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Sport Japan’s Top Airline Faces Challenges in Sustainable Fuel Drive

03:31  27 october  2020
03:31  27 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Challenges facing airline industry are familiar and persistent—Cyclical nature of business, slowing down of global economy, uncertainty of fuel prices, technology, Environment, and slow pace of liberalization. African airlines and Latin American airlines are struggling to survive even in the best of

But it is particularly challenging for airlines that burn fuel to propel their aircraft. Nonetheless, the industry (not just airlines but the whole value chain) has Over 1,500 commercial flights have been fueled by sustainable biofuels. The challenge is that biofuels are in short supply and expensive.

(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s largest airline has signed up for jet fuel made from renewable materials in Singapore in a small step toward more environmentally friendly travel that will add costs for an industry crushed by the coronavirus.

All Nippon Airways signed a preliminary agreement to start buying so-called sustainable aviation fuel from a Singapore refinery run by Finland’s Neste Oyj. The deal will be expanded from 2023 when Neste will have capacity to produce 1.5 million tons of SAF a year, ANA said in a statement. The Singapore plant is being enlarged to meet increased demand for diesel and jet fuel produced from waste vegetable and animal fats and oils.

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IATA and its member airlines are committed to reducing fuel emissions and promoting the use of IATA member airlines and the wider aviation industry are collectively committed to ambitious Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) have been identified as one of the key elements in helping achieve

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Airlines can’t ignore the inevitable shift toward biofuels triggered by campaigns to tackle the effects of aviation on the environment, Hiroaki Sugimori, who manages ANA’s sustainability department, said in an interview. The “Greta effect” -- a reference to climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg -- means airlines must adapt even if it involves higher fuel costs.

“We can’t ignore this when we think about the reputational risk,” Sugimori said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga set an ambitious target for his country to become carbon neutral by 2050 in his first policy speech to parliament since taking office as premier last month. However, the timing for a shift to higher-cost, sustainable fuel could hardly be worse for airlines struggling to cope with the pandemic. According to Kyodo, ANA is predicting a record full-year net loss of 530 billion yen ($5 billion).

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With sustainable fuels costing up to four times more than conventional fuels , “the cost is quite high”, said Lars The pressure to promote the use of sustainable fuels is driven by the growing realisation that even with the Virgin Atlantic and Japan ’ s ANA are among airlines committed to buying the fuel .

If airlines adopt sustainable fuel on some of the services in place of conventional fossil fuels , they could save around 80% on their carbon footprint for these more eco-friendly services. That’ s because SAFs are, as the name suggests, much more sustainable that dredging the earth for fuel .

Scarce Supply

Beyond the industry’s struggle to survive, any shift to sustainable aviation fuel will be hampered by scarce supply.

“There are a limited number of producers for SAF compared to the demand,” said Kohei Yoshikawa, manager of ANA’s fuel procurement department. “As we looked into it, we began to realize that it’s not easy to get.”

In a test, ANA received on Saturday its first cargo of 7 million liters shipped from one of Neste’s European refineries to Haneda airport near Tokyo.

Global SAF production this year of some 40 million liters accounts for only 0.015% of jet fuel market, according to the International Air Transport Association. Yet, the group views SAFs as a key solution to curb the industry’s emissions growth. These non-fossil derived fuels must meet sustainability criteria, including reduced carbon emissions, limits on fresh water consumption, no deforestation and no competition with food production, according to IATA.

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Finnair opting for sustainable aviation fuel is expected to boost the production of sustainable aviation fuel in Finland. Surge in demand for aviation fuel from military sector and rise in air transportation across the globe drive the growth of the global aviation fuel market.

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Asia has lagged behind other regions in terms of policy support as well as political pressure favoring SAFs, said Robert Boyd, assistant director of aviation environment at IATA. Asian interest in SAFs has been only sporadic, he said.

chart: Cost of Cleaner Fuel © Bloomberg Cost of Cleaner Fuel

SAF has traded for several times the price of regular jet fuel in regions outside Asia in recent months. In Northwest Europe, the premium averaged 4.7 times the price of traditional jet fuel from mid-August, when S&P Global Platts started pricing SAF, to mid-October. On the U.S. West Coast, the premium was 3.5 times from mid-September to mid-October. Platts has yet to launch SAF prices in Asia.

Given the premium, ANA’s senior director of fuel procurement, Noriaki Muranushi, doesn’t expect SAF to “spread in popularity” without government support in the form of subsidies or incentives for domestic producers of sustainable aviation fuel as well as airline consumers.

“SAFs are challenged to compete on price with conventional jet fuel, absent incentives, and these challenges will remain going forward,” said Roman Kramarchuk, head of energy scenario, policy and technology analytics at S&P Global Platts.

While European policy makers are currently contemplating their own mechanisms, proactive airline action to reduce carbon emissions can help ensure SAF demand, even at higher prices, Kramarchuk said.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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This is interesting!