Nordic project to develop biofuels for aircraft

23.02.15 | News
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Photographer
Eivind Sætre
The Nordic Council of Ministers has launched a study of the climatic impact and commercial potential of using biofuels for aircraft. International aviation accounts for approximately two percent of global CO2 emissions, and this figure is rising. This trend is in stark contrast to efforts encouraging other industries to reduce their CO2 footprint.

Unlike other modes of  transport such as road traffic or shipping, there is currently little potential for aviation to change course in a greener direction. Electric and solar powered aircraft are a long way off, but biofuels may prove to be the way forward for aviation, which is one of the worst offenders in terms of pollution.

Last autumn, Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, made a proposal to his colleagues concerning research into Nordic options for the use of advanced biofuels for aircraft during Denmark’s Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2015. “I hope that a Nordic approach will identify there is potential for green growth in biofuels for aircraft. Denmark can’t propel this by itself, but the prospects may change dramatically if the Nordic countries join forces,” Petersen says. The outcome of these efforts will be presented at a conference in 2016. In addition to their positive climatic impact, biofuels for aircraft may also have significant commercial potential.

Green aviation

At its general meeting in 2016, the UN’s aviation organisation ICAO will discuss policy instruments that will reduce the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions. According to the Danish climate minister, there are still many challenges to overcome before an agreement on new measures is reached in 2016.

“I hope that this Nordic initiative will teach us a great deal about advanced biofuels for aircraft and help the industry pursue its global climate ambitions. It’s imperative that aviation gets started on its green transformation,” Petersen concludes.Launched by the Nordic Prime Ministers in 2011, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ green growth initiative also concludes in 2015 and 2016. One of the projects under the initiative is looking at the potential for Nordic biorefineries. The overall initiative is part of the Council of Ministers’ work in the run up to COP21. Read more at www.norden.org/greengrowth.