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Canada’s largest airline begins testing the benefits of biofuel on contrails and emissions.

Posted on Apr 25, 2017 7:48:00 PM

Air Canada is one of the 20 largest airliair canada.jpgnes in the world transporting 45 million customers in 2016. Now the country's largest domestic and international airline service will start measuring the impact of biofuel on five of their flights. A sustainable biofuel produced by used cooking oil will be used on the aircrafts. Air Canada is teaming up with Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research project (CAAFCER), to start this latest research project. It will be led by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to test the environmental benefits of biofuel use on contrails. During these flights the NRC will trail the Air Canada aircraft with a modified T-33 research jet to sample and test the contrail biofuel emissions.

"A reduction in the thickness and coverage of contrails produced by the jet engines of aircraft could reduce aviation's impact on the environment."

In 2012 Air Canada ( @AirCanada ) operated two biofuel flights one between Toronto and Mexico City as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights that took the secretary general of ICAO to the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro; the second flight transported a number of Olympic athletes and officials on their way to the London 2012 Olympic Games. One of Air Canada's most notable recent accomplishment is a 40 percent improvement in average fuel efficiency between 1990 and 2016. Now they are taking further steps to reduce its carbon footprint.

Air Canada are proud to be supporting the initiative which will provide the industry a greater understanding about how biofuel reduces a plane’s carbon footprint and environmental impact. In a statement, Teresa Ehman, Director of Environmental Affairs at Air Canada said: "[We] recognise its environmental responsibilities and the importance of understanding and integrating environmental considerations into our business decisions." 

NRC hope that this research project will provide “key information toward biofuel inclusion in all future flights.” A reduction in the thickness and coverage of contrails produced by the jet engines of aircraft could reduce aviation's impact on the environment, an important beneficial effect of sustainable biofuel usage in aviation. "But additional efforts are required to achieve aviation's ambitious carbon-reduction targets. Sustainable aviation fuels have the single greatest potential to reach those goals. Boeing is committed to supporting projects like this around the world to advance aviation's knowledge and growing use of biofuel," said Sheila Remes, Vice President of Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

This project involves six stakeholder organisations, with primary funding from the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), a non-profit organization funded by the Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence of the Government of Canada and the Canadian aerospace industry.

To further reduce its emissions, Air Canada has adopted to use a four-pillar strategy that includes:

  • New technology
  • Improved operations
  • Infrastructure changes
  • Economic instruments

The huge aviation company is also investing in new aircrafts. In 2016 they continued taking delivery of the most modern commercial aircraft now in operation – the Boeing 787 Dreamline. Initial results show these aircrafts are delivering approximately 20 percent improvement in efficiency over the aircraft they replaced. Air Canada plans to introduce 37 of these new aircraft in the coming years. Additionally, later in the year, they plan to acquire up to 79 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft, expected to yield a 14 percent decrease in fuel use over the most current narrow-body aircraft.

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Topics: BBWNChemicals, bbwnfuels, ProcessRefining&Plants

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Liam Clancy