Media releases

About us»
About us»

Energy Institute aviation fuel handling report grounds unnecessary GHG emissions


Twitter LinkedIn Email Print

The Energy Institute has today published a new fuel handling research report, highlighting action the aviation sector can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when refuelling commercial aircraft.

The findings, collated by global environmental consultancy Ricardo, assess the adoption of different vehicle technologies when refuelling aircraft and the resulting cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

With greenhouse gas emissions occurring before an aircraft has even pushed back from its stand, the report provides a comprehensive refuelling vehicle life cycle assessment (LCA), as well as alternative aircraft refuelling solutions to mitigate emissions.

The report finds that the largest greenhouse gas emissions reductions can be achieved through the adoption of fully electric hydrant dispensers and refuellers, and where operationally feasible, the use of hydrant carts for servicing narrow-bodied aircraft. Using sustainably sourced renewable diesel may also provide an impactful short-term option in some locations.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Head of Good Practice for Fuels and Fuel Handling at the Energy Institute, Martin Hunnybun MEI, said:

“Although the emissions created by fuelling commercial aircraft are a small fraction of total emissions from aviation, they can be reduced rapidly using technologies that are available today.

“This report provides a benchmark to help stakeholders assess which measures would produce the largest emissions reductions in refuelling operations, aiding the sector in its drive for net zero by 2050.”

Rui Neiva, Principal Consultant at Ricardo and Project Manager for the study said:

“As airport stakeholders seek to decarbonise their ground handling operations, it is important to understand the options available and what is the true environmental impact of the choices made.

“The use of Ricardo’s state-of-the-art LCA modelling capabilities combined with the deep knowledge of vehicle technologies available (and forthcoming) in the market supported this detailed assessment of the technologies that can support reducing emissions associated with aircraft refuelling.”

The study documents the greenhouse gas emissions associated with aircraft refuelling at a large commercial case study airport and estimates the emissions for the same fuelling operations using alternative approaches.

Assessments include the use of the latest generation diesel-powered vehicles, engine off technology for hydrant dispensers, the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil, the deployment of hydrant carts for refuelling narrow-body aircraft, the use of electrically-powered pump off for refuellers and the adoption of fully electric hydrant dispensers and refuellers.

As part of the Energy Institute’s social purpose to support our members and society accelerate a just global energy transition to net zero, the report provides a clear overview of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction options that can be deployed immediately at all commercial airports worldwide.

Steered by expert panels made up of senior industry figures, the Energy Institute’s technical and innovation work reflects the world’s most pressing energy issues and underpins changing global operations, supporting the safe and responsible generation of energy now and during the transition to a low carbon economy.

Notes for editors