Research and industry In Germany launch initiative for aviation biofuels

*    Research activities will be bundled and the introduction of regenerative energy sources will be supported.
*    German Federal Minister Dr. Ramsauer welcomes the new initiative
Aireg pr pic 2 8.6.2011
On Wednesday, leading German research institutions, enterprises in the aviation field and bioenergy producers founded the association Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany aireg. The foundation ceremony was attended by Dr. Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development.

The association sees itself as a platform for promoting science and research in the area of climate-friendly aviation fuels, with the overriding emphasis on sustainability. The initiative aims to promote the use of regenerative energy sources in aviation in Germany and create a sound basis for political decisionmaking with regard to the introduction of climate-friendly aviation fuels.

To this end, 20 enterprises and organisations, including universities and research institutes, airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers, logistics enterprises and fuel producers, have joined together in aireg e.V.

Federal Minister Ramsauer said: Over the past few days, the German government has decided to restructure the countrys energy supply system. One thing is clear: traffic, too, must make a contribution to achieving our climate protection goals. That includes the air traffic sector, which has accepted the challenge and taken measures to reduce greenhouse gases. Besides the development of more efficient aircraft and engines, biofuels can also contribute towards this. I welcome the new initiatives commitment to researching and using regenerative energy sources and thus lastingly strengthening the air traffic sector in Germany.

Dr. Klaus Nittinger, President of aireg, added: With the founding of aireg, we are at long last bundling national activities so as to achieve the challenging emission reduction targets for the aviation industry. A later expansion of activities to the European level remains conceivable at all times.

The joining of forces in aireg e.V. is being driven by one of the most pressing challenges for future aviation: the fact that fossil energy resources are finite and can be expected to become scarcer and more expensive over the long term.

The burning of fossil kerosene also releases additional carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Today, aviation already accounts for about two percent of CO2 emissions caused by humans. In view of the predicted growth rates for global air traffic, this percentage will continue to rise if the industry fails to take suitable compensatory action to sustainably reduce its own emissions.

For this reason, the aviation industry has committed to achieving CO2-neutral growth from 2020 onwards and reducing its emissions of this greenhouse gas to half of 2005s levels by 2050.

Already, todays fleet is around 70% more energy-efficient than the aircraft of 40 years ago. However, in order to achieve a further reduction of per-passenger CO2 emissions by as much as 75%, not only technological improvements in the areas of aircraft, engines and air traffic organisation but also regenerative energy sources will have to contribute towards closing the carbon cycle and ensuring that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earths atmosphere does not continue to increase.

But because energy sources such as hydrogen or batteries still require decades of development before they can be used in aviation, a promising interim solution lies in drop-in capable fuels from renewable raw materials which possess properties equal to or better than Jet A-1 kerosene and are seamlessly deployable in the existing global aircraft fleet and the associated ground infrastructure.

To date, however, these fuels are available only in small quantities, so the sustained industrialisation of production is a key task of industry and research. In this context, it must always be ensured that vegetable-based biofuel production does not compete with food production and that the sustainability criteria (Renewable Energy Directive of the European Parliament and Council) are
complied with. Currently, the potential of the jatropha nut and microscopic algae, for example, is being investigated. Energy-providing plants of this kind offer the possibility of avoiding competition with food production for available space.

The founding members of aireg are (in alphabetical order):
Airberlin, Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V., Booz & Co., Condor Flugdienst GmbH, Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DGLR), Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Deutsche Post AG, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), EADS, Flughafen München GmbH, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, ISCC System GmbH, JatroSolutions GmbH, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, MTU Aero Engines GmbH, Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG, Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH), TUIfly, VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG.
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