The press releases are coming in thick and fast regarding Boeing and sustainability efforts. If progress is made at the same speed, then this bodes well for the aviation industry. The plane maker has assumed the role of “Aviation Sector Champion” in the First Movers Coalition, recruited a SAF expert, and announced plans for a Research & Technology Center in Japan.
“No one company can decarbonize aviation on its own. Achieving Net-Zero by 2050 will take a large ecosystem working together – it will take everything and everyone doing their part,” Boeing’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Chris Raymond proclaimed at the Boeing Sustainability Forum in Tokyo last week. One reason why Boeing has taken on the role of “Aviation Sector Champion” in the First Movers Coalition (FMC), and is focused on accelerating the reduction in carbon emissions within the aviation industry.
First Movers Coalition
Launched at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, COP26 in Glasgow in NOV21, the First Movers Coalition is a global initiative looking to actively to decarbonize the seven “hard to abate” industrial sectors accounting for 30% of global emissions, currently – Aviation is one, alongside Aluminum, Chemicals, Concrete, Shipping, Steel, and Trucking. It consists of more than 50 companies that are pushing to commercialize zero-carbon technologies and exert purchasing pledges to bring about the low-carbon technologies needed to achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050. “We can only maintain the critical climate pathway of 1.5ºC if we jumpstart the market for disruptive zero-carbon technologies and make them as economically competitive as existing carbon-intensive solutions,” Nancy Gillis, Head of the First Movers Coalition, emphasized. “I congratulate Boeing for its new championship role and look forward to working together on driving the need for and accelerating the use of these emerging technologies.”
Boeing as an expert…
“We are honored to serve as ‘champion’ for our sector and committed to partnering with FMC members and others on scaling SAF and accelerating low-carbon technologies to decarbonize aviation,” Brian Moran, Boeing Vice President of Global Sustainability Policy & Partnerships, stated. Boeing was a founding member of the global alliance, jointly established by the U.S. Government and World Economic Forum to accelerate clean technologies and reduce carbon emissions. Boeing has a diverse portfolio of sustainability initiatives including its ecoDemonstrator program which successfully launched the first commercial 100% SAF flight in 2018 with a 777 Freighter together with FedEx Express. In 2020, SkyNRG, Alaska Airlines, Etihad Airways, NASA, Rolls-Royce, and United Airlines partnered with Boeing in their efforts to decarbonize. Other actions include developing Wisk, the first all-electric, self-flying air taxi in the U.S., and researching and testing hydrogen as a fuel, conducting six technology demonstrations over the past 15 years.
… brings in another expert
“Boeing has been a pioneer in making SAF a reality and having Robert join our team is further proof that we are 100% committed to working together to meet the industry’s net-zero emissions commitment by 2050,” Brian Moran announced, referring to the appointment of Robert Boyd to assist in working with the First Movers Coalition on its decarbonization goals. The established Aviation Decarbonization Specialist and SAF expert comes over from International Air Transport Association (IATA), where he holds the post of Assistant Director - Energy Transition and Policy, Environment and Sustainability, and was responsible for decarbonization efforts, including advancing the commercial deployment of SAF and addressing policy, economic, sustainability and logistic challenges. He has served as a member of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Fuels Task Group, and served for four years on the Board of Directors for the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).
Going Green in Japan
At its Sustainability Forum in Tokyo on 01AUG22, Boeing announced that it plans to open a research and technology center in Nagoya, Japan – a location that is close to many of its major industrial partners and suppliers. The Research Center Japan adds to Boeing's other centers in nearby Australia, China and Korea, and will tie in with Boeing’s cooperation with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), running since 2019, and now extended to include a focus on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), electric and hydrogen powertrain technologies, and future flight concepts that will promote zero climate impact aviation. Further, electric and hybrid-electric propulsion, batteries, and composite manufacturing research will be done. “We are excited to open our latest global research and technology center here in Japan,” Greg Hyslop, Boeing Chief Engineer and Executive Vice President of Engineering, Test & Technology, commented. “Working with terrific partners like METI, the new center will expand upon Boeing-wide initiatives in sustainable fuels and electrification, and explore the intersection of digitization, automation and high-performance aerospace composites for greater sustainability in our future products and production systems.”
ACT FOR SKY
At the same time, Boeing was admitted to ACT FOR SKY, a voluntary consortium launched by All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines (JAL), global engineering company, JGC Holdings Corporation, and biofuel producer Revo International, and meanwhile consisting of 16 companies. Its aim: to commercialize, promote and expand the use of Japan-produced SAF. Masahiro Aika, representative of ACT FOR SKY, said, “ACT FOR SKY welcomes the participation of Boeing. We look forward to Boeing collaborating with the other members to "ACT" for the commercialization, promotion, and expansion of SAF in Japan.”
Steps to securing the future of aviation
Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer, Chris Raymond added, "To ensure the enormous societal benefits of aviation remain available for generations to come, we must continue to partner with capable innovators and leaders to support the industry's commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We are humbled to join ACT FOR SKY and collaborate with other members to share global best practices and help with the scale up and demand of SAF in Japan. And we are honored to open the Japan Research Center and expand our work with airline customers ANA and JAL on advanced technologies to realize zero climate impact aviation."
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