Joined by top U.S. transportation officials, Boeing and American Airlines showcased the 737-800 “ecoDemonstrator” flying testbed at Washington Reagan National Airport on September 18. Boeing flew the aircraft from its flight-test facility at Glasgow, Montana, one day earlier using a biofuel blend partially made from used cooking oil.
Regulations and Government » Environment
Nineteen U.S. aviation organizations–including NBAA, NATA, AOPA and GAMA–sent a joint letter to President Obama yesterday urging him to “challenge the inclusion of international aviation under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) by initiating an Article 84 proceeding in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).” Invoking Article 84 allows the ICAO council to decide disputes that cannot be settled between member states.
The political momentum pushing for the European Union (EU) to abandon the unilateral imposition of its controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS) on non-European states increased last week, when four senior government ministers from France, Spain, Germany and the UK publicly called for the policy to be suspended or at least implemented more flexibly. The so-called “Airbus ministers,” representing the four partner nations in the Airbus consortium, made the announcement during a press conference at the ILA airshow in Berlin.
Fourteen European aerospace companies, including Eurocopter and Dassault, have signed a letter supporting the proposed “Clean Sky 2” Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). The seven-year, €3.6 billion ($4.8 billion) program is a follow-on to the current Clean Sky JTI funded by the EU and the industry.
Airbus and China’s Tsinghua University have agreed to jointly investigate biofuel feedstocks in the country in an initiative designed to identify the best options for sustainable commercialization of alternative fuel supply for aviation. By early next year, Airbus hopes to have narrowed down the list of possible feedstocks, which will include cooking oil and algae, to the most promising alternative fuel solutions. With that decision taken, the partners intend to investigate ways to accelerate production.
At a public hearing August 6 in Sherman Oaks, Calif., citizens of the Los Angeles metro area took to the microphone to complain to FAA Western-Pacific regional administrator Bill Withycombe about noise caused by low-flying helicopters.
With the debate over Europe’s emissions trading scheme heating up faster than you can say “illegal carbon tax,” aviation quietly continues the efficiency and emissions-reduction gains that have been under way for decades. Engine manufacturers are turning their ingenuity to building lighter engines that get more out of every drop of fuel and emit less greenhouse gas.
Boeing and China’s Comac opened a new joint-venture facility in Beijing last week to study biofuels refinement and improvements to air traffic management. Its first project is to study the prospects for refining used cooking oil, often described in China as “gutter oil,” into sustainable aviation biofuel.
Air traffic management solutions company NATS is collaborating with UAE-based Royal Jet to help improve the environmental performance of the air charter firm’s flights in UK airspace. The partnership will see the two parties work together to improve Royal Jet’s flight efficiency, as well as reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions. NATS will provide Royal Jet with actual data to monitor its flight profiles.
Canada’s National Research Council has been flight-testing its Dassault Falcon 20 fueled by biofuel while sampling the exhaust using a probe fitted to a Lockheed T-33 chase plane. The flights pushed the mix 10 percent beyond the certified 50/50 blend of fossil fuel and the biofuel, which is produced from a new, domestically grown feedstock crop derived from Brassica carinata, basically a “hardy weed,” The crop was optimized for aviation use by Agrisoma Biosciences and processed into biofuel by Honeywell UOP.