Amazon to buy bio jet fuel to lower air cargo emissions

July 8, 2020 by  
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Amazon to buy bio jet fuel to lower air cargo emissions Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 07/08/2020 – 08:00 Amazon’s plans to decarbonize its shipping supply chain isn’t just focused on electrifying  its delivery vans . On Wednesday morning, the logistics and retail giant announced that it plans to buy 6 million gallons of bio jet fuel via a division of Shell and produced by World Energy, a big biodiesel producer. The companies said the jet fuel will be made from agricultural waste fats and oils (such as used cooking oil and inedible fats from beef processing). The move shows the efforts that Amazon is willing to go to eke out carbon emissions across its vast network of planes, vehicles and distribution centers that deliver on-demand goods across the globe. Amazon has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and says it will make sure half of Amazon shipments are net-zero by 2030. That commitment also includes buying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, and using 100 percent clean energy by 2025.  But the business of biofuels is a bit messier and — for bio jet fuel — at an earlier stage than procuring solar and wind energy or even purchasing electric vehicles.  Amazon has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and says it will make sure half of Amazon shipments are net-zero by 2030. The market for next-generation sustainable aviation fuel is just now being trialed commercially  by airlines such as JetBlue and United, produced by developers like World Energy and Finnish company Neste, and solicited by San Francisco International (SFO) and other airports. On Tuesday, Neste announced that it delivered its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel via pipeline for airlines refueling at SFO to use. Over the years, a variety of airlines have tested bio jet fuels, some made with algae as a feedstock, and many abandoned the initial efforts after the fuels were not able to be made economically at scale. Since then, companies like Neste have been able to industrialize the process of taking waste oils and fats from various sources and producing a fuel for vehicles and airplanes that can lower carbon emissions and be cost-effective.  A drop in the fuel tank In recent years, airlines have increasingly looked to the promise of bio jet fuels as one of the key ways for the industry to meet climate goals. United Airlines announced last year that it is investing $40 million into advancing sustainable aviation fuel, including the purchase of 10 million gallons of it over two years — a drop in the fuel tank of the roughly 4.3 billion gallons the airline uses annually. Electric aircraft have been considered by much of the airline industry as too far away on the horizon and too expensive for commercial use.  The aviation sector is being pushed by the United Nations-led Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for Aviation (CORSIA), which had planned to set a baseline of aviation emissions for 2020 and target carbon-neutral growth from here on out. However, just last week, the UN group that’s in charge of implementing CORSIA agreed to set the baseline targets for 2019 because of the coronavirus, essentially  watering down  the targets. Regardless of the specifics, the airline industry is feeling the heat from its reliance on fossil fuel-based jet fuel and thus its relatively large emissions. Sustainability-focused large corporations whose employees do a lot of business travel are also considering ways to both reduce airline travel and also work with carbon neutral airlines. Amazon’s news doesn’t just highlight the emergence of the bio jet fuel industry and the environmental spotlight on the airline industry, it also shows growing attention and worry around the carbon intensity of air cargo. The vast majority of goods in the U.S. are shipped by trucks, but a small and rapidly growing segment of goods are shipped by planes.  This air cargo is not only one of the fastest-growing shipping methods, it’s also one of the most carbon-intensive. Amazon began growing its fleet of 20 airplanes in 2015. By 2021, the retailer plans to have 70 planes in its in-house air fleet that move its one and two-day deliveries. To decarbonize the fuel for 70 planes, Amazon will need a lot more than 6 million gallons of bio jet fuel.  But Amazon’s willingness to begin purchasing this biofuel will help send a strong signal to the producers of the fuel, and the greater airline industry. After a long wait, is the market for sustainable aviation fuel finally here?   Pull Quote Amazon has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and says it will make sure half of Amazon shipments are net-zero by 2030. Topics Transportation & Mobility Shell Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires

May 31, 2018 by  
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The elevated summer temperatures in California  are causing decreased levels of the low-atmosphere clouds that were once common throughout the southern coastal regions of the state. A new study has found that because these clouds are dissipating from the increased heat, the region is now facing an increased risk of wildfire . “Clouds that used to burn off by noon or 1 o’clock are now gone by 10 or 11, if they form at all,” bioclimatologist and study lead author Park Williams told Phys.org . Due to a warming climate and an expanding urban heat island, cloud cover is trapped in a positive feedback loop where less clouds mean higher temperatures, and higher temperatures mean less clouds. Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters , the new study concludes that there has been a 25 to 50 percent decrease in low-lying summer clouds since the 1970s. “ Cloud cover is plummeting in southern coastal California,” said Williams, “and as clouds decrease, that increases the chance of bigger and more intense fires.” The low-lying stratus clouds in the area typically form in the early morning in a thin, wet layer of coastal air that exists between land and drier air masses. The increased heat from climate change and the urban heat island effect has caused the clouds to dissolve earlier in the day, leaving little cover during the hottest parts of the afternoon. Related: The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley To study the changes in cloud cover, Williams and his team analyzed hour-by-hour cloud data gathered by California airports over the past several decades. The data was then compared with vegetation moisture data from the U.S. Wildland Fire Assessment System. This comparison enabled the team to conclude that the decreased cloud cover has led to an increased wildfire risk. “Even though the danger has increased, people in these areas are very good at putting out fires, so the area burned hasn’t gone up,” Williams explained. “But the dice are now loaded, and in areas where clouds have decreased, the fires should be getting more intense and harder to contain. At some point, we’ll see if people can continue to keep up.” +  Geophysical Research Letters Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires

Wind Farms Near Airports Made Possible: New Holographic Radar Can Tell Planes and Wind Turbines Apart

December 4, 2012 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock The new Holographic Radar system, developed by UK tech firm Aveillant , can differentiate between the spinning blades of aircraft and those of wind turbines . The new radar can pinpoint any turbine within a radius of 20 nautical miles (37 km) of the airport, which will help open up more locations for wind farm development in areas around airports. Read the rest of Wind Farms Near Airports Made Possible: New Holographic Radar Can Tell Planes and Wind Turbines Apart Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , “wind power” , air traffic control , Aveillant , green technology , Holographic Radar system , renewable energy , Wind Farms , wind turbines , wind turbines near airports

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Green Building Takes Off at Airports

April 7, 2011 by  
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Green airports are in the news this week as the Indira Gandhi International Airport attains a LEED-Gold rating from the Indian Green Building Council and San Franciso International Airport opens a revamped terminal as a showcase for sustainable air travel.

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Green Building Takes Off at Airports

Volcanic Haze Closes British Airports; Continent Cut Off

April 15, 2010 by  
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the Telegraph Another reason to take the train: Apparently planes cannot fly in volcanic ash. An eruption in Iceland is shutting down airports across the UK and spreading to the rest of Europe. The Telegraph, reports that the ash can shut down the engines and be sucked into the ventilation systems

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Volcanic Haze Closes British Airports; Continent Cut Off

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