Sunday, April 3, 2011

Green Machines

India’s carriers are becoming increasingly interested in green technology
Asian Airlines & Airports
Neelam Mathews
April 3, 2011
Time filed- 8.05PM IST

Impending regulations on envi­ronment in the offing such as Eu­ropean Union Emissions Trading Scheme are prompting Indian car­riers to start looking at green tech­nologies. 

Budget carrier IndiGo and King­fisher Airlines are looking at doing pilot flights with green fuel once the government certification is granted. 

“We have support from Airbus and Pratt & Whitney and once the aviation authority (in India) gives us a green signal, they could fly within months,” says James E. Rekoske, Vice President, Renewable Energy and Chemicals, UOP, Honeywell Special­ity Materials to AAA.

UOP was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop economically vi­able technology to stabilize pyrolysis oil from second generation biomass feedstocks for use as a renewable fuel source. Biomass pyrolysis oil is made from second-generation feedstocks like the residuals from agricultural and forestry.

Renewable jet fuel made from sus­tainable sources like jatropha and al­gae has great potential to reduce the carbon footprint of jet engines in the coming decades while reducing de­pendence on traditional fossil sources. 

The fuel was produced using oil from algae and jatropha, two sustainable, second-generation sources that do not interfere with food, land or water resources using UOP’s proprietary process technology. In this process, hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from the biological feedstock result­ing in a high quality, bio-derived fuel that blends seamlessly with petro­leum-based fuel and acts as a drop-in replacement. The fuel meets all the critical specifications for flight.

UOP announced a memorandum of understanding with Indian Oil Corp last year to evaluate installa­tion of a demonstration-scale unit to produce advanced biofuels, and to evaluate the viability of pyrolysis oil technology to convert plant biomass, into renewable power and heat. IOCL would also focus on research and de­velopment for the production of algal oil for use as a feedstock in the green fuels production.

Honeywell’s UOP has also devel­oped process technology to produce Honeywell Green Jet fuel under a contract from U.S-Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for both military and commercial aircraft. DARPA is set to be fully sup­portive as far as the commercial use of the fuel goes.

With the European Union Emis­sions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) dead­line for 2012 approaching, interna­tional companies are offering India products and services related to the trading of emission reduction cred­its and investing in greenhouse gas abatement projects.

Starting 2012, all flights arriving at or departing from airports within the EU will be subject to the ETS. This means that by 2020 the CO2 emissions of those flights are to be reduced by at least 20% of their 1990 levels. 

With airlines around the world grappling to come to terms with this new challenge, this has the govern­ment concerned, says Nasim Zaidi, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“This concern is felt not just by In­dia but by the entire block of devel­oping countries. We would like to be guided by the United Nations Frame­work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)…” said Zaidi. 

“It is necessary to set up a national taskforce to comprehensively plan and monitor system logistics, issues of supply chain management from sourcing of feed stock (for bio fuels) to economical production, storage and dispensing.,” says A. K Arora, di­rector general, Petrofed.

“There is also a need to look at flight paths for rationalization. Do we have the latest technology for grow­ing volumes of air traffic? What can we do to avoid circling of aircraft that can’t land at the destination due to congestion on runways even at cur­rent levels of traffic,” Arora queries.

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