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.
Airbus signs two European airlines and three ANSPs as partners for fello’fly demonstration project
Airbus signed (09-Sep-2020) a series of agreements concerning its fello’fly operations emissions reduction demonstrator project.
The partners will work to demonstrate the operational feasibility of using wake energy retrieval (WER) formation flying to reduce aviation emissions. WER replicates bird formation flying behaviour to lower energy consumption.
The technique of a follower aircraft retrieving energy lost by a leader, by flying in the smooth updraft of air the wake creates, reduces fuel consumption in the range of 5%-10% per trip.
The partners will develop a safe and realistic concept of operations necessary to shape future operational regulations for fello’flights.
Original report: Airbus joined by European partners to demonstrate reduced emission fello’fly operations
Airbus joined by European partners to demonstrate reduced emission fello’fly operations
Airbus has signed agreements with two airline customers; Frenchbee and SAS Scandinavian Airlines, as well as three Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP); France’s DSNA (Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne), the UK’s NATS and EUROCONTROL to demonstrate the operational feasibility of Airbus’ demonstrator project, fello’fly, for reducing aviation emissions.
Inspired by biomimicry, fello’fly is based on Wake Energy Retrieval (WER) to reduce aviation emissions. WER replicates the behaviour of birds, which fly together to reduce their energy consumption. The technique of a follower aircraft retrieving energy lost by a leader, by flying in the smooth updraft of air the wake creates, reduces fuel consumption in the range of 5-10% per trip.
Frenchbee and SAS will provide airline expertise in flight planning and operations for the collaborative requirements necessary for bringing together aircraft before and during a fello’fly operation. DSNA, NATS and EUROCONTROL will contribute air navigation expertise defining how two aircraft can be brought safely together, minimising impact on today’s procedures. In parallel Airbus will continue working on the technical solution to assist pilots in ensuring that aircraft remain safely positioned.
Under the agreements, Airbus, Frenchbee, SAS, DSNA, NATS and EUROCONTROL will develop a safe and realistic concept of operations (CONOPS) necessary to shape future operational regulations for fello’flights. Flight testing will take place throughout 2020 using two Airbus A350 aircraft, with the involvement of the airlines and ANSPs as early as 2021 in an oceanic airspace.
Given the high potential to make a significant impact on emissions reduction for the aviation industry as a whole, directly contributing to the sector’s sustainable growth goals, Airbus is targeting a controlled Entry-Into-Service (EIS), which is expected by the middle of this decade.
Air France and Solar Impulse launch competition to improve onboard recycling
Air France and the Solar Impulse Foundation launched (Sep-2020) an innovation challenge to improve Air France‘s sustainable inflight operations. The competition aims to select a concept that replaces current plastic wine/champagne glasses onboard with new single-use glasses made from biobased/compostable materials. Criteria highlights include:
- Bio-based with a capacity of 15cl;
- Production of between three million and eight million units;
- Lightweight materials, single use and fully recyclable;
- Comply with the European Commission Environment Code and Directive 2019/904 as well as various other French and European regulations;
- Product sourcing must limit the transport between the place of manufacture and the place of distribution;
Applications for the competition will be accepted until 15-Oct-2020. [more – original PR]
Original report: Innovation Challenge by Air France : Champagne & Wine Glasses single use plastic alternatives
Sep-2020 Air France is committed to reducing its environmental impact and limiting the use of single use plastic which has already been partly achieved by getting rid of water/soft drinks plastic cups. As Air France is the only remaining airline serving champagne in economy class, they are looking to improve their sustainable in-flight operations by replacing the current use of plastic wine/champagne glasses with new and stylish single-use glasses made from bio-based/compostable materials.
Are you up for solving this single use plastic challenge!
By applying for this challenge you will have the opportunity to present your solutions to the Air France team and if selected put together a proof of concept with the aim to have your glasses on board Air France flights in July 2021!
Here under are the specifications for the product Air France is looking to introduce in its in-flight operations:
Contain capacity of 15 cl
Must be designed as a stemware
Scalable potential (see production quantity below)
Transparency of the material is highly preferred
Only TRL6-7 and above will be considered as eligible to answer to the challenge
The glasses must be designed in such a way that they can be stacked up together before and after usage
The cup must comply with the Environment Code and Directive 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.
The supplier must offer articles that comply with the various French and European regulations and their developments.
In regards to the sourcing of the product, Air France would like to limit the transport between the place of manufacture and the place of distribution.
Between 3 and 8 million
AS PART OF THE CHALLENGE AIR FRANCE MUST KNOW
The origin of the raw material
Certification of the raw material
Place of manufacture / final packaging
Detail all types of transport/distances used for the delivery of the product
Alternatives materials, colours and format will be considered as long as the quality, solidity and durability of the product is maintained and ideally reduces costs.
The packaging used by the supplier must ensure a total protection of the product (no defects, scratches or tears until it is dismantled in catering)
Easy to unpack
More ecological solutions for packaging can be proposed: reduction of over-packaging, reduction of the use of plastic, etc.
Apply by the 15th of October and have the chance to win an opportunity to be introduced to the Air France team.
Hope to meet you soon!
Solar Impulse Foundation and Air France Team
Air France begins testing all-electric ramp handling ops
Air France tested (03-Sep-2020) ramp handling operations using all-electric engines produced by French start-up CARWATT and TLD. Testing of electric systems covered aircraft air supply, transfer of baggage from the terminal to the aircraft, baggage and cargo loading and aircraft push back.
Air France and TLD engineers will also soon begin testing a self-guided aircraft approach in real-life conditions for the new electric loaders used to load cargo onboard aircraft.
Air France aims to convert close to 60% of its own fleet of ramp equipment in use in Paris and bases in France to electric by the end of 2020, increasing to 90% by 2025, and enabling savings of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 p/a. By 2030, the airline aims to make all ground handling operations carbon neutral. [more – original PR]
Original report: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: AIR FRANCE CONTINUES TO INVEST IN ELECTRIC RAMP EQUIPMENT
As part of its sustainable development policy, Air France has set itself the aim of halving its CO2 emissions per passenger km by 2030. To achieve this, the airline is doing all it can to reduce its carbon footprint at every stage of its value chain, both on the ground and on board.
For several years, Air France has been committed to using electric ramp equipment, and on 3 September 2020, tested the ramp handling of a Paris–Delhi flight using all-electric engines produced by French start-up CARWATT and TLD, the world leader in the construction of ramp equipment. Some of this equipment is certified by the Solar Impulse Foundation – of which Air France is a partner – for its ecological and economic value. The following equipment was used:
– for the aircraft’s air supply: a Lebrun TLD air conditioner
– for the transfer of baggage from the terminal to the aircraft, a Charlatte tractor
– for baggage loading: a CARWATT conveyor belt
– for cargo loading, a TLD wide-body TLD loader
– Finally, the aircraft was pushed back from its parking stand by a TLD wide-body tug.
Supporting innovation and mobilizing its ecosystem to develop economically and ecologically viable solutions is one of the major priorities of Air France‘s sustainable development policy. The airline therefore supports the development of innovative aircraft offering alternatives to the use of fossil fuels. The partnership between Air France and CARWATT, launched in 2017, combines electrification and circular economy, with the transformation of old thermally powered baggage carousels into electric-powered carousels with second-life Li-Ion batteries. TLD, Air France‘s supplier and long-time partner, is using the Air France hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle as a testing ground for the development of its engines. Air France and TLD engineers will soon be testing the self-guided aircraft approach in real-life conditions (equivalent to a “park assist” on cars) for the new electric loaders used to load cargo on board aircraft.
By the end of 2020, close to 60% of the fleet of ramp equipment used by Air France at airports where the airline operates its own equipment (Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Air France stations in mainland France) will be electric. This rate will be increased to 90% in 2025, making it possible to save 10,000 tons of CO2 emission every year. By 2030, Air France aims to make its ground operations carbon neutral.
The Paris–Delhi flight on 3 September 2020 was operated by an Air France Airbus A350, a latest-generation aircraft that consumes 25% less fuel than the equivalent aircraft of the previous generation, thanks to the incorporation of lighter materials, composites and titanium. Its noise footprint is also reduced by 40%.
Air France‘s sustainable development commitments also cover fleet renewal, eco-piloting, recycling, offsetting CO2 emissions, the use of sustainable aviation fuels and mobilizing research. For more details on the Horizon 2030 plan, click here.
For fifteen consecutive years, the Air France-KLM Group has ranked first in Europe and the world in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the main international index assessing performance in terms of sustainable development, and regained the top spot in the rankings in 2019.
airBaltic CEO notes continuing importance of sustainability
airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss said sustainability in aviation remains important and will become more so after the coronavirus crisis subsides (nra.lv, 09-Sep-2020).
Mr Gauss added while the carrier’s Destination 2020 CLEAN business plan was adapted to the current situation, it continues to focus on climate and sustainability.
The carrier plans to operate a single aircraft type in the future to achieve fuel savings of 82% and will continue to invest in electric motors. Mr Gauss said airBaltic will continue to grow.
Gevo seeking USD200m capital raise to support sustainable fuel plans
Gevo provided (08-Sep-2020) the following update on its business and strategic plans:
- Gevo recently raised approximately USD46 million, net of expenses, from a registered direct offering and approximately USD16 million as a result of warrant exercises. This capital infusion substantially improves Gevo‘s ability to execute on its strategic plans;
- Gevo continues to pursue a licensing and developer strategy that is expected to enable the construction of up to three production facilities and capacity expansions. The production facilities and expansions are needed to provide the product required under its existing and expected, future take-or-pay, off-take agreements. The licensing and developer strategy should reduce or eliminate the need for Gevo construction capital by utilising project-level debt and third-party equity;
- Gevo continues to seek a targeted capital raise of around USD200 million of project-level equity using a project financing structure to build up to three production facilities. The first expanded production facility or project is expected to be located at Gevo‘s current production facility located in Luverne, Minnesota;
- As previously announced, Gevo engaged Citigroup Global Markets to lead a process to develop the three projects and procure the capital needed by Gevo to build up to three production facilities. Gevo expects it will take approximately one year to develop and close the financing for the first project. Assuming Gevo successfully closes on a financing in the next 12 months, Gevo would expect production of hydrocarbon fuels from the first project in late 2023 or early 2024. [more – original PR]
Original report: Gevo Provides Business Update
- Gevo recently raised approximately $46 million, net of expenses, from a Registered Direct Offering and approximately $16 million as a result of warrant exercises. This capital infusion substantially improves Gevo’s ability to execute on its strategic plans.
- Gevo continues to pursue a licensing and developer strategy that is expected to enable the construction of up to three production facilities and capacity expansions. The production facilities and expansions are needed to provide the product required under its existing and expected, future take-or-pay, off-take agreements. The licensing and developer strategy should reduce or eliminate the need for Gevo construction capital by utilizing project-level debt and third-party equity.
- Gevo continues to seek a targeted capital raise of ~$200 million of project-level equity using a project financing structure to build up to three production facilities. The first expanded production facility or project is expected to be located at Gevo’s current production facility located in Luverne, Minnesota.
- As previously announced, Gevo engaged Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (“Citigroup”) to lead a process to develop the three projects and procure the capital needed by Gevo to build up to three production facilities. Gevo expects it will take approximately one year to develop and close the financing for the first project. Assuming Gevo successfully closes on a financing in the next 12 months, Gevo would expect production of hydrocarbon fuels from the first project in late 2023 or early 2024.
“We currently have approximately $81 million in cash on the balance sheet. This cash will provide us with the ability to eliminate the White-box convertible note on the maturity date at the end of the year. I am pleased to say that we now have more financial resources to execute on our strategy. We plan to use those resources to complete critical work related to full engineering, site access and development, and permitting work necessary to fully develop our initial three production facilities to project finance standards. Furthermore, we will continue to develop the marketplace and try to obtain more renewable hydrocarbon offtake contracts,” said Patrick Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo.
Business and Strategy Review
Gevo will continue to develop the marketplace and try to create additional customer demand for its next generation of renewable premium gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel products that have the potential to achieve zero carbon emissions, while addressing the market need of reducing greenhouse gas emissions with sustainable alternatives.
Utilizing Special Purpose Entities for Production Facilities Construction
Gevo’s strategy is to act as the licensor of its technology and project developer. This strategy is intended to allow Gevo to recapture the capital deployed to develop projects, with such capital recoveries occurring at financial closings of any successful development projects. Gevo’s current strategy is for any production facilities to be owned by Special Purpose Entities (“SPEs”) that will be non or limited-recourse companies. Gevo intends to negotiate minority ownership interests in the SPEs. The developer business model is expected to provide Gevo with fee income streams from SPEs for value-added functions around technology licensing, project management, and operations and maintenance. There is no assurance that Gevo will be successful in executing this licensing and developer project finance strategy.
Update on Project Financing Efforts
In April 2020, Gevo engaged Citigroup to help secure project finance funding to develop and establish production capabilities for its contracted products across up to three production facilities. To facilitate this expansion, Gevo estimates the project capital cost would be around $700 million, including $200 million of equity and $500 million of debt. Gevo is still in the early phase of the Citigroup process of securing financing with the process slowed somewhat due issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gevo expects it will take approximately one year to develop and close the financing for the first project. Production of hydrocarbon fuels from the first project is not expected prior to late 2023 or early 2024.
Gevo believes the following additional key milestones are important to potential project investors: finalizing and acquiring the rights to the additional production facility sites, completing engineering work to finalize the exact capital requirements, securing additional take-or-pay contracts and developing plans to mitigate various financial risks associated with the proposed projects. On a proforma modeling basis, which incorporates a range of assumptions, the production facilities in the SPEs should yield greater than 20% levered internal rate of returns for investors. Gevo cannot assure whether it will be successful in securing investors for its potential development projects on acceptable terms or at all.
Going forward, Gevo intends to use its cash to secure additional customers, further develop the marketplace for its low-carbon fuels, fund incremental process improvements, engineering, and site development and permitting. Gevo believes its stronger capitalization provides it the needed flexibility and financial strength to manage through the development process of securing project financing as well as to weather unexpected challenges.