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   Vol. 17 No. 5
Monday January 29, 2018

Nordic Countries Go Greener

Change In The Air

     Step by step, the Nordic countries are becoming renewable and sustainable energy societies and the landscape is changing. Windmills account for 57% of Denmark’s electricity, out the country’s total 66% energy realized from renewables.
     Norway gets 98% from hydro electric power plants and a few power percentages from windmills.
     Sweden and Finland each realize between 50% respectively 16% of their electricity from hydro-electric power plants.

Where Rubber Meets The Road

     But for road transportation, the numbers are generally modest, except for Norway that fields a 5.75% market-share of electric cars in use today, followed by Iceland with almost 1% electric cars; Sweden with 0.7%, and Denmark (regretfully) with only 0.30%.
     But considering new sales, EVs are rapidly gaining wider acceptance with Norway at 13.84%, followed by Iceland, Sweden and Denmark.
     Overall where the rubber meets the road, Norway and Iceland are the Nordic Stars operating the largest numbers of new generation vehicles and that number is growing.

The Numbers Are Up

     In 2014, roughly 85% of primary energy use in Iceland was delivered from indigenous renewable resources; with 66% of that number realized from geothermal sources.
     Those numbers are still very modest considering road transportation accounts for only about only 695 EVs utilizing renewable energy. But I’m very confident that the nature loving Icelanders and their deep respect for nature shall convert quickly to EVs, once 4 wheel Cross Country EV cars becomes available at a competitive price.

Taking To The Skies

     So while the Nordic countries are moving nicely towards renewables in general and especially reducing GHG and CO2 emissions, the aviation industry needs to follow the general trend – and they do!

Swedish View on Sustainable Aviation

     According to Suvi Häkkinen of Swedavia the company that operates the major airports of Sweden the future of sustainable airports is the hot button topic right now.
     “The aviation industry in Sweden has a vision, ” Suvi assures.
     “ In 2030, the corresponding amount of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) required to operate domestic flights will be refueled at Swedish airports.
     “Swedavia has a long-term commitment to decrease fossil CO2 emissions and environmental impact from its own operations and to support aviation's transition from fossil fuels to SAF.
     “Swedavia therefore actively supports the development of SAF in Sweden and provide access to SAF at Swedavia’s 10 airports that take care of approximately 90 percent of all air traffic in Sweden.

Putting Money Where Mouth Is

     “Since 2016, Swedavia is buying the same amount of SAF as is needed for the employee’s business trips each year. The 450 tons of SAF are purchased via the Fly Green Fund.
     “By this action, Swedavia wants to show decision-makers, companies and producers that already today, there is both a demand for and a possibility to refuel with SAF in air travel,” Suvi added, “in that way we can contribute toward a more commercial market for SAF in Sweden and in the Nordics.”

Sustainability of Aviation Biofuels

     “It is important that SAF is being used in a larger scale to show that it actually works. “At this early stage, there is a need of a balanced approach between sustainability parameters and what is technically and commercially possible,” Suvi continued.

The Magic Forest

     “In Sweden, only as one example, there are a lot of residuals from the forest industry that can be used to produce SAF.
     “In this case, the sustainability parameters are probably met and the main hurdle is the financial aspect to make it profitable.
     “Economic incentives are needed to improve scalability,” Suvi points out.
     “As soon as there is a market for SAF, the actual introduction in the system is easy compared to many other energy consuming sectors.
     “The global air fleet consists of only around 25,000 aircraft with less than 2000 fuel filling stations.
     “In Sweden alone, there are more than 5 million cars and 2,000 filling stations for road vehicles (each one handling at least three different kind of fuels) compared to 40 airports where only a handful are needed for all aviation fuel distribution.
     “Since the fuel will be a drop-in solution it can be used in current aircraft and with existing airport infrastructure.”

Investment Welcome

     “Moving forward a certain percentage of investment in green technology and governmental loan guarantees could incentivize investments in SAF production. “It could also be valuable to incentivize the use of current bio refineries to also produce SAF.
     “This would in many cases probably mean a less capital intensive way to produce SAF as long as we don’t have a totally different production technology to produce this fuel.
     “One way to increase the demand of SAF could be to make it mandatory for all public authorities (government, municipalities, regions etc.) to use SAF for their business trips according to a similar model that is being used by Swedavia,” Suvi opined.

The Norwegian Perspective

     “The Norwegian Perspective,” a government supported initiative, is to reach 30% SAF by 2030.
     Olav Mosvold Larsen, Senior Executive Adviser, Avinor – managing sustainability initiatives at 45 airports in Norway has some thoughts.
     “Organizations from the Norwegian aviation industry joined forces to look into what must be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “At the moment, fleet renewal and investments in new technology would make the biggest contributions towards reducing environmental emissions.
     “To reduce emissions even further, sustainable biofuels will have to replace today’s fossil-based fuel.
     “A new report from Rambøll shows that 30% or 400 million liters of all aviation fuel used at Avinor's airports could be sustainable by 2030.
     “This fuel could be produced from forestry waste and pulpwood from Norwegian forests.
     “All the parties involved in Norwegian aviation must share responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
     “It is extremely good news that it will be possible to achieve a 30% cut in emissions thanks to large-scale investment in sustainable biofuels.

Other Voices

     “The increase in production would also create new businesses and jobs in Norway, ”said Dag Falk-Petersen, (leftt) CEO of Avinor.
     “At the moment, very little sustainable biofuel is produced on a global scale and the small amount available is not priced competitively.
     “This means that achieving the target of a 30% blend, and the corresponding cut in emissions, would only be possible with the help of public funding.
     “The authorities and politicians will have to facilitate large-scale investment in the commercial production of biofuel in Norway, with financial incentives that work. “The environmental charges currently paid by the airlines would have to be used for activities that benefit the climate.
     “This would allow us to create a commercial market for the production of biofuel for aviation as quickly as possible,” Falk-Petersen said.
     “The sustainable biofuel initative would also have to go to those sectors of the aviation industry which currently have no other technological alternatives,” said Torbjørn Lothe, (below right) Director General of the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industry.
     “The Rambøll report outlines two detailed models that could finance the production of sustainable biofuel for aircraft in Norway. “This is how the first would work:
                The airlines continue to pay the same charges as they do now.
                The money goes into a fund.
                The airlines subscribe to the fund.
                The fund pays the additional costs required to blend the biofuel into the mix
                Producers sell through contracts signed with the airlines.
     “An alternative model is for a similar fund to be responsible for drawing up purchase agreements for biofuel on behalf of the airlines.
     “The fund could initiate a tender process and invite bids to supply a given number of liters of fuel for a specified period. The fund would achieve economies of scale and better contracts than if the airlines worked independently.
     “The fund system could help the Norwegian aviation industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
     “It would also have a knock-on effect in terms of emissions trading allowances, and would achieve reductions in other sectors.
     “We have outlined the options, and now it is up to the authorities and politicians to turn the aviation industry’s green initiative into reality,” said Lothe.

A Postcript & Further Reading

     The objective of the Rambøll report was to look at access to sustainable fuel and new, certified production technologies.
     Another important task was to evaluate what funding would be required to phase in sustainable biofuel for aircraft at Norwegian airports.
     The study was conducted by Rambøll, with the assistance of Vista Analyse and Sintef. The project’s steering group included representatives from Avinor, Norwegian, SAS and the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries.
     Regular steering group meetings were held throughout the study.
     A range of other organizations were also invited to workshops and meetings; these included potential producers of bio jet fuel, funding agencies, environmental organizations and other special-interest organizations.
     The Avinor and Norwegian initiative was presented by Tove Kristin Flølo, Director General, The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communication in the Nordic Leadership in Aviation Emission Reductions Conference.

Nordic Leadership in Aviation Emission Reductions Conference

     An ambitious statement! – Yes, but without ambitious ambitions, you might not reach your target!
     So with that in mind and to aim for the top, aviation stakeholders met in Copenhagen to formulate ambitious goals for a transition from fossil fuels to sustainable aviation energy sources in the Nordic countries. - The meeting was hosted by Copenhagen Airports and organized by Nordic Energy Research (a platform for cooperative energy research and policy development under the auspices of Nordic Council of Ministers) and NISA – Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation).
      The meeting was supported and had the participation of IATA, Boeing and Airbus and was moderated by Mr. Erik Wormslev of NIRAS, an international consulting group that also produced the report Norden, Sustainable jet fuel for aviation; more precisely “Nordic perspectives on the use of advanced sustainable jet fuel for aviation,” click for more here.
      The Nordic Conference – Nordic Leadership in Aviation Emission Reductions - made the following conclusions. Here are the key observations!
            1. Include aviation in National Energy Plans for EU (winter package) /RED 2- (and EFTA-countries).
            2. Encourage corporate, private and public use of sustainable jet fuels.
            3. Include sustainable jet fuel in public procurement with sustainability criteria (military fuel) and public entities (flights).
            4. Explore opportunities for public-private partnerships to establish best possible conditions for funding, pilot/demo plants a.m.
            5. Develop a Nordic pre-qualification- or tender process for sustainable jet fuels
            6. Give high priority to negotiations on aviation and climate issues in international bodies such as ICAO, ECAC and EU
      The agenda, as well as the presentations from the conference: "Nordic leadership in aviation emissions reductions" Copenhagen Airport 10th October 2017: - is available at the following link.
Robert Arendal

Robert Arendal     Air cargo pioneer, dreamer, and doer Robert Arendal has over 45 years of experience in the air cargo industry, occupying various shipping and air cargo management positions in Europe as well as the U.S. In 1970 he became part of the management team that founded Cargolux Airlines International SA, spending 29 years as Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Cargo Services as well as Deputy CEO.
     Mr. Arendal is a founding father and first Chairman of TIACA (The International Air Cargo Association). He is a past President and presently a member of TIACA's President Council and entered the legendary TIACA Hall of Fame in 1997.
     He is co-founder of the Cool Chain Association and has been its chairman for 10 years.
     More recently, Mr. Arendal became a founding member of the ‘Sustainable Biofuel Network,’ a group of stakeholders facilitating aviation’s transition from fossil fuels to sustainable and renewable alternative biofuels.
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