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Posts Tagged ‘aviation

United Airlines’ biofuel initiative

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9461144263_590dedf9f5_zUnited Airlines has launched an initiative that will use biofuel to help power flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

And according to a Washington Post report, United eventually plans to expand its use of biofuels to all flights operating out of LAX. It’s a pretty big deal because while biofuel has been tested by several airlines, it’s the first time an American airline will begin using renewable fuel for regular commercial operations.

The renewable fuel used to power United’s aircraft is supplied by an LA refinery operated by AltAir Fuels, which is using the facility to produce both renewable jet fuel and diesel fuel using a technology developed by Honeywell UOP. In 2013, AltAir and United announced their partnership, in which United will purchase up to 15 million gallons of biofuel over a three-year period. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

14 March, 2016 at 6:00 am

Airlines alerted to assess lithium battery risks

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batteries_bitslammerA few days after my most recent post on safe battery technology, Safe battery tech prevents “thermal runaway”, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a “safety alert” urging U.S. and foreign commercial passenger and cargo airlines to conduct “a safety risk assessment to manage the risks associated with transporting lithium batteries as cargo.”

The FAA also is issued a guidance to its own inspectors to help them determine whether airlines have adequately assessed the risk of handling and carrying lithium batteries as cargo.

FAA said in press release that battery fire testing has “highlighted the potential risk of a catastrophic aircraft loss due to damage resulting from a lithium battery fire or explosion. Current cargo fire suppression systems cannot effectively control a lithium battery fire. As a result of those tests, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have advised airlines about the dangers associated with carrying lithium batteries as cargo and also have encouraged them to conduct safety risk assessments.”

The agency noted that hazardous materials rules currently ban passenger airlines from carrying lithium-metal batteries as cargo. Also, a number of large commercial passenger airlines voluntarily decided not to carry rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries.

“The safety risk assessment process is designed to identify and mitigate risks for the airlines that still carry lithium batteries and to help those that don’t carry them from inadvertently accepting them for transport,” FAA said.

The Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) encourages airlines that previously conducted safety assessments to reevaluate them in light of new evidence from the agency’s recent lithium battery fire tests.

So…FAA, meet Stanford—and vice versa.

Image: batteries by bitslammer via Flickr


Written by William DiBenedetto

15 February, 2016 at 6:30 am

EPA takes big step to regulate aircraft GHGs

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Pulpolux_20secondsThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to issue a scientific finding that greenhouse gases from aircraft pose a risk to human health, paving the way for regulating emissions from the U.S. aviation industry.

Touching off what is likely to be a long and contentious regulatory process, the EPA on Wednesday said it is “proposing to find under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial aircraft contribute to the pollution that causes climate change endangering the health and welfare of Americans.”

At the same time, the agency released information about the international process underway by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for developing carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for aircraft and EPA’s participation in that process. EPA is seeking public input to inform future steps by the agency. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

10 June, 2015 at 11:27 am

NRDC airline scorecard ranks airline biofuel use

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NRDC aviation biofuel picHere’s the deal: air travel emissions pump more than 650 million metric tons of carbon pollution into the air each year – that’s equivalent to the pollution from 136 million cars. It’s not likely that airplanes will go away anytime soon, which makes the increased use of sustainable biofuels critical to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

According to a first-of-its-kind scorecard released earlier this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council, “the industry is making strides in adopting sustainable biofuels, with some airlines doing better than others as they incorporate these new fuels into their fleets. Air France/KLM is by far the leader of the pack.”

Debbie Hammel, senior resource specialist with NRDC’s Land & Wildlife Program and author of the scorecard, As the world rises to the challenge of curbing climate change and cutting carbon pollution, addressing air travel pollution has to be part of the mix. The aviation sector has been pretty proactive about this issue, and an industry-wide increase in the use of sustainably produced biofuels is definitely on the horizon.”

NRDC’s Aviation Biofuel Sustainability Scorecards evaluated airlines’ adoption of biofuels, focusing on the use of leading sustainability certification standards, participation in industry initiatives to promote sustainability certification, public commitments to sustainability certification in sourcing, and the monitoring and disclosure of important sustainability metrics.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

16 February, 2015 at 5:28 am

Airbus electric aircraft flies

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E-Fan Technology Demonstrator (2)_loRecently I wrote about Boeing’s all-electric satellite, which might launch later this year. Not to be outdone, apparently, Airbus Group flew the first all-electric aircraft late last month, called the E-Fan.

The E-Fan is an all-electric trainer aircraft made of composite material.

Leaving jet fuel behind means there is slight hitch: at the moment the the plane can fly for about an hour on a single charge. In any case this is a pretty big deal, because the largest aerospace and defense company in Europe and the world’s leading commercial aircraft manufacturer is backing it, is planning to build the trainer in series and is also planning to use what it learns to eventually develop a regional passenger model. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

20 May, 2014 at 4:03 am

PNW’s Feedstock Diversity and Supply Chain Potential Can Boost Green Jet Fuel

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Algae-based crude oil

Pacific Northwest aviation and renewable energy interests say there are encouraging signs of an emerging market for sustainable aviation fuels. And those same interests want to make it real.

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest consortium, in a report this month, concludes that no single feedstock or technology pathway is likely to provide sustainable aviation fuel at the scale or speed needed to produce and maintain jet fuel supply.

Therefore, the 132-page report, “Powering the Next Generation of Flight,” focuses on a portfolio of options, including different conversion technologies and sources of potentially sustainable biomass, including oilseeds, forest residues, solid waste, and algae.

Instead of trying to single out the best source of aviation fuels, SAFN emphasizes the need to create “complete supply chains that can draw upon diverse feedstocks.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

14 June, 2011 at 2:00 am

PNW Trifecta: Shore power at Tacoma, FAA grant for Sea-Tac, EPA award for Portland

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It was a very good week indeed for green and Pacific Northwest—the PNW’s first cargo ship plugged into shore power at the Port of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received an $18 million environmental grant and the Port of Portland received a 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here’s the run-down:

– State, federal and Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express officials flipped the switch on October 27 on the Pacific Northwest’s first cargo ship to run on dockside shore power.

Helped by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. Also known as cold ironing, it’s a great way to reduce air-polluting diesel emissions, but has been slow to catch on. Passenger vessels at the Port of Seattle have had the shore power option for several years.

Tacoma port officials said the $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE’s 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, contributed about $1.2 million to retrofit the two ships to accommodate shore power connections and add some of the terminal infrastructure. The port provided environmental permitting, grant administration and project management.

The EPA grant was provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
(ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. Read the rest of this entry »

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