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Abstract The aviation industry that has experienced a phenomenal growth since the World War II is increasingly facing the problems of success: environmental concerns are growing. The environmental impacts of aviation are growing, which include aircraft noise, local air quality, aircraft engine emissions and the disposal of end-of-life aircraft. Approximately 30 million people worldwide in 1998 were exposed to levels of aircraft noise recognized as noise nuisance. Emissions of NOx, volatile organic compounds, CO and particulate matter (PM) are local air quality concerns in the immediate vicinity of airports. Combustion of aircraft fuel produces emissions, a significant proportion being emitted at altitude, which give rise to serious environmental concerns including contribution to climate change. Approximately 6000 commercial aircraft will reach their end-of-life and go out of service in next 20 years. Their disposal both in terms of the environment and public health is important. Every quality protagonist in the aviation industry and the industry as a whole must adapt to the concept of life cycle thinking. The quality managers must act as environmentalists. Keywords: Greenhouse gas, Climate change, Aircraft emissions, Alternative fuels, Mitigation,
Sustainable development can be broadly defined as the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their needs. An ‘unsustainable situation’ occurs when natural capital (sum of resources of nature) is consumed faster than it can be replenished. Thus ‘sustainability’ requires that human activity consumes natural capital at a rate it can be replenished naturally. Theoretically, a long-term environmental degradation on a global scale will not be able to sustain human population and could imply extinction of humanity.
THE AVIATION INDUSTRY – AN OVERVIEW
The Aviation industry is an innovative industry that drives the global economic and social progress. It connects people, countries and cultures; provides access to global markets and generates trade and tourism. It also forges links between developed and developing nations. The aviation industry has experienced a phenomenal growth since the World War II. From almost a zero level, today approximately 2,000 airlines operate a total fleet of 23,000 aircraft around the world. They serve some 3,750 airports through a route network of several million kilometers managed by around 160 air navigation service providers. The aviation industry today transports 2.2 billion passengers annually. The total value of goods transported by air represents 35% of all international trade. The industry caters for 40% of international tourists travel. The Aviation industry today has 32 million jobs worldwide and contributes nearly 8% (or US$ 3,557 billion) to world gross domestic product (GDP). 2.1 Growth Forecasts for 2007 to 2011. IATA’s latest forecasts show that passenger and airfreight growth will continue over the five years to 2011. This growth is expected due to trade and air transport liberalization, new leisure
patterns, high income elasticity of demand and increasing value of goods to be transported.
The international passenger growth is expected to slow slightly, domestic passenger growth to improve slightly and international freight growth to remain at a similar level. International passenger numbers are forecasted to grow at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1% and the domestic
passenger numbers at an AAGR of 5.3% between 2007 and 2011. On the freight side, international airfreight is forecasted to increase at an AAGR of 4.8%. However, the airline industry and these forecasts remain exposed to several risks, ranging from temporary negative impacts (e.g. security scares), high fuel prices and slower than expected growth in the global economy. These risks mean that volatility cannot be discounted. However, the fundamental factors driving growth for both passengers and airfreight remain reasonably positive. 3. ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH AVIATION The global community is now increasingly facing the problems of the success of aviation industry: the environmental impacts of aviation are growing. At the global level, greenhouse gas (GHG) effects and depletion of the ozone layer due to high altitude emissions are problems. At a regional level, acidification, eutrophication and formation of tropospheric ozone by emissions of air pollutants are the concerns. At a local level, particularly in the immediate vicinity of airports, concerns focus on the potential health and environmental effects of noise and air pollution from emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds and particulates. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that aviation industry’s share of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will grow from 2% today to 3% by 2050. This evolution is based on a growth in CO2 emissions of 2-3% per year with an annual traffic growth of 5%. In spite of its relatively modest share of carbon emissions, the aviation industry has a responsibility to ensure it is environmentally efficient. Environmental problems associated with aviation include: 1) Aircraft noise emissions 2) Local air quality 3) Aircraft engine emissions 4) Disposal of the end-of-life aircraft ICAO’s work on the two problems, aircraft noise and engine emissions, is undertaken by the Organization’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), which reports to and makes recommendations to the Council of ICAO. CAEP and its predecessor committees have been working on aviation noise emissions for some 30 years and on aircraft engine emissions for some 20 years. 3. 3.1 AIRCRAFT NOISE EMISSIONS Description of the Problem
The perception of noise by people is dependent on such factors as its intensity, its frequency and the length of time they are exposed to it. Aircraft noise, including night noise, is associated with sleep disturbance, long-term adverse health effects and learning difficulties. Much of the research, however, is either contradictory or inconclusive. However, according to analysis of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), using the ICAO Model for Assessing the Global Exposure to the Noise of Transport Aircraft (MAGENTA), approximately 30 million people worldwide in 1998 were exposed to levels of aircraft noise recognized as noise nuisance (i.e. DNL55). Approximately 3.5 million people were exposed to higher levels (i.e. DNL65) that require noise mitigation provisions. Disturbance by aircraft noise continues to be as the single most important environmental issue around airports. 3.2 Sources of Aircraft Noise The main environmental noise impacts of aviation include aircraft landing & take-off, taxiing and auxiliary power unit (APU) use; aircraft servicing and maintenance; and noise from airport operations such as engine testing, the use of ground power units and construction activities. Noise disturbance, measured in terms of people exposed to a given noise level, is greater at large airports close to key populations. Paradoxically, these airports are the most attractive to the traveling public. 3.3 Future Threats Although noise levels have been declining due to the introduction of new quieter aircraft and the retirement of older aircraft, these improvements are being offset by the growth in air traffic and the encroachment of conurbations upon the airport.
While looking into the future, new noise issues are anticipated to emerge. Aircraft operating restrictions, designed to reduce aircraft noise exposure close to airports may, paradoxically, increase the noise for communities away from the airports. Aircraft noise complaints from communities 25 to 30 kilometers away from airports have already been witnessed. Additionally, with the increase of low-cost carrier operations, principally at secondary airports, the aircraft noise will become an issue for communities near such airports. 3.4 Mitigation measures Mitigation of aircraft noise involves actions at the source of the noise, along the transmission path between the source and those affected and at places where they are affected. In the case of aircraft noise, where the source is traveling fast in three dimensions, this translates into: • Reduction at source by technological progress (quieter aircraft and certification standards) • Land-use planning and management • Noise abatement operational procedures • Aircraft operating restrictions • Use of noise charges 3.4.1 Technological progress For the past 40 years, aircraft and engine manufacturers – and the research groups –have worked aggressively to develop low noise component technology resulting in aircraft noise levels reduction by approximately 20dB. The advent of the high bypass ratio (8:1 to 10:1 and beyond) aircraft engine provided a revolutionary reduction in engine noise. Research programs aim to achieve further 50% reduction in aircraft noise levels by 2020. Technological progress has enabled aircraft noise to be greatly reduced, but additional noise reduction requires a long-term commitment. In the US, the Advanced Subsonic Transport (AST) noise reduction program and the Quiet Aircraft Technology (QAT) program is in progress. These programs are conducted by the NASA and FAA. In Europe, Aero-Acoustics Methods for Fan Noise Prediction and Control (FANPAC), the X-Noise framework and SILENCE® while in Japan, the Hypersonic Research (HYPR) program and Eco-smart Propulsion Research (ESPR) program were launched. 3.4.2 Noise Certification Standards The ICAO noise certification standards reflect the best noise reduction technology that can be integrated into the aircraft fleet. • The first generation of jet-powered aircraft (e.g. B707 and DC-8) were not covered by any standard. Consequently these aircraft are referred to as non-noise certificated (NNC) aircrafts • The first standards targeted aircraft certified before 6th October 1977 (e.g. B727 & DC-9) and are contained in the Chapter 2 of the Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. • The standards were revised as engine and airframe technology advanced. Consequently, stricter standards were introduced which targeted aircraft certified after 6th October 1977 (e.g. B737, B767 & A319). These standards are contained in the Chapter 3 of the Annex 16. • With further advancement of the engine and airframe technology the standards were made further strict. The new standards are contained in Chapter 4 of the Annex 16 and target the aircraft certified after 1st January 2006. 3.4.3 Land-use Planning and Management Land-use planning and management is an effective means to ensure that the activities nearby airports are compatible with aviation. The main goal is to minimize the population affected by aircraft noise by introducing land-use zoning around airports. This also ensures that the gains achieved by the reduced noise of the latest generation of aircraft are not offset by further residential development around airports.
3.4.4 Noise Abatement Operational Procedures Noise abatement procedures enable reduction of noise during aircraft operations. These include preferential runways and routes and noise abatement procedures for take-off, approach and landing. The appropriateness of any of these measures depends on the physical layout of the airport and its surroundings. 3.4.5 Operating Restrictions Noise concerns have led some countries, mostly developed ones, to consider banning the operation of certain noisy aircraft at their noise-sensitive airports. In the 1980s, the focus was on NNC aircraft; in the 1990s, it moved to Chapter 2 aircraft; today, it has moved to the Chapter 3 aircraft. These restrictions have forced many airlines to phase out their fleet of these aircraft. However it was recognized by CAEP and the ICAO that there are other tools beyond phaseouts and operating restrictions to address aircraft noise and they endorsed the Balanced Approach concept. This concept consists of identifying the noise problem at an airport and then analyzing the various measures available to reduce noise using four principal elements, namely: • Reduction at source • Land-use planning and management • Noise abatement operational procedures • Aircraft operating restrictions The goal is to address the local noise problem in the most cost-effective manner, on the understanding that the solutions need to be tailored to the specific characteristics of the airport. 3.4.6 Noise Charges ICAO's policy with regard to noise charges was first developed in 1981. The Council recognizes that although reductions are being achieved in aircraft noise at source, many airports need to apply noise alleviation or prevention measures. In the event that noise-related charges are levied, the Council recommends that they should be levied only at airports experiencing noise problems and should be designed to recover no more than the costs applied to their alleviation or prevention. 3.5 Results As a result of the application of various mitigation measures, the aircraft entering today’s fleet are 20 decibels (dB) quieter than comparable aircraft 40 years ago. This represents a reduction of 75% in noise. Research programs aim to achieve a further 50% reduction in noise by 2020.
LOCAL AIR QUALITY
Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are considered contributors to local air quality concerns in the immediate vicinity of airports. These emissions have potentially hazardous health effects at defined concentrations. Emissions of NOx and VOCs play a role in the formation of ground-level ozone. NOx and ground-level ozone are the major component of smog that increases respiratory problems. The contribution by aviation to sulphur dioxide (SO2), hydroxyl radicals, nitrous and nitric acids is currently believed to be negligible. At a regional level, emissions of NOx, together with SO2, may also contribute to acidification and eutrophication. 4.1 Sources of Emission It is estimated that aircraft NOx emissions are responsible for less than 10% of urban NOx emissions. Airport-related emissions indirectly associated with aircraft include ground support equipment, landside vehicles and stationary power generation plants. Minor sources include regular maintenance activities such as, fuel storage, refueling of aircraft, and fire training exercises. In spite of the generally low emission levels, studies increasingly link airport-related emissions to respiratory health problems among local populations. These health effects, together with the projected growth in air traffic, can form the basis for regulatory action on local emissions.
Over the past 40 years, the aviation industry has made tremendous progress in improving fuel consumption (by 70%) and reducing gaseous emissions of CO and hydrocarbons by 50% and 90%respectively. However, the high combustion temperatures and pressures of aircraft engines tend to increase the production of particulate matter and NOx. 4.3 Trade-offs Environmental trade-offs between NOx and other emissions, noise and CO2 that are inherent in aircraft and engine design, continue to be discussed in detail within CAEP. The low emissions TALON II™ combustor reduced NOx by over 25%, but at the expense of an increase in smoke from 30% to 93% of the ICAO standard. Similarly, a trade-off for a Dual Annular Combustor (DAC) where NOx and smoke were reduced by approximately 30% and 67% respectively while hydrocarbons and CO increased by 15% and 130%. Clearly, the optimization of trade-offs is a system level issue, affecting engine and aircraft design and cost. This could have a significant impact on the ability to develop and introduce new technologies into revenue service in a timely and cost-effective manner. All trade-offs are important, but with the emphasis on minimizing fuel burn (therefore CO2) and reducing noise, manufacturers are being forced to optimize engine designs within a narrow physical design space. 4.4 Research programs Engine and airframe manufacturers continue to work closely with government research agencies to develop new technologies needed to further mitigate the potential impacts of aviation on the environment. Research programs aim to achieve a further 50% reduction in CO2 emissions and an 80% reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 2020. Airlines are expected to invest over US$ 1 trillion in more than 15,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years. This will result in markedly improved efficiencies and reduced rates of emissions compared to today’s in-service fleet. 4.5 Emission Certification Standards Annex 16 to the Chicago Convention regulates aircraft engine missions of NOx, CO, hydrocarbons and smoke for a landing and take-off (LTO) cycle below 900 meters in altitude (3,000 feet). Specific rules also apply to the dumping of aircraft fuel overboard (fuel jettisoning). ICAO has increased the stringency of NOx emission standards three times in the last decade to ensure that the best emissions technologies are used in new products. This has produced a 40% reduction in NOx from the onset of the first NOx standard. The Council agreed to review the NOx limits in 2010. 4.6 Alternative fuels for aviation Possibilities are being explored for use of alternative fuels on a smaller scale at the airports. Converting ground service equipment to biofuels, or aircraft auxiliary power units (APUs) with fuel cell technology and/or with electrical ground power units (GPUs). 4.7 Emissions-related airport charges
In 2003, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) adopted Emissions-Related Landing Charges Investigation (ERLIG) for a methodology to classify aircraft according to their NOx emissions. In response to regulatory obligations and political pressures, an increasing number of airports in Europe have made aircraft engine NOx emissions a constituent part of the airport landing fee. AIRCRAFT ENGINE EMISSIONS
Changes in the atmospheric abundance of GHG, solar radiation and land surface properties alter the energy balance of the global climate system. These changes are expressed in terms of radiative forcing, which are used to compare how a range of human and natural factors drive warming or cooling influences on global climate.
CO2 is the most important anthropogenic GHG. The global atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. CO2 radiative forcing increase of 20% from 1995 to 2005 is the largest change for any decade in the last 200 years. The global atmospheric concentration of methane has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 715 ppb to 1774 ppb in 2005. The global atmospheric nitrous oxide concentration increased from a pre-industrial value of about 270 ppb to 319 ppb in 2005. The combined radiative forcing due to increases in CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide and its rate have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed preindustrial values. Significant anthropogenic contributions to radiative forcing come from several other sources also. Tropospheric ozone changes occur due to emissions of ozone-forming chemicals (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons. 5.1 Aircraft’s Contribution When aircraft engines burn fuel, they produce emissions that are similar to other emissions resulting from fossil fuel combustion. However, aircraft emissions are unusual in that a significant proportion is emitted at altitude. These emissions give rise to serious environmental concerns regarding their global impact and their effect on local air quality. The emissions from aircraft of relevance for climate change include CO2, water vapor, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides and soot. Future concerns about aviation's role in both climate change and local air quality are largely due to the projected continued growth. The aviation fuel consumption increases in tandem with the growth of the aviation industry. The aviation industry, and hence the fuel consumption, is expected to grow robustly over the next several decades. The current patterns in the fuel consumption foresee a continued annual growth of 2% in the fuel consumption, reaching a level about 80% above the 2002 level by the year 2030. The GHG emissions will increase in the same proportion as the fuel consumption. The estimates of CO2 emissions from global aviation increased by a factor of about 1.5 from 1990 to 2000, and accounted for about 2% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Aviation CO2 emissions are projected to continue to grow strongly. The projected 1 to 2% annual improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency will be largely surpassed by 5% annual traffic growth, resulting in an annual projected increase in CO2 emissions of 3 to 4%. Apart from emitting CO2, aircraft contribute to climate change through the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are particularly effective in forming the GHG ozone when emitted at cruise altitudes. Aircraft also trigger the formation of condensation trails, or contrails, which are suspected of enhancing the formation of cirrus clouds that add to the overall global warming effect. These effects are estimated to be about two to four times greater than those of CO2. All of the projections discussed above assume that world oil supplies will be adequate to support the expected growth in aviation industry. There is a debate about whether the world is nearing a peak in conventional oil production that would require a significant and rapid transition to alternative fuels. Unconventional fossil carbon resources would produce the least expensive alternative fuels. Unfortunately, tapping into these fossil resources would increase the upstream carbon emissions and greatly increase the input of carbon into the atmosphere. 5.2 Mitigation Measures The aviation industry considers climate change a serious issue and is determined to be part of the solution. The aviation industry is now working towards carbon-neutral growth – no increase in carbon emissions in spite of traffic growth. The concerns associated with aircraft engine emissions can be addressed by a variety of means including standards, technology, operations, infrastructure and economic measures. 5.2.1 Technology Technology is an important driver of progress. More advanced technology for aircraft engines, accelerated development of alternative fuels and advanced air traffic management is absolutely essential. IATA, aircraft and engine manufacturers and fuel suppliers are jointly working on an action plan focusing on short, medium and long term measures.
In the short term, the focus is to realize emissions reductions by identifying and applying product enhancements and modifications for the current fleet. For the medium term, possibilities are explored to accelerate fleet renewal and to introduce the latest technologies as early and as widely as possible. For the longer term, joint initiatives are planned to be launched to identify and develop radically new technologies and aircraft designs. Aircraft entering today’s fleet are 70% more fuel-efficient than 40 years ago, consuming 3.5 liters per passenger per 100 km. The Airbus A380 and the B787 consume less than 3 litres/100pkm fuel which compares favorably with small family cars. Technology development is producing very promising results for the aviation industry to reduce the engine emissions. Two examples will suffice: • Pratt & Whitney has developed the Geared Turbofan (GTF), a lighter and more fuel-efficient engine with reduced noise and emissions. GTF allows the engine's low-pressure spool to operate at high speeds for peak efficiency while the fan operates proficiently at slower speeds to reduce noise. Pratt projects that its GTF will reduce fuel burn over current engines by more than 12%, lower NOx emissions over the 2008 standard by 55%, cut noise by 50% and reduce maintenance costs by 40%. • Snecma Propulsion Solide has developed the ceramic composite jet engine afterbody structures that will decrease commercial airplane engine weight and noise. The ‘high-temp’ composite, carbon-carbon and ceramic matrix composites (CMC), was successfully tested in 2005 on a CFM56-5C engine, the model that powers the Airbus A340-200/300. 5.2.2 Operations More efficient aircraft operations can save fuel and CO2 emissions by up to 6%, according to the IPCC in its 1999 special report on aviation. IATA is compiling industry best practices, publishing guidance material, conducting airline visits and establishing training programs to improve existing fuel conservation measures. Aircraft operations can be optimized for fuel consumption by minimizing taxiing time, flying at optimal cruise altitudes, flying minimum-distance great-circle routes, and minimizing holding and stacking around airports. The GHG-reduction potential of such strategies has been estimated at 6-12%. It expects airlines to reduce their fuel consumption per revenue-tonne-kilometer (RTK) by at least 25% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. This will save around 345 million tonnes of CO2 emissions during that period. Approximately 25 million tonnes of CO2 have been saved in 2006-2007 through the shortening of hundreds of air routes, other air traffic management (ATM) improvements and aircraft operational savings. A further 25% fuel efficiency gain is targeted for 2020. 5.2.3 Infrastructure According to IPCC, the addressing of airspace and airport inefficiencies can eliminate up to 12% of CO2 emissions from aviation. A reduction of 50% in these inefficiencies over the period of next five years can save 35 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Implementation of the Single European Sky and the US NextGen Air Transport System is a top priority for the progressive harmonization of global airspace management. Flexible airspace access must also become a reality, especially in Asia where traffic growth is particularly strong. 5.2.4 Economic Measures Economic measures should be used to boost the research, development and deployment of new technologies rather than as a tool to suppress demand. The use of tax credits and direct funding must be explored as incentives to drive new technology programs. Punitive taxes do not improve environmental performance. Emissions trading could be a more cost-effective solution as part of a global package of measures including technology, operations and infrastructure improvements. The trading system must be properly designed and implemented on a global and voluntary basis. It must be an open trading system allowing permit trading with other industries. Technology developments might offer a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency over 1997 levels by 2015, with a 40–50% improvement likely by 2050. As civil aviation continues to grow at around
5% each year, such improvements are unlikely to keep carbon emissions from global air travel from increasing. The introduction of biofuels meeting the demanding specifications of the aviation industry could mitigate some of engine emissions. However, the costs of such fuels and the emissions from their production process are uncertain at this time. In order to reduce emissions from air transport resulting from the combustion of bunker fuels, new policy frameworks need to be developed. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has studied options for limiting the GHG emissions but has not yet been able to devise a suitable framework for implementing policies. ICAO has endorsed the concept of an open, international emission-trading system implemented through a voluntary scheme, or the incorporation of international aviation into existing emission-trading systems. Although complete solutions do not exist today, some of the building blocks – new materials and designs, alternative energy sources, advanced IT solutions – are already taking shape.
NEW FUELS FOR TOMORROW’S AIRCRAFT
The world’s oil consumption is growing. The reserves are being depleted while the global consumption continues to climb - pushing the oil prices higher and higher. The steep rise in fuel prices during the last couple of years has caused tremors in the aviation industry. The price of jet fuel, which accounts for approximately 20% of the airline operating costs, has shot skyward with no signs of receding back. With airlines feeling the impact of spiraling prices, the burning issue is to find an alternative for jet fuel. Presently the largest single driver for adoption of alternative fuels is its high cost. However, energy security considerations and possible environmental benefits are also powerful drivers. The environmental benefits may gain even more importance with the global community urging development of alternative fuels having contribution to reducing impact on climate change. 6.2 Background Alternative fuels for aviation are not a new concept. Early jet engines were developed that used hydrogen, but, eventually, the realization that aircraft needed a fuel with high energy content per weight and volume led to the adoption of kerosene as the standard aviation fuel. In the late-1970s and the early-1980s, ‘synthetic’ aviation fuels were developed from a number of sources (shale oil, tar sands and coal liquids). But the oil glut in the late 1980s led to abandon the programs, as production of these fuels was not cost effective. Between 1980 and 1984 Brazil developed Prosene, an alternative combustible lipo-fuel (vegetable oil) used as an alternative to aviation kerosene to power Embraer turboprop aircraft. However, in 1984 Brazil ceased the program due to lack of interest by energy & economic authorities. The embargo to end apartheid in South Africa provided the impetus for the adoption of the semi-synthetic aviation fuel Sasol, which was a blend of petroleum derived and synthetic kerosene. 6.3 Complexity of Problem Although it is prudent to explore the potential move toward alternative fuels, the problem is not that easy to resolve. The jet fuel is used to propel the aircraft, but it also performs other functions including cooling the engine oil and being used as a hydraulic fluid in certain systems. Aircraft fuel systems operate over a wide range of conditions and power settings (from high ground temperatures and pressures at take-off to low temperatures and pressures at cruise altitude). Therefore, the aviation fuel must have: • High energy content (to minimize fuel burn, operating costs and CO2 emissions), • Good thermal stability at high temperature (150°C). • Low freeze point (to ensure fuel fluidity down to -50°C), • Good storage stability (to ensure quality of the fuel is maintained with time) • Compatibility with materials in the fuel system. • Available anywhere in the world (civil aviation being an international industry).
The only fuel that so far has fulfilled all of these requirements at a reasonable cost is kerosene. As a result, kerosene is being utilized almost exclusively by the aviation industry globally. The fuel supply and storage systems and the engine and aircraft systems are specifically designed for kerosene. Any alternative fuel should be a ‘drop-in replacement’. Therefore, finding an alternative fuel that fulfils all of the requirements for aviation fuel, which can be produced in the required quantities sustainably and be introduced globally with minimal change to existing infrastructure is extremely challenging. From the environmental perspective, the alternative fuel should offer an environmental benefit and/or reduced dependence on crude oil supplies. It should produce less green house gas emissions over its lifecycle than conventional aviation fuel. 6.4 The Present Options Currently, kerosene is the only jet fuel that offers significant operational and environmental benefits and it can be produced sustainably. No other commercially available alternative fuel has similar performance to kerosene. The alternative fuels being considered by industry and research groups include the Synthetic Fuels (XTLs) and the Biofuels. XTL is the generic name given to synthetic fuel produced from coal, gas or biomass using the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process. CTL (Coal-to-Liquids) and GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) are the firstgeneration while BTL (Biomass-to-Liquids) are the second-generation synthetic fuels. Synthetic fuels could be environmentally promising: • Synthetic fuels contain no sulphur and zero or reduced aromatic components (when blended); they produce less particulate matter. • Synthetic fuels have a less tendency to decompose; they could allow more fuel-rich combustor design that could reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. • Synthetic fuels produce equivalent levels of CO2 to jet fuel, but the production process for synthetic fuels could ultimately lead to even more GHG emissions. The Biofuels are produced from biomass not using the FT process. They offer an overall lifecycle improvement in the CO2 emissions. However, they are not yet allowed in the fuel specifications. • The first-generation Biofuels are produced from sugars, starches, agricultural oils and fats. These compete with the world food production and have impact on the food chain. Their production can cause deforestation, fresh water abuse and/or soil depletion. They have a very limited availability for the aviation industry. • The second-generation and the third-generation Biofuels do not compete with the world food production. There is no abuse of fresh water or any deforestation or other environmental impacts. • The second-generation Biofuels are made from not-widely-used sustainable sources like forest residues, industry residues, agricultural residues, municipal waste and sustainable grown biomass. These Biofuels do have concerns regarding market accessibility, economic benefits and not enough availability to supply the entire aviation industry. However, the lifecycle GHG emissions are approximately 60% lower than the jet fuel emissions. • The third-generation Biofuels are made from biomass such as algae, switch grass, jatropha, babassu and halophytes. The algae are photosynthetic plants that can grow with polluted and salt water but they yield 250 times more oil than the first-generation Biofuels. Switch grass grows with low water needs and has a high output of biomass. Jatropha reclaims wasteland that can grow in poor soils. Babassu has a high oil yield. Halophytes can grow on salt grounds where nothing else will grow. However the production of the third-generation Biofuels requires further research and their production volumes need to be expanded. 6.5 The Future The alternative fuels are being assessed for their suitability for aviation (how close being a ‘drop-in replacement’), lifecycle GHG emissions and land use requirements (competition for land with crops/forests). In this perspective, some major initiatives that have already been taken include: • Airbus flew a A380 in early 2008 with one engine powered by FT Gas-to-Liquid fuel
Virgin Atlantic flew a B747-400 in early 2008 with one engine operating on a 20% biofuel mix of babassu oil and coconut oil • Air New Zealand will fly a B737 with one engine on a biofuel/kerosene mix in 2008/2009 • Continental Airlines will fly a B737 on 3rd generation biofuel in 2009 Dedicated research into uncovering an alternative fuel is being undertaken globally by industry and academic groups. The research and development initiatives are cross-sectoral joint ventures between fuels companies, aerospace manufacturers and airlines. This close coordination ensures that activities are aligned and enables potential issues to be communicated amongst all the stakeholders. Some notable research programs underway are the OMEGA, ALFA-BIRD, CALIN and DREAM. • The OMEGA project is a two-year UK funded study designed to assess the environmental impact of potential alternative fuels. This will include a life-cycle (energy and emissions) assessment and an evaluation of the noise, emissions and performance of engines operating with different alternative fuels. • ALFA-BIRD (Airbus, Snecma, Rolls-Royce, MTU, Avio, IFP, etc.) is a four-year EU program that aims to provide a full evaluation of alternative fuels. It will assess technical suitability, environmental, economical and social aspects of different possibilities. The program will also consider regulatory issues and production and distribution challenges. • CALIN is a joint research program of both industry and research organizations, including Airbus, Snecma, INRA, Onera, Cerfacs, CNRS, IFP and MMP. Their work should culminate in the laboratory fabrication of a bio-fuel, followed by tests designed to check its physical and chemical properties, including during combustion. Once this phase is completed, tests will be performed at an industrial scale to ensure that the fuel is compatible with aircraft and engine systems. Lastly, performance will be checked, first on the ground then in flight tests. • Other complementary projects are now being developed in Europe and a project dubbed ‘Dream’, which will include testing on a turbo machine. The challenges associated with producing and implementing an alternative fuel are significant. But the ever-increasing oil prices and the environmental concerns have prompted the aviation industry to embrace and overcome these challenges. The number of joint initiatives to develop alternative fuels demonstrates the commitment of the aviation industry to addressing these challenges. However, the complexity of the issue requires significant further work for a viable alternative fuel to be developed. •
Like any product, an aircraft depreciates in value over a period of time. Typically an aircraft manufactured in 1980 will depreciate to zero value in 2008, even though it may be in an airworthy condition. The factors governing the depreciation of the aircraft include: • Increased maintenance costs • Increased number of life-limited-parts on the aircraft • Airworthiness directives, alerts and service bulletins from regulatory authorities and manufacturers requiring expensive upgrades to the aircraft. According to a recent industry forecast, approximately 6000 commercial aircraft will reach their end-of-life and go out of service over the period of next 20 years. The number of military aircraft reaching their end-of-life is estimated to be even greater. It is important to safely manage their disposal both in terms of the environment and public health. Up to now, most of the aircraft after reaching their end-of-life have gone to scrap yards. Some have been used for ground training while the rest have been left to rot next to the runways. In an effort to address this problem, a number of initiatives have been voluntarily taken up by the aviation industry globally. 7.1 WINGNet WINGNet (Waste reduction IN aircraft-related Groups) is a network funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It is focused on the development of the technologies and infrastructure required to meet the challenges in the sustainable use and reuse of aircraft materials. The scope of activities of WINGNet was formulated in consultation with the UK
aerospace industry to identify critical materials science research required to improve performance in sustainable use of materials. 7.2 Product Stewardship Product stewardship, also known as extended product responsibility (EPR), is a productfocused approach to environmental protection. Product stewardship calls on manufacturers, retailers, users, and disposers to share responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of products. Product stewardship recognizes that manufacturers have the greatest ability, and therefore the greatest responsibility, to reduce the environmental impacts of their products. Reducing the use of toxic substances, designing for reuse and recycling, and creating take-back programs are opportunities for manufacturers to become better environmental stewards of their products. 7.3 PAMELA Airbus has initiated a project to test environmentally friendly recycling procedures for the aircraft reaching their end-of-life. Working with partners SITA (the waste management company), EADS CCR, Snecma Service and the Prefecture des Hautes-Pyrenees, Airbus has set up a facility in southwest France at Tarbes Airport, where procedures for the decommissioning and recycling of aircraft in environmentally controlled conditions are tested. The 3.2 million ($4.7 million) project, Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life of Aircraft (PAMELA), aims to set best practices in this field while demonstrating that 85 to 95 percent of aircraft components can be recycled, reused or recovered. The project will set up new standards for best practices for the safe and environmentally friendly management of end-of-life aircraft covering the whole process, from storage at the decommissioning phase, disassembling and dismantling, to the recycling or elimination of materials. This initiative is being supported by the European Commission, which has selected the project for its LIFE (l'Instrument Financier pour l'Environnement) program, created to assist the development of solutions to environmental problems facing the EU. As part of the project, PAMELA will also help launch a European network to disseminate information about this new innovative process. Airbus and its partners want to export their skills and technology to other regions of the world. At Tarbes, aircraft will be drained of all fluids and part-disassembled - engines, pylons, landing gears, avionic boxes, flight controls, batteries and hydraulic pumps removed - before the airframes are divided into manageable pieces. Airframe pieces will be further disassembled for material separation. Metals will be separated into hard and soft types and shredded into pieces. Aluminum alloys, steel, copper, titanium, etc will be sorted for re-processing elsewhere. Plastics will be handled similarly. Most of the wing and fuselage structures are primarily aluminum. Although all aluminum has protective coatings, this problem can be tackled once the metal has been melted.
Batteries would cause problems, but these will be broken down into constituent parts and materials, separated and sorted. The disposal of more complex components, like avionics boxes, are already subject to regulations, which is why companies like SITA have developed processes to separate copper, composite and plastic constituents and to strip copper wires from their insulation.
Composite material cannot be recycled, but these can be reused in an innovative way. Studies are underway to ascertain if shredded composite material can be mixed with tarmac to make it longer lasting. The prospect of recycling aircraft that contain more composites, metal-fiber laminates and a mix of exotic alloys will require new processes, which PAMELA will aim to develop. Equipment and products removed from aircraft will go through a controlled processing channel. With PAMELA, the re-usable spares recovered from end-of-life aircraft will be tracked and returned to the spares pool. Operators will thus gain access to a potentially a large pool of used but serviceable aircraft parts. 7.4 TARMAC Tarbes Advanced Recycling & Maintenance Aircraft Company (TARMAC Aerosave) is the first company providing industrial-scale dismantling and recycling services for aircraft reaching end-
of-life. Comprising six industrial partners - Airbus, SITA France Group Suez (a waste management expert), Snecma Services, Equip'Aero, TASC Avation (an Airbus subsidiary in Dubai that trades in aircraft parts) Aeroconseil (which specializes in aeronautical engineering and systems) - TARMAC Aerosave is an extension of the PAMELA. TARMAC Aerosave will offer customers short-term aircraft storage at its Tarbes facility, but its main line of business will be dismantling and recycling aircraft and components in an environmentally friendly manner. The dismantling process will also be disseminated worldwide. 7.5 AFRA Boeing has established a voluntary association, Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), to achieve a similar aim; but in this case through recommended end-of-life organizations and the distribution of best practices. AFRA comprises a voluntary group of individuals and companies that have agreed to work in a cooperative fashion to provide full aircraft product life cycle capability. This comprises: • Storage of aircraft that are currently out-of-service • Refurbishment of aircraft that can go back into revenue service • Disassembly and responsible parts management of materials from aircraft that are no longer marketable • Recycling of manufacturing and maintenance scrap The current members include Boeing, Evergreen Air Center, Bartin Recycling, Chateauroux Air Center, Air Salvage International, Faraday Advance, Europe Aviantion, Milled Carbon, Oxford University Begbroke Science Park, WINGNet, Adherent Technologies, Rolls-Royce, The Memphis Group, Southern California Aviation, HKS Metals, Volvo Aero, Universal Recycling Company, Magellan Group, Huron Valley Fritz West, Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions and Aviation Suppliers Association. An aim of AFRA is to work with legislators to show that the aerospace sector is behaving responsibly when it comes to aerospace end-of-life issues and so to reduce the likelihood of imposed legislation. Following the successful setting up of AFRA and the identification of AFRA centers in the USA and Europe, AFRA now plans to deliver and disseminate best practices in aircraft maintenance and disposal at these centers. Similar centers will be established in the Far East, Australasia and South America.
NEW QUALITY ROLES
The ultimate aim of the aviation industry must be to address the issues related to sustainable development in a fashion so that the environment is not sacrificed for the growth of the industry. The quality managers being in a privileged position, have an opportunity and responsibility to influence future and should be first to respond to the environmental challenges. They should move their thinking from tactical to strategic.
The role of the quality managers should change from traditional quality professionals to persons with a much wider set of responsibilities, the environmentalists. Their predominant role of managing the quality should be supplemented with their responsibilities to manage the environmental issues. They should apply their expertise and capabilities to curb pollution by being proactive.
8.1 Life Cycle Thinking The quality managers in the aviation industry should adapt to the concept of life cycle thinking. They should ensure that the entire life cycle of the aircraft from design to disposal should be ecological. The life cycle should encompass raw materials, design, manufacture, use, maintenance to the final end of life of the aircraft. Life cycle analysis is a major topic in itself, not discussed in detail here, and its approaches are applicable across all the sectors of aviation industry. Quality managers should take environmental issues into consideration from the very early stages of the design process. This will enable more eco-friendly parts to be incorporated in the design of aircraft, thereby improving the whole aircraft life cycle.
The environmentally unfriendly materials, such as chromates and cadmium, should be progressively removed from the future aircraft. The use of composites in aircraft is increasing as they're lighter and more fuel efficient, but consideration should be given to the entire lifecycle and the aftermarket – the quality managers need to be careful and environmentally conscious. The government
guidelines for scrapping and recycling procedures should be religiously adhered to. This is one of the most responsible and economic ways to ensure that environmental standards are upheld. The ability to ensure that changes to design and/or operational procedures can reduce the total impact on the environment, as opposed to simply transferring the burden to another stage of the life cycle, is essential to life cycle thinking. Efforts at all levels are required to ensure that the aviation industry maximizes the use of its ‘environmental capacity’.
Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association website http://www.afraassociation.org/ Alfa-Bird website www.alfa-bird.eu-vri.eu ‘Aviation and Sustainable Development’ – UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Paper No 9. http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd9_bp9.pdf ‘CALIN- French aerospace organizations launch aviation biofuels research project’ http://biopact.com/2007/08/french-aerospace-organisations-launch.html ‘Greening the Supply Chain’ - By Mark Fitzgerald - Airline Procurement, December 2007. http://www.atwonline.com/channels/maintenance/article.html?articleID=2187 ‘IATA Economic Briefing – Passenger and Freight Forecasts 2007 TO 2011 - OCTOBER 2007’ http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/economics/issue_briefing_new.htm ‘IATA Environmental Review 2004’ http://www.iata.org/ps/publications/9486.htm ‘IATA Noise Certification Standards’ http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/environment/aircraft_noise.htm ‘IATA Balanced Approach to Noise Management around Airports’ http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/environment/aircraft_noise.htm ‘ICAO - Report of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, Seventh Meeting - 2007’ http://www.icao.int/icao/en/env/document.htm ‘IPCC - Working Group III Report - Mitigation of Climate Change – Technical Summary’ http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg3.htm ‘Lighter, Quieter Engines’ - By A. Angrand - Safran Magazine No 1 http://www.safran-group.com/IMG/pdf/SAFRAN1_UK-PA10.pdf PAMELA website http://www.airbus.com/en/corporate/ethics/environment/articles/Environment_PAMELA.html ‘Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development’ - UN General Assembly http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/42/ares42-187.htm
‘Tarmac: Pioneer in Aircraft Recycling’ – By P. Michaud – Safran Magazine No 2 group.com/IMG/pdf/SAFRAN2UKp36-39.pdf ‘Technical Workshop on Bunker Fuel Emissions Bulletin’ http://www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/sd/ymbvol146num1e.pdf ‘The Aircraft at End of Life Sector: a Preliminary Study’ http://users.ox.ac.uk/~pgrant/Airplane%20end%20of%20life.pdf
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