KLM picks Amyris-Total renewable jet fuel as climate takes center stage in NY and at the UN

September 24, 2014 |

Renewable jet fuel makes another remove forward — as a new study concludes that delay on implementing RFS2 could be the equivalent of building 5.5 new coal-fired power plants in terms of CO2.

In New York, KLM tipped that it intends to fly on Amyris-Total renewable jet fuel, as soon as it receives favorable advice from their independent Sustainability Advisory Board. Amyris noted that is producing commercial product for our launch partners (which include GOL), and that a 10% blend of Amyris-Total jet fuel can reduce about 3% of the particulate matter from aircraft engine exhaust.

The announcement is a highlight of the UN Climate Summit taking place this week in New York — one of a broad range of activities that surround the opening of the UN General Assembly which takes place in late September each year — and brings a host of heads of state, ministers, celebrities, corporate leaders to New York for the Clinton Global Initiative meetings and other noted gatherings of global leaders.

ICAO and aviation industry partner for progress on emissions

Also this week in New York, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the aviation industry represented by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the Airports Council International, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, International Air Transport Association, International Coordinating Council for Aerospace Industries Associations and International Business Aviation Council announced a commitment on climate action to reduce emissions.

“Air transport connects the world,” the commitment letter states. “It is a vital engine of global economic growth supporting over 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in gross domestic product. In order that all parts of the world are able to benefit from the rapid connectivity advantages of air transport, the sector has committed itself to a pathway of sustainable growth encompassing all areas of the commercial industry and governments working in partnership.”

The statement outlines the 5 areas on which the industry and ICAO will partner:

1. Supporting the development of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.
2. Continuing the deployment of new technology aircraft and operational improvements;
3. Accelerating the transformation of global air traffic management performance;
4. Working with partners to develop a global CO2 standard for new aircraft; working with partners to design and implement a global market-based measure for international aviation;
5. Working together to further efforts for capacity building in Member States across the world.

The industry has previously committed to stabilizing the sector’s net CO2 emissions from 2020. Aviation industry organizations have further committed to reducing net air transport CO2 emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005.

Making the announcement, the Council President of ICAO, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, said, “Governments, working through ICAO, are working with determination and in league with industry to mitigate aviation-related emissions and help humanity meet the wider and very challenging global targets now before us. Working cooperatively, our sector is taking proactive and concrete actions which will continue improving air transport fuel efficiency and stabilize the sector’s net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2020, consistent with our historically strong record in this regard while permitting air transport to continue to bring citizens, societies and businesses together, promoting peace and prosperity wherever aircraft fly.”

Michael Gill, Executive Director of ATAG said, “Today’s announcement builds on the collaborative action taking place across the commercial aviation sector. It is impressive to see all parts of the industry working with each other, and with partners in research, government and other sectors to deliver the climate actions we have committed to as an industry. Aviation is a force for good in the world, supporting economies, fostering tourism and allowing global cultural exchange. We believe that we can continue to deliver these benefits to the world whilst also addressing our climate impacts.”

Inaction on the 2014 RFS regulatory rule is the equivalent of opening 5.5 coal plants

Meanwhile in Washington, in a new white paper issued today, the authors found that “Inaction on the 2014 RFS regulatory rule will lead to increased GHG emissions of 21 million metric tons CO2 equivalent, equal to opening 5.5 new coal-fired power plants.”

The study authors also concluded that the United States is now projected to use 2 billion gallons more gasoline and 0.5 billion gallons more diesel in 2014 than previously projected.

The white paper updates results from a previous study, “Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Proposed Changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard Through 2022” which demonstrated that if EPA reduced biofuel use under the RFS, as the agency proposed in November 2013, the United States would experience an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and forego an achievable decrease in emissions.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “During the U.N. Climate Summit this week, the Obama administration is sure to promote the regulatory actions it has taken to reduce climate change emissions from stationary sources such as power plants. But regulatory inaction on the RFS has opened the door to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

“Last November, EPA proposed a steep reduction in the use of biofuels in order to avoid hitting the so-called blend wall – a proposal the administration still has not finalized. What the agency failed to consider is that demand for transportation fuel has been increasing – the United States is now using several billion gallons more gasoline and diesel than projected. The so-called blend wall is an invention of the oil industry and has simply been a red herring.

“The administration must finalize the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard using a methodology based on biofuel production and continue the program’s successful support for commercialization of advanced and cellulosic biofuels. The renewable fuel industry has already created hundreds of thousands of good jobs and boosted economic growth.”

Three key findings

1. The “blend wall” should not be a consideration for setting the RFS, because the United States is using more transportation fuel in 2014 than previously projected.

2. Inaction on the 2014 RFS regulatory rule will lead to increased GHG emissions of 21 million metric tons CO2 equivalent.

3. The increased GHG emissions are equal to putting an additional 4.4 million cars on the road, or having current cars drive an additional 50 billion miles, or opening 5.5 new coal-fired power plants.

A copy of the paper is available on the BIO.org website, here.

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