Governments, Airlines Move To Advance Biofuel Use
By John Morris
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
Biofuels are essential to meeting the global airline industry's goals of achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020, and by 2050 cutting CO2 emissions in half compared to 2000. The Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe released a road map at ILA for the government/industry-funded research required to enable Europe's Flightpath 2050 vision of reducing CO2 emissions 75% relative to 2000 by the middle of the century.
Governments need to create the political and economic environments to spur progress, and should do it quickly, says Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, state secretary in Germany's transport ministry. That country has embarked on a long-term strategy to phase out oil in favor of renewable energy, with aviation playing an important role in planned reductions in oil use of 10% by 2020 and 40% by 2050. “Our CO2 targets can be achieved, but only if we pull out all the stops,” he says.
Scheurle hailed the biofuels bilateral, signed by German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer and U.S. Ambassador Philip Murphy, as an umbrella for politicians, policymakers, scientists, refinery developers and airlines to accelerate cooperation to bring sustainable jet fuels into widespread use. They will also cooperate on developing sustainability standards, gaining approval for new production methods and expanding the raw materials base for alternative aviation fuels.
“Protecting the environment is a global problem. No nation can solve it alone,” Scheurle says. The bilateral officially links the U.S. and Europe, through Germany. The U.S. has similar agreements with Australia and Brazil, and Russia is showing interest.
Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, stresses the need for government action on policy and strategy to move sustainable drop-in fuels into large-scale production. He says the industry has responded to the resolve of politicians to protect the environment with a “significant paradigm shift” in partnerships, such as the March agreement by competitors Airbus, Boeing and Embraer to cooperate on sustainable fuels. “Aerospace is now working to be part of the solution, not the problem,” he says.