Posted on: 05 December 2017
Neil McGuinness, Air BP’s global offer development manager, talks about the company’s commercial jet biofuel solution and how it is helping the global aviation sector on its journey towards a low-carbon future.
Air BP has made some encouraging announcements about the availability of commercial jet biofuel in Norway and Sweden. How does the company envisage the pace of adoption globally of jet biofuel by the commercial aviation sector?
Jet biofuel is a key part of our environmental solutions offer and we are delighted with our recent announcements that Air BP biojet is now available at Bergen Airport in Norway and Halmstad Airport in Sweden. This follows our announcement last year, which was an industry first, when together with Avinor we made Air BP biojet available to airlines at Oslo Airport through the existing hydrant system. The pace of adoption of biojet is currently restricted by its limited availability, which is why we have entered into a strategic partnership with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a company that is well advanced in its goal to produce and supply scalable jet biofuel.
BP’s decision late last year to invest $30 million in jet biofuel supplier Fulcrum BioEnergy was a real statement of intent for biofuel in North America. Can you give more insight into the strategic partnership you have entered into with them?
Our strategic partnership with Fulcrum BioEnergy was ground-breaking for both Air BP and for the industry, in that we are investing, alongside airlines, to be able to bring jet biofuel at scale to market. It’s another important first step. We have secured a 10-year offtake agreement with Fulcrum for 50 million US gallons per year from its North American development programme. We will distribute and supply biojet into aircraft at key hubs in North America. We invested in Fulcrum to secure supply of jet biofuel for our customers to help them meet their lower carbon goals.
Can you give more insight into the achievement last year of carbon neutrality for into-plane fuelling operations at Air BP’s 250 global airport operations? How was this certification achieved, and what does it mean for the airports?
We were the first aviation fuel supplier to achieve carbon neutrality for our into-plane fuelling services across an international network of over 250 Air BP-operated facilities in October 2016. It was quite the achievement following an intensive two-year process. It was assured by the independent sustainability specialist company ERM CVS Ltd.
Carbon credits were purchased and retired, with the support of BP Target Neutral, which invests in low-carbon development projects around the world to offset the emissions.
We have also made a 10-year commitment to retaining the accreditation through adhering to a carbon reduction plan. The plan targets a 5% reduction in carbon emissions for Air BP over that 10-year period using several initiatives. These include driving efficiency in technologies such as start/stop technology on vehicles; improving operational efficiency of waste management and stock management; maximising the options for supplying biofuel; and introducing initiatives on which to develop a lower carbon future. Residual emissions, following these reductions, will be offset through BP Target Neutral.
What are the main challenges or obstacles in the way of increasing the supply of commercial jet biofuel?
At Air BP, we are supporting our customers with their aspirations to achieve their carbon goals. It is early days for the industry. The production of jet biofuel is still limited and higher penetration levels require customer demand, potentially driven by consumer-led initiatives, pricing support, regulatory support, and yet unknown breakthroughs in technology. BP supports changes in policy that bring governmental support, allowing biojet to be on an equal footing with other biofuels such as renewable diesel.
The aviation industry’s push for a lowcarbon future to meet IATA’s aim of carbon neutral growth by 2020 – and a longer-term target to cut the industry’s carbon emissions in half by 2050 – is ambitious. How is Air BP helping to make this happen?
We are supportive of the aviation industry trying to achieve its ambitious environmental targets with innovative solutions. We are providing capabilities and knowledge to help our customers including airlines, airports and general aviation operators try and achieve their carbon goals.
Last May we launched our environmental solutions offer at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva. The offer, which works across both the commercial and general business aviation sectors, helps customers to achieve their carbon goals through a ‘reduce, replace and neutralise’ management approach. The key elements are focused on the production of lower carbon fuels, for example biojet; supporting lower carbon operations; and carbon offsetting through BP Target Neutral, through which we provide a voluntary market-based mechanism to offset carbon emissions. In short, it gives our customers the tools to help reduce their carbon footprint while improving efficiency, which is good for the environment and good for business too.