Airlines

Published on March 11th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer

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Ryanair Join Initiative to Support Sustainable Aviation Fuels

Ryanair has announced it has joined the “Fuelling Flight Initiative” in its commitment to supporting Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) as an essential element to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the aviation industry.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is produced from sustainable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel. Using SAF results in a reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel. Some typical feedstocks used are cooking oil and other non-palm waste oils from animals or plants; solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration. Other potential sources include forestry waste, such as waste wood, and energy crops, including fast growing plants and algae. One of the biggest producers of SAF, Air bp, creates its fuel from used cooking oil and animal waste fat.

SAF gives an impressive reduction of up to 80% in carbon emissions over the lifecycle of the fuel compared to traditional jet fuel it replaces, depending on the sustainable feedstock used, production method and the supply chain to the airport. SAF can be blended at up to 50% with traditional jet fuel and all quality tests are completed as per a traditional jet fuel. The blend is then re-certified as Jet A or Jet A-1. It can be handled in the same way as a traditional jet fuel, so no changes are required in the fuelling infrastructure or for an aircraft wanting to use SAF. In 2016, Air bp were the first operator to commence commercial supply of SAF through an existing hydrant fuelling system, at Norway’s Oslo Airport. Any aircraft certified for using the current specification of jet fuel can use SAF.

The Fuelling Flight Initiative provides recommendations on the sustainability aspects of the EU’s policy design to support SAFs. Together with environmental groups, fellow airlines and research organisations, the group convenes to reach consensus on the necessary policies for the transition towards carbon neutral flying.

Ryanair’s Director of Sustainability, Tom Fowler, said: “We are delighted to join the ‘Fuelling Flight Initiative’. Sustainable Aviation Fuels are a key component of airlines’ efforts on the road to carbon-neutrality. A transparent and future-proof regulatory framework for SAFs can support and equip airlines in their fight against climate change, and we are proud to be part of this initiative.

Ryanair’s environmental record speaks for itself.  Our Environmental Policy includes investment in new and more efficient aircraft, support for research into SAFs, elimination of non-recyclable plastics within 5 years and participation in verified carbon projects powered by Ryanair customer donations. With this new initiative, we take a further step to the achievement of our decarbonisation targets and the broader UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

Pete Harrison, the Executive Director of EU Climate Policy of the European Climate Foundation said: “The ECF is delighted that Ryanair has joined this initiative. Europe must ensure that future policies only promote the most sustainable fuels for reducing the climate impact of aviation, and the EU needs to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The current Renewable Energy Directive does not ensure that fuels used in Europe meet the sustainability standards desired by civil society nor of leading airlines. In the ‘Fuelling Flight Initiative’, aviation companies, research organisations and environmental groups have now reached agreement on this important topic, and we propose shared guidelines on how to minimise environmental impacts. Policymakers should take this into consideration when defining a policy framework that is fair, affordable and meets the highest sustainability standards without compromise.”

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About the Author

Mark Dwyer

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.



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