Of fuel and emissions

With the dire news that the world’s airlines will eek out, at best a razor thin 0.5 per cent profit margin this year, the pressure to develop sustainable biofuel for the aviation industry will certainly increase. Recent research pointed out that in 2011, spending in the US on biofuel research actually contracted 10 per cent compared to 2010, partly due to the ending of US government stimulous money, which was partly put into biofuel research.


fuel and emissions


With the dire news that the world’s airlines will eek out, at best a razor thin 0.5 per cent profit margin this year, the pressure to develop sustainable biofuel for the aviation industry will certainly
increase. Recent research pointed out that in 2011, spending in the US on biofuel research actually contracted 10 per cent compared to 2010, partly due to the ending of US government stimulous money, which was partly put into biofuel research.

Although lower oil prices earlier this year gave some respite to airlines, trouble in the Gulf with Iran becoming increasingly confrontational has helped push prices back up. The sooner the world can break, or at least partially divert its thirst for non-renewable fossil fuels, the better.

Having a reliable, sustainable source of these new fuels would also help head off punitive legislation like the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. But this ideal situation still appears some years off, despite frequent announcements of new biofuel research and development efforts and test flights among various airlines.

The issue of EU’s ETS has again been pushed to the top of aviation news headlines following the release recently of ICAO’s three proposed alternatives to the ETS. But, it came with a dire warning. First, that nothing would be possible to concretely put forth until March 2013 and no decision would be possible
until all ICAO members meet later in the fall of 2013. But worse, because the full membership doesn’t meet every year, if the full membership doesn’t pass the ICAO proposal it will be another three years until another stab can be taken at the issue.