This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.
SAS agrees to increase Gevo SAF fuel purchase
Gevo and SAS signed (22-Feb-2021) an amendment to increase the airline’s minimum purchase obligation to purchase five million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) p/a.
The two companies signed the original fuel sales agreement in Oct-2019. Gevo expects to supply SAS with SAF beginning in 2024 from Gevo‘s Net-Zero 2 Project for use and distribution in low carbon fuel regions of the US.
The value of the fuel sales agreement as amended exceeds USD100 million over the entire term of the agreement inclusive of the related SAF and environmental credits.
SAS head of sustainability Lars Andersen Resare said the carrier aims to reduce emission by 25% by 2025, adding the increase in SAF purchases will assist the carrier in reaching at least 20% of the SAF required to reach this goal. [more – original PR]
Original report: Gevo and Scandinavian Airlines System Amend Agreement to Increase Off-Take of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, valued at over $100 Million
Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), announced today that it and Scandinavian Airlines System (“SAS”) have signed an amendment to increase SAS’s minimum purchase obligation to purchase sustainable aviation fuel (“SAF”) to 5,000,000 gallons per year. Gevo and SAS signed the original fuel sales agreement in October 2019 (the “Fuel Sales Agreement”).
With the finalization of this this amendment to the Fuel Sales Agreement (the “Amendment”), Gevo expects to supply SAS with SAF beginning in 2024 from Gevo’s Net-Zero 2 Project for use and distribution in low carbon fuel regions of the United States. The value of the Fuel Sales Agreement, as amended, is estimated at over $100 million over the entire term of the agreement inclusive of the related SAF and environmental credits.
“With this amendment, SAS has significantly increased the amount of SAF that it is willing to purchase from Gevo. This amendment is evidence of the strong and growing demand for Gevo’s renewable hydrocarbon products. We expect to ink additional offtake agreements later this year,” said Patrick R. Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo. “SAS have a vision and plan that they are executing, even in spite of the global pandemic. This additional volume will help Gevo grow its business and hopefully accelerate making real Gevo’s Net-Zero 2 plant,” added Mr. Gruber.
“SAS has an ambitious goal in reducing its’ absolute climate affecting emissions by 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. This increase of Gevo SAF will help us to reach at least 20% of the SAF needed to reach our emission reductions goal. SAS chooses partners like Gevo that have the vision and ambition to support the aviation industry’s transition to net zero emission,” says Lars Andersen Resare, Head of Sustainability, SAS.
Beyond Net-Zero 1
Gevo has introduced the concept of Net Zero Projects. Announced in early 2021, these production facilities are being designed to produce energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons using renewable energy and Gevo’s proprietary technology. The first Net-Zero project, Net-Zero 1, is expected to be built in Lake Preston, South Dakota.
The Net-Zero Projects are being designed to produce liquid hydrocarbons in the form of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable gasoline. These fuels, when used for transportation, should have a net-zero greenhouse-gas footprint as measured across the entire lifecycle, based on the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model.
Gevo expects that each Net-Zero Project will have the capability to produce approximately 45MGPY of liquid hydrocarbons (jet fuel and renewable gasoline) and are also expected to produce at least 350,000,000 lbs/yr of high protein animal feed. To reduce and eliminate the fossil fuel resources used in the production facilities, each Net Zero Project is expected to have an anaerobic digestion wastewater treatment plant that is capable of generating enough biogas to run the plant and supply a combined heat and power unit, capable of meeting approximately 30% of the plant’s electricity needs. The remaining 70% of electricity to run the plant is expected to come from wind power. Net-Zero 1 may also obtain renewable natural gas (“RNG”) using manure from dairy or beef cows. These efforts should make this Net-Zero 1 self-sufficient and help ensure it will be off a fossil-based grid. Gevo also believes in transparency and is setting up sustainability tracking methods to work alongside our farmers.
The Fuel Sales Agreement, as amended, is subject to certain conditions precedent. A copy of the Fuel Sales Agreement and the Amendment have been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 8-K.
Rolls-Royce: e-fuels offer support for net-zero future
Rolls-Royce reported (23-Feb-2021) using ‘e-fuels’ produced from sustainable electricity, means electricity generation and drive-power technology “stands a good chance of” supporting goals of reaching net-zero emissions.
Rolls-Royce estimates the demand for e-fuels – including e-hydrogen, e-methane, e-ammonia, e-methanol or e-diesel – at 20,000 terawatt-hours of energy by 2050, the equivalent of two trillion litres of diesel.
Rolls-Royce is still considering which fuel is the most economical and most energy-efficient, along with the best to overcome related shipping, safety and infrastructure issues. [more – original PR]
Original report: E-fuels powering a climate-neutral future
Using e-fuels produced from green electricity, electricity generation and drive-power technology stands a good chance of going net-zero.
To stop global warming and meet the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord, power delivery systems and energy systems will have to become carbon-neutral. To achieve this fuels are one of the key levers we have. With e-fuels produced from green electricity, electricity generation and drive-power technology may be able to become net-zero.
Europe aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. Incoming US President Joe Biden has also announced this is the goal he will be pursuing.
This demands a technology rethink not just on power delivery, but also on new fuels. No matter how clean fossil fuel combustion engines may be, they will always emit CO2. E-fuels such as e-hydrogen, e-methane, e-methanol or e-diesel – produced from green electricity and carbon from the air, with some subsequent processing – are now opening up a new path to the future. The demand for e-fuels is huge, 20,000 terawatt-hours of fuel-based energy needed in 2050, according to an analysis undertaken by Rolls-Royce. In diesel terms, this equates to two trillion litres.
These new fuels are produced in a process known as Power-to-X.
It works like this:
Electricity produced from renewables such as wind or solar power is used to break water down into its components (hydrogen and oxygen) by a process of electrolysis. The hydrogen can be then used straightaway in a hydrogen engine, aircraft turbine or fuel cell. However, its relatively low energy density means it needs a lot of tank space and is therefore not easy to store and transport. Other fuels that can be produced from hydrogen have higher energy density and are easier to store. By applying more energy and adding carbon (either air-borne carbon or from biomass), it is possible to produce other synthetic fuels such as e-hydrogen, e-methane or e-diesel. This is how electricity is turned into fuel. It can be burned carbon-neutrally, as no extra CO2 is produced.
Other synthetic options are methanol and ammonia, the latter requiring no CO2 during synthesis. However, combustion engines have to be modified to run on synthetic fuels.
What are set to be the key fuels of tomorrow?
The big question now facing experts at Rolls-Royce is which fuel is set to be the most economical and most energy-efficient.
“When producing methane, methanol or kerosene from hydrogen, you have to apply additional energy and add CO2,” explained Daniel Chatterjee, Director of Technology Management & Regulatory Affairs at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Methane or diesel could be used with existing technology and infrastructure.
Even so, ammonia or methanol might also come to the fore, especially in shipping, although there are still safety and infrastructure issues to be overcome,” he added.
The whole scenario is different for stationary engines used in power generation. For example, existing natural gas grids can be used to transport e-methane, and it is possible to produce e-hydrogen locally.
“I’m assuming we’re going to see various different fuels in future, without any one of them becoming a panacea,” summed up Chatterjee, adding, “The question of which fuels we consider so future-proof that we end up developing new MTU engines or other energy converters for our customers is going to be occupying our minds a lot in the coming months and years.”
New fuels need new drive-power tech
New products are required to convert these new fuels into drive power and energy.
We are already working hard on fuel cell and hydrogen engine technology. In the MethQuest research project, Rolls-Royce engineers are working on gas engine designs aimed at reducing methane emissions harmful to the climate, and on methanol and hydrogen combustion. “Trials so far on the single-cylinder test stand are very encouraging,” said Chatterjee.
The fuel cell, too, is now proceeding to the next stage. January 2021 will see an initial stationary MTU fuel cell demonstrator go into operation in Friedrichshafen using fuel cell modules actually built to power road vehicles.
Political support needed
To meet all future e-fuel needs, large Power-to-X plants will be necessary.
However, it may be that distributed, smaller plants for synthesizing electricity into e-fuels are also a feasible, attractive option. Daniel points out that one essential requirement for these new fuels to succeed: political muscle. Without it, these fuels are not going to be economical in the foreseeable future.
“That’s where I can definitely see a market for Rolls-Royce. If political decision-makers want to achieve the climate targets they’ve set themselves, they’re going to have to build the overall framework and really get behind these fuels. That’s the only way to achieve the goal of powering ships, trains, heavy goods vehicles and power plants climate-neutrally by 2050 – or even sooner.”
Essar Oil (UK) Limited to create SAF from non recyclable household waste in the UK
Essar Oil (UK) Limited entered (15-Feb-2021) an agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy Limited and Essar subsidiary Stanlow Terminals Limited to create a new facility which will convert non recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for use by airlines operating at UK airports.
The bio-refinery will convert several hundred thousand tonnes of pre-processed waste, which would have otherwise been destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100 million litres of low carbon SAF p/a.
The project, which will see an investment of approximately GBP600 million, will use Fulcrum’s waste-to-fuel process, construct, own and operate the plant within Essar’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in the North West of England.
This will be the first Fulcrum plant outside the US. The project will create 800 direct and indirect jobs, during the design, build and commissioning process and over 100 permanent jobs during its operation.
Plans for Fulcrum NorthPoint are expected to be complete at the end of this year and subject to planning consent, will be operational in late 2025. [more – original PR]
Original report: SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL PLANT SET FOR TAKE OFF AT STANLOW
Fulcrum BioEnergy and Essar announce plans for waste-to-fuel plant in the North West of England
Essar Oil (UK) Limited (Essar) is delighted to join forces with Fulcrum BioEnergy Limited (Fulcrum) and Essar’s subsidiary company Stanlow Terminals Limited to create a new facility which will convert non-recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for use by airlines operating at UK airports.
This innovative bio-refinery will convert several hundred thousand tonnes of pre-processed waste, which would have otherwise been destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100 million litres of low carbon SAF annually.
The project, which will see an investment of approximately £600m, will use Fulcrum’s proven waste-to-fuel process, which is already being deployed at its pioneering facility outside of Reno, Nevada in the United States, where operations are due to begin later this year.
The development will see Fulcrum, whose parent is based in California, United States, construct, own and operate the plant within Essar’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in the North West of England. This will be the first Fulcrum plant outside the United States.
Essar will assist with the blending and supply the new SAF to airlines, with Stanlow Terminals Limited providing product storage and logistics solutions for the project under a long-term agreement.
The Fulcrum venture will complement Essar’s wider plans to build a green energy industrial cluster at the Stanlow site. Earlier this year, it announced its participation in production of blue hydrogen under the HyNet project.
The project, which will fully integrate Essar, Stanlow Terminals Limited and Fulcrum assets and technology, is part of a number of innovative solutions at Stanlow designed to cut carbon emissions and contribute to the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The ambitious plan sets firm foundations to accelerate the UK’s path to net zero while transforming the economy, boosting employment and delivering growth.
The Stanlow project, named Fulcrum NorthPoint, will create 800 direct and indirect jobs during the design, build and commissioning process and over 100 permanent jobs during its operation. Plans for Fulcrum NorthPoint are expected to be complete at the end of this year and subject to planning consent, will be operational in late 2025.
This new development promises to lead the way to a cleaner and more sustainable future in the North West and change the way aviation fuel is made to help decarbonise the UK. By using SAF derived from residual domestic household and commercial waste, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced significantly on a lifecycle basis when compared to fuels produced from conventional crude oil.
Such emission reductions are approximately 70% and have the future potential to be fully carbon neutral. In addition, SAF produced at the site offers a 90% reduction in particulates, which may benefit local air quality in and around airports.
For Essar’s Stanlow Terminals Limited, this is a breakthrough deal to provide dedicated tank capacity for the storage and blending of fuel products from Fulcrum NorthPoint. It will also utilise direct pipeline access to pump and transport the SAF to UK airports through the Manchester Jet Line and the UK Oil Pipeline network (UKOP).
Stein Ivar Bye, Chief Executive Officer, Essar Oil UK, commented: “Stanlow has produced high quality energy products for over 60 years and we intend to remain a key national supplier of energy for the UK into the future. Our sights are firmly set on helping to drive the UK’s decarbonisation strategy. This landmark development supports our long term sustainability ambition to deliver the energy solutions of the future and position Stanlow as the UK’s leading sustainable aviation fuel hub. It also complements the announcement last month regarding a blue hydrogen development at Stanlow as part of the HyNet project. Together, these initiatives will help diversify the refinery in a greener direction, and help achieve the UK’s decarbonisation goals.”
Patrick Walters, Chief Executive Officer, Stanlow Terminals Limited, said: “This landmark announcement of our partnership with Fulcrum after our first year of operations is an excellent example of why Stanlow Terminals Limited was established. By offering efficient low carbon logistics solutions to develop third party business we support diversification of the traditional refinery business and become a fundamental part of the UK drive to become carbon neutral.”
Jeff Ovens, Managing Director, UK & Europe Fulcrum, added: “We are excited to be announcing this project, located within one of the UK’s most important energy producing assets, which will help reduce the burden on landfills and industry’s reliance on fossil fuels. Utilising the world class facilities available at Essar, including the impressive jet fuel storage facility at Stanlow Terminals Limited and direct pipeline to UK airports, Fulcrum, along with its current and future investors, will be able to build and operate its facility more efficiently and sets the ‘gold standard’ for SAF production by fully integrating its new, low carbon fuel technology directly within an existing refinery.
“Fulcrum’s fuel will enable airlines to reduce their impact on the environment and help put the aviation industry on its path to a more sustainable long-term operation. Aviation is one of the most hard to decarbonise transport sectors and sustainable aviation fuel is a key enabler for the reduction of carbon emissions. Unlike other fuel technologies currently being considered by industry, the use of SAF does not require changes to aircraft, engines, or airport infrastructure. Locating this facility in the North West of England at a strategic location will create new, skilled jobs whilst simultaneously contributing to the UK’s Net Zero 2050 objectives.”
Aviation Minister Robert Courts said: “This is great news for the North West, with hundreds of jobs created as the region takes the lead in making aviation greener.
“I hope this is a sign of great things to come as we look forward to a sustainable, low carbon future for aviation, helping us push forward towards our 2050 net-zero target.”
New Zealand‘s Department of Conservation releases new Heritage and Visitor Strategy
New Zealand‘s Conservation Minister Kiri Allan announced (17-Feb-2021) the Department of Conservation (DOC) released a new Heritage and Visitor Strategy, focusing on protecting and enhancing the value of New Zealand‘s natural, cultural and historic heritage, while also promoting a sustainable environmental experience. The strategy has three main goals, including:
- Protect: New Zealand‘s natural, cultural and historic resources are protected and restored to maintain biodiversity, cultural and historic values, ecosystem health, landscapes and natural quiet;
- Connect: Visitors are enriched and better connected to New Zealand‘s natural, cultural and historic heritage;
- Thrive: Tangata whenua, regions and communities benefit from protecting and connecting visitors with their natural, cultural and historic heritage.
For each of these goals, the strategy outlines the outcomes DOC is seeking, DOC’s approach to achieve them, and focus areas for prioritisation over the medium term. The Heritage and Visitor Strategy is designed for everyday use by DOC staff.
Ms Allan stated: “It has been a quarter of a century since DOC first developed a visitor strategy. Things have obviously changed quite a bit since then”.
It will help inform visitor and heritage management decisions across the country and DOC’s work with Treaty Partners, stakeholders and across government. [more – original PR]
Excerpt from original report: New DOC strategy champions responsible enjoyment of the outdoors
DOC’s new Heritage and Visitor Strategy is fully focused on protecting and enhancing the value of New Zealand’s natural, cultural and historic heritage, while also promoting a sustainable environmental experience, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.
“It has been a quarter of a century since DOC first developed a visitor strategy. Things have obviously changed quite a bit since then.”
Along with a significant increase in New Zealanders visiting conservation areas, there has been rapid growth and fluctuation in the numbers of international visitors as well as changes in how people want to get into nature and connect with New Zealand’s heritage.
“New Zealanders live in one of the most incredible places on Earth – with a natural, cultural and historic environment like no other. More than ever, people want to visit public conservation land and waters to experience our unique heritage,” says Kiri Allan.
“The new Heritage and Visitor Strategy, launched today, provides a framework for DOC to navigate the changing context for visitors and realise potential benefits for conservation and all New Zealanders.”
The emphasis on heritage is an important one, says Kiri Allan, “DOC may be best known as a caretaker for our native plants and wildlife, but its staff also manage the largest heritage portfolio in the country – over 13,000 sites right across Aotearoa.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how DOC needs to be able to quickly adapt to fluctuating numbers and visitor patterns in the short-term. The long-term implications of COVID-19 are yet to be seen, but in responding to the crisis and supporting recovery, there is an opportunity to reimagine a better future for New Zealand tourism,” says Kiri Allan.
“The strategy aims to shift DOC into a more proactive space so it can anticipate and plan for future changes; and create opportunities for visitors to support productive, sustainable and inclusive economies and enhance community wellbeing.”
The long-term goal is to build a system in which visitors contribute, directly or indirectly, to the conservation of New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage (in the way the current International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy contributes to the facilities, places and species that international visitors come here to enjoy).
“This contribution could be planting a tree; it could be checking a trapline, caring for huts and tracks, or in the form of a donation. It could be through ‘voluntourism’ initiatives such as Operation Tidy Fox where we saw a huge swell of interest from a wide range of people (both domestic and international).
“The strategy – in line with the Conservation Act – is very clear: DOC’s first priority is to protect the natural and cultural heritage it is charged with caring for on behalf of New Zealanders,” Kiri Allan said.
View the full Heritage and Visitor Strategy, plus more information on the strategy’s goals, approach and focus areas.
Clean Planet Energy launches kerosene/jet fuel produced from recycled plastics
Clean Planet Energy announced (17-Feb-2021) the launch of ‘Clean Planet Air’, a certified sustainable alternative kerosene/jet fuel offering to reduce CO2 emissions by a minimum of 75% in comparison to fossil based fuels.
The fuel is produced from waste plastics from the environment, with the company targeting more than one million tonnes of plastic waste removal p/a.
Clean Planet Energy is in the process of scaling up its production pipeline, with its first two plants already underway in the UK, and another four in development. [more – original PR]
Original report: Clean Planet Launch Ultra-Clean Jet Fuel: 75% cut in CO2 emissions, made from non-recyclable plastic
Today Clean Planet Energy have announced a breakthrough product in our mission to significantly reduce carbon emissions in fossil-fuel led transport. Branded as ‘Clean Planet Air’, the certified Kerosene / Jet Fuel can be used as a direct replacement for the fossil-fuel equivalent, yet it reduces CO2 emissions by a minimum of 75% in comparison, whilst removing thousands of tonnes of waste-plastics from the environment every year.
“On an average day across the world [post-COVID], you would expect 75,000 planes to take-off. The aviation industry is making great strides to be greener and cleaner, but still, it is calculated by the European EEA that a domestic flight, for every 1,000 KM travelled [the average distance between the UK > Spain], will release 250kg of new CO2e emissions for every economy passenger onboard. Those numbers will not meet the emission cuts the world must make to stop climate change, so alternatives are needed, and now. Currently there is no viable commercial alternative to fossil fuel led aviation, so until there is our strategy is to assist in the reduction of carbon emissions by producing alternative & greener fuels”; said Bertie Stephens, CEO of Clean Planet Energy.
Clean Planet Energy’s mission is to remove over 1 million tonnes of waste-plastics from the environment every year, and we achieve this by launching ecoPlants which convert this plastic into new products, including ultra-clean fuels and petrochemical feedstocks to make new circular-plastics.
The plastics used by Clean Planet in their ecoPlants would otherwise be going to landfill, incineration, or worse, entering our oceans.
Dr. Andrew Odjo, the Chief Technology Officer of Clean Planet Energy (CPE), gave further insight into the sustainability of the Jet Fuel launched today. “In addition to the carbon-emission savings, our Kerosene / Jet Fuel also has an 850x reduction in the poisonous NOx (Nitrogen Dioxide) and SOx (Sulphur Oxide) emissions which are responsible for around 9,000 early-deaths a day around the world. The CPE technology is able to handle plastics that simply cannot be mechanically recycled today, therefore also providing a solution to the waste-plastic crisis too”.
With the first two plants already underway in the UK, and another 4 in development, Clean Planet Energy are currently scaling their ecoPlant pipeline, working with Local Authorities around the UK and Europe to provide a revenue-generating solution. Clean Planet have already introduced a certified, premium, ultra-clean & zero-sulphur Diesel fuel which meets the top EU EN15940 specifications; in addition to further fuels which directly substitute the fossil-fuel requirements for large Marine vessels (e.g. Cruise & Freight ships). This latest announcement now means Clean Planet cover almost all major road, sea and air transport fuel types.
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