

Although impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the partners said their long-term commitment to fighting climate change remained intact and the project would combine the dual objectives of accelerating the green transformation and providing economic stimulus to the Danish economy post-crisis.

“The challenge of creating a future-proof and sustainable fuel is common to everyone in the transport sector, and the fact that we are now working together in a partnership is crucial for us to be able to produce sustainable fuel in the necessary quantities. It also supports the ambition to transition Danish aviation to become completely free of carbon emissions in 2050 and make Denmark a pioneer in the development of future climate-friendly fuels.”

The project is divided in three phases.

The first stage, which could be operational by 2023, comprises a 10MW electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen used directly to fuel buses and trucks.

Stage two comprises a 250MW electrolyser facility which could be operational by 2027 when the first offshore wind power from Bornholm could be delivered. This facility would combine the production of renewable hydrogen with sustainable carbon capture from point-sources in the Greater Copenhagen area to produce renewable methanol for maritime transport and renewable jet fuel for the aviation sector.

Stage three, which could be operational by 2030 when the offshore wind potential at Bornholm has been fully developed, would upgrade the project’s electrolyser capacity to 1.3GW and capture more sustainable CO2, enough to supply more than 250,000 tonnes of sustainable fuels to be used in buses, trucks, maritime vessels and airplanes. The project has the potential to displace 5% of fossil fuels at Copenhagen Airport by 2027 and 30% by 2030

Lufthansa Group to collaborate with Swiss ventures developing renewable jet fuel from sunlight
Lufthansa Group has signed a letter of intent with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and its two spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion to develop renewable jet fuel from sunlight. The collaborative partnership, initiated by Lufthansa Group subsidiaries SWISS and Edelweiss, will include cooperation in technology and economic efficiency, with an intention to agree at a later date on quotas of the renewable fuel to support demonstration projects. Researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed processes that make it possible to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and together with water and the help of concentrated sunlight, convert it into a synthesis gas that can be used to produce jet fuel. The fuel releases only as much CO2 as was previously extracted from the atmosphere.

Founded at ETH Zurich in 2016 and 2009 respectively, Synhelion is working on bringing solar fuels to the market, while Climeworks is pursuing CO2 air separation to provide the carbon required for fuel synthesis in a sustainable manner.

Jet fuel made through a solar reforming-based approach would be commercially viable in the short term and cost little more than today’s jet fuel because reforming is a mature, standard technology.

If the whole global jet fuel demand is covered with CO2-neutral fuels from pure H2O/CO2 splitting, it needs around 50,000 square kilometres. And assumed that many smaller plants would be distributed all over the world, in all the sunny areas.

The Lufthansa Group has been working hard for years to make flying ever more sustainable.

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines shows great transparency with regards to their CO2 emissons and other steps they are taking to improve their impact on the environment. They are always looking for innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of their services, and steps that they have taken so far have included going strawless, composting grounds from coffee served in flight, and using avionics to use the ‘Greener Skies’ approaches in order to cut fuel consumption.

The airline has also formed a partnership with the Port of Seattle and Boeing with the aim to power all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable biofuel.

Delta Air Lines
Delta is taking steps to improve their environmental impact – largely with regards to their fuel emissions, but also with regards to water waste, hazardous waste, and implementation of a recycling program.

The airline invests in carbon offsets – in 2017 alone they invested $2.5 million, and they have developed a proprietary flight weather app to allow pilots to better predict where they can burn less fuel. On Earth Day 2019, Delta made clear its intentions to continue to invest in carbon offset by buying around 50,00 carbon offsets. This was estimated to offset the emissions generated by flying over 300,000 people.

Delta is also in the process of removing all single-use plastic items from their flights. This includes items such as stir sticks, wrappers and utensils. In total, Delta is estimated to remove over 300,000 pounds in plastic waste each year.

American Airlines
American Airlines has committed to invest in modern, more efficient aircraft – whether this be investing in brand new aircraft, or upgrading planes not yet ready for retirement.

The airline looks for innovative ways to reduce costs and emissions, including installation of winglets to wing ends, shaving weight on aircraft, paperless cabins, and implementation of one-engine taxiing.

Jetblue is committed to improving the airline’s environmental impact, and is proud to be transparent with regards to the steps taken in doing so.

The airline committed to moving away from using diesel and petrol for ground based electric equipment as bag tugs and belt loaders.

Jetblue is also committed to the company’s environmental impact beyond the airport. The Jetblue T5 Farm at New York’s JFK Airport is the world’s first blue potato farm based at an airport, and the T5 Rooftop is the only post-security outdoor space at a New York airport. The airline has also used smart building techniques at their Terminal 5 home at JFK Airport, and their Long Island City Support Centre.

United Airlines
United Airlines is committed to a number of processes to ensure that the environmental impact of the company is as low as possible. This includes fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, using sustainable products, investing in sustainable fuel sources, and creating and maintaining partnerships to promote sustainability and protect the environment. In 2018, it announced that it would reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2050.

In June 2019, United launched a ‘flight for the planet’, which at the time, was billed as the most eco-friendly flight of all time. The carbon-neutral flight used sustainable biofuel and eliminated all cabin waste. Statistics from this flight included 3.3% of fuel was saved compared to a typical flight, 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide was offset, which made up for the aircraft’s fuel consumption and also waste was down by about a third. United plans to learn from this flight, and turn these short-term initiatives into widespread policies.

Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific endeavors to ‘be the world’s best airline’ and focuses particularly on the following environmental issues: climate change, waste, air quality, noise, water, conservation, and biodiversity.

The Cathay Pacific ‘Fly Greener’ programme gives Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon passengers the opportunity to reduce the carbon dioxide generated from air travel in a simple, credible way. Customers are able to purchase carbon offsets for their journeys, and the airline offers an online carbon offset calculator which allows passengers to work out what their journeys will use, and what they can buy to help to offset this.

Ryanair classes itself as ‘Europe’s greenest, cleanest airline’, and was the first airline to commit to being plastic free by 2023.

The airline’s commitment to sustainability includes the following priorities: offering customers to offset the carbon cost of journeys, investing in new Boeing 737-MAX-200 aircraft, operating only point-to-point routes with industry-leading load factors, conducting operational efficiency, adding winglets to wings, and using single-engine taxiing between the runway and terminal.

Loganair is forthcoming as the leading pioneer of electric aircraft. The Scottish regional airline wants to start using electric-powered planes by 2021 for their flights between Westray and Papa Westray in a bid to reach their goal to become carbon neutral.

Loganair are already making themselves more environmentally friendly, with their use of renewable energy produced in Orkney.

Hi Fly
In January 2019, the Portuguese airline Hi Fly carried out the first single-use plastic-free flight. This comes after a number of trials starting in December, with over 700 passengers taking part in the initiative. The president of the airline announced that they are aiming to be completely plastic free by 2020, hoping to become the world’s first ‘plastics-free’ airline.

Etihad Airways are partnering with the Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center on a project to explore how municipal waste can be converted into jet fuel. One of the aims of the project is to use the final jet fuel on Etihad Airways’ flights. This shows the commitment that the airline has towards cutting-edge environmental advances, and reducing the airline’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Air Canada
Air Canada began reducing the use of single-use plastic on all of its flights in 2019. The airline started by eliminating plastic drink stirrers with wooden drink stirrers, which will get rid of 35 million plastic drink stirrers yearly.

In addition to this, the airline has set itself a goal to reduce landfill waste from its offices and airport lounges by 20% by the end of 2020. Air Canada also invested in a $10 billion CAD fleet modernisation which has helped improve its fuel efficiency by 43% from 1990–2019.

China Airlines
China Airlines offers ‘ECO TRAVEL Carbon Offsetting’ — a service that gives passengers the ability to partake in carbon offsetting and reduce the carbon footprint and emissions during their flight.

ECO TRAVEL Carbon offsetting lets China Airlines passengers track the emissions from their flight and — through UK company ClimateCare — gives them the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint with environmentally friendly carbon reduction projects.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines
SAS Scandinavian Airlines have set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 25% from 2005 to 2030. The airline has stated that updating its fleet and using biofuels will be the main two factors in achieving this. In 2018, the airline took in an order of Airbus A320 neo, which has reduced fuel consumption and emissions by roughly 15%. Furthermore, the airline plans to replace the amount of fuel used on all of its domestic flights with sustainable biofuel.

SAS has also invested in a carbon offsetting program which offsets for all business, Youth and EuroBonus passengers, as well as offering all other passengers the same option.

In 2019, SAS announced that it’ll stop selling duty-free items inflight. This will help will reduce the overall weight carried on the aircraft and therefore result in the airline using less-fuel per flight.

Hanni TranDirector of Asia, Global Tourism Forum

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