The war in Ukraine is entering its second month, and we’re all witness to the tragedy and the suffering of people there, but also see the extraordinary efforts deployed by countries, organisations and individuals to support those who have had to flee the country. As mentioned last time, the crisis and its ramifications have impacted the aviation sector like no other, between flight restrictions, closure of airspaces, volatility of prices of oil, kerosene and commodities.      

The scale of the tragedy should not make us forget about equally critical challenges that we face. The latest IPCC report and its final summary, which was agreed by all 195 governments, called our climate challenge a “now or never moment” where emissions need to be curbed rapidly while increasing investments in low-carbon alternatives while developing technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This highlights the need for breakthrough technological developments and greater availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) for our industry, but also shows that government and industry support will be key to be able to reach the 450 billion litres of SAF the sector will need by 2050 to reach its Net Zero goal. 
On this topic, it is good to see that uptake, purchase agreements and production are on the rise, while we also see that investment in new energies like hydrogen or electric is also increasing. The difficulties of achieving #FlyNetZero cannot be understated, but the progress we are seeing across the industry show that this goal needs to be achieved, and progress is key, but the road ahead will be long. 
Allow me to finish with the words of Karen Blixen, which I share with you every month: “When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.” 

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

It’s interesting to note the many positive stories that we have seen this month when it comes to SAF.  Last March, Airbus flew its biggest airplane – the A380 – on SAF: the aircraft flew from Toulouse with one of its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines powered by 100% sustainable fuel. Ryanair aims to achieve a third of its decarbonisation target by flying its planes with sustainable aviation fuels. Oneworld members are to purchase up to 200 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year from Gevo. Neste and DHL have announced one of the largest ever sustainable aviation fuel deals where Neste will supply DHL with approximately 320,000 tonnes (400 million litres) of SAF in the next five years. Another Finnish company, Finnair, signed an agreement with Aemetis for the supply of 17.5 million gallons of SAF over seven years. British Airways, in the meantime, has taken delivery of an initial batch of the first UK-produced SAF under its agreement with Phillips 66. 
On the production side, Honeywell and China's Oriental Energy Company have announced plans to build China’s first SAF production base. TotalEnergies will begin producing SAF at its Normandy platform and aims to fulfil the French government’s new mandate for aircraft to use at least 1% of SAF by 1 January 2022.  Repsol started the construction of Spain's first advanced biofuels plant at its Cartagena refinery. United Airlines, along with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, announced a collaboration with Cemvita Factory to commercialize the production of SAF through a new process using CO2 and synthetic microbes. ​​​​There is also this interesting spotlight on SAF producers from Earth.org 
Following up on last month’s interview with Berat Haznedaroglu, I would invite you to read this interesting work on the potential of algae for alternative energy source.

New technology

France announced an investment plan that will allocate between 2022 and 2030, 1.2 billion Euro for decarbonizing aviation, including 800 million in R&D on the development of a hydrogen aircraft.
Alternative fuel start-up Universal Hydrogen plans to open facility in New Mexico (US)  for the manufacturing and distribution of hydrogen fuel tanks for aircraft.  Airbus is aiming to explore high-voltage battery behaviour during test flights of an electric light aircraft this year, with the aim of applying the technology to ‘micro-hybridisation’ – the use of battery power in a supportive, rather than propulsive, role for larger aircraft types. In the meantime, Pratt & Whitney was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy Project to develop hydrogen propulsion technology. As part of this project, they are working to develop highly efficient hydrogen-fuelled propulsion technology for the commercial aviation industry. Delta and Airbus have announced their collaboration on industry-leading research to accelerate the development of a hydrogen-powered aircraft and the ecosystem it requires. 

Operations and Infrastructure

Denmark pledged to build up to six gigawatts (GW) of electrolysis capacity to convert renewable power into green hydrogen as it looks to wean itself off fossil fuels and boost its energy security. In India, Kochi airport has become the world's first to completely operate on solar power.