The alternative aviation fuel industry continues to conduct flight tests to validate the use of new jet-fuel blends. At the end of April, United Airlines became the first U.S. commercial carrier to fly using a certified synthetic-fuel blend that received ASTM approval last year.
Regulations and Government » Environment
Turbofan manufacturers are developing cleaner, quieter and more environmentally friendly engines that will meet current and future regulatory requirements. That fact should come as no surprise, since they have been doing this all along as the natural byproduct of efforts to build more fuel-efficient and quieter turbofans for a market that demands nothing less.
The benefits of implementing NextGen and its European counterpart, the Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar), are threefold: not only will the new procedures and technologies improve safety and efficiency, but they will also yield environmental benefits. The ultimate goal is to increase airspace capacity while reducing fuel burn, emissions and noise.
There is no silver bullet for reducing the effect of business aviation on the environment, most industry analysts agree, but the combination of new technology–such as engines and airframe components–improved ATC techniques and biofuels promises to dramatically reduce business aviation's carbon footprint.
An Airbus-led partnership with Air France and the air navigation service providers from the UK, Canada and the U.S.—respectively, NATS, Nav Canada and the FAA—plan soon to begin Transatlantic Green Flight (TGF) trials with an Air France A380 on revenue flights from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG).
As the European Union emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) expands to cover aircraft flying into and out of the EU starting in 2012, airlines based all around the world stand to feel the effects. Of course, U.S. regional airlines don’t fly into Europe, and until recently few of them spent much time considering the prospect of taxes on their carbon emissions.
The FAA awarded contracts valued at $125 million to several manufacturers to develop and demonstrate technologies that will reduce jet aircraft fuel consumption, emissions and noise.
Under a plan first revealed two years ago, Rolls-Royce and British Airways have invited fuel suppliers to participate in tests to evaluate alternative aviation fuels in a study to seek practical alternatives to kerosene, the current standard fuel. The two companies have requested samples for possible laboratory and rig trials and, ultimately, tests on a Rolls-Royce RB211-524G engine from a British Airways Boeing 747-400.
Plans by British Airways and U.S. energy solutions company Solena Group to establish Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant–dubbed “GreenSky”–are being outlined here at the Farnborough airshow by the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), which claims to lead the development, testing, environmental acceptance, qualification and deployment of alternative aviation fuels.
Clean Sky, the European Union’s ?1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) aeronautical research program, is aiming to have several demonstrators running on the ground or flying in 2014-2015. At the first Clean Sky conference, held June 18 in Brussels, project leaders said that after a slow start in 2008-2009 the joint technology initiative (JTI) is gathering speed.