Boeing to Expand Investment in Brazil Biofuel

Boeing today announced a USD 1 million investment in Brazil’s efforts to establish a sustainable aviation fuel industry. The investment will focus on initiatives that maximize social, economic and environmental benefits to local communities engaged in the development of feedstock that can be used to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). In 2018, the company provided an additional USD 1 million to the industry’s efforts in Brazil.

“Brazil is a biofuel powerhouse and we believe this leadership can translate into benefits for small farmers and communities at the forefront of the multi-feedstock supply chain supporting biojet fuel production in the country,” said Marc Allen, senior vice president of Boeing and president of Embraer Partnership & Group Operations.

Boeing will collaborate with long-time partners World Wide Fund for Nature and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) to identify small communities of farmers in Brazil with the most promising potential to provide biomass for SAF production. The producers will then be certified using sustainability indicators that drive social benefits such as income generation, solid labor practices and food security. Groups of small farmers that produce sugarcane and macaúba oil in southeast Brazil have already been certified by RSB in recent years, with Boeing’s financial support.

In 2013, both WWF and RSB were stakeholders in the development of Flightpath to Aviation. This detailed report, led by Boeing, Embraer and the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP), outlined the unique opportunities and challenges of creating a cost-effective, bio-derived, and sustainable jet-fuel production and distribution industry in Brazil.

This latest investment builds on Boeing’s long-standing commitment to supporting and developing Brazil’s aviation and aerospace ecosystem through education and training programs, research and development initiatives and industry partnerships.

“Over the past 10 years, Boeing has invested more than USD 2 million in community projects in Brazil,” said Allen. “Brazil is a leader in the global aerospace industry and Boeing is committed to working with our local partners to ensure it remains at the forefront of innovation for generations to come.”

Building the next generation of aviation and aerospace talent is a key focus for Boeing’s community investment around the world. The company expects to make an announcement about further investment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Brazil in the coming weeks.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. The company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.


Boeing to Expand Investment in Brazil’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Industry

European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers Welcomes Changes to Packaging Waste Directive

FEFPEB has welcomed an important change to the European Union’s Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive, which affects how recycling targets for wooden packaging are calculated, following work by the industry.

The European Union has accepted that wood used in both the reuse and repair of pallets and packaging have to be included in the calculation of recycling rates.

FEFPEB has informed its members about the changes – which have been incorporated into the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive.

Secretary general Fons Ceelaert, said: “Wood used in both the reuse and repair of pallets and packaging has been accepted, which is a real success,” he said. “Not reaching recycling targets could cause great problems in terms of penalties, so we are happy with this helpful new regulation,  with realistic recycling targets, which removes a lot of concern for our industry.”

He added that under the revised directive, replacing one component in a pallet also now allows the full weight of the pallet to be accounted for as recycled.


Mini Launches Electric Car on July 9

BMW is no stranger to electrification, having released several plug-in hybrids and the diminutive i3 range-extended electric hatchback. Its budget brand Mini is in the same boat, as its current lineup does offer some electrification, and in just a couple weeks, we’ll see its first electric car.

Mini announced on its website this week that the first electric Mini will debut on July 9. It will land in a fair few markets, according to Mini’s site. Right now, preorders are open for France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. There is also a “stay in the loop” link available for buyers in Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.

We first drove the 2020 Mini Cooper SE, which will likely be the name it sports in production guise, back in March. The prototype we drove rocked the same sheet metal as the average Mini, albeit with bumpers lacking exhaust cutouts and a grille. The interior was covered, so we can’t tell you much about it, except for the fact that it has an electronic parking brake. The battery pack lives in the transmission tunnel, so it doesn’t eat into interior space, which is already at a premium in these baby Bimmers.

Mini hasn’t divulged any specifics about the powertrain yet, but we do know that most of the electric running gear is plucked from the latest version of the BMW i3 electric city car. 60 miles per hour should arrive in between 7 and 8 seconds, and a DC fast charger will bring a depleted battery up to 80 percent in about 40 minutes.

The automaker only gave us a quick spin in the prototype, but it left us wanting seconds. It was nimble through the autocross course Mini put together, with some nicely weighted steering, easy-to-module brakes and — of course — plenty of all-electric torque that can be conjured up at a moment’s notice. We can’t wait to take a crack at Mini’s EV once the camouflage comes off. Sales should start in the US by the end of the year.


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Mini will unveil its first electric car on July 9

Maersk Goes Carbon-Neutral Transport

A new carbon neutral product – the first of its kind in the industry – is being piloted with select Maersk customers who are highly engaged in sustainable solutions for their supply chain. H&M Group is the first company to trial it as part of the shift towards carbon-neutral transportation.

Copenhagen, Denmark. The biofuel in the pilot project is the same blend of used cooking oil and heavy which has been tested and successfully validated in a trial driven in collaboration with the Dutch Sustainability Growth Coalition (DSGC), and Shell his year. It is certified as a sustainable fuel by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) body.

“The biofuel trial on board Mette Maersk has proven that decarbonized solutions for shipping can already be utilized today, both technically and operationally. While it is not yet an absolutely final solution it is certainly part of the solution and it can serve as a transition solution to reduce CO2 emissions today. With the launch of this product, Maersk seeks to help our customers with their goal of moving to sustainable supply chains, “explains Søren Toft, Maersk COO.

The biofuel to be utilized is carbon neutral and provides, H&M Group the ability to reduce their transport and logistics emissions towards their aspiration of carbon neutrality, when accounting for only the emissions from the vessel. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) will provide a procedure to ensure carbon savings are accredited to our customers appropriately. When taking a full lifecycle view including also all emissions from upstream production and transportation, the fuel entails savings of 85% compared to bunker fuel.

The goal of such pilot projects is to unlock the potential of sustainable fuels so they become a commercial reality.

“Our high ambition to become climate positive by 2040 requires cooperation and engagement from all parties in the supply chain. We want to use our size to be a force for good and enable scaling innovative solutions, such as the carbon neutral ocean product, for a greener commercial transport,” says Helena Helmersson, COO H&M Group.

We will use the biofuel project learnings to support a broader product offering and will continue to co-develop and facilitate the uptake of solutions that will help bring about more cost-efficient carbon-neutral options for the carbon neutral transportation.

Today the shift away from fossil fuels can be expensive for shippers. Ensuring the wide-scale adoption of carbonneutral solutions therefore requires technical innovation and supportive global policies.

“We believe this is the only commercially viable path to make the required investments our industry requires to reach the carbon neutral target. We are so pleased to see a significant shift in sentiment and involvement from customers, fuel suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and competitors towards sustainable solutions,” emphasizes Toft.

Shipping remains the most carbon-efficient means of global transport today, but accounts for 2-3% of global emissions. This number will continue to grow if left unchecked by industry leaders and policy makers.

Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to 2050.

About Maersk

A.P. Moller – Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 76,000 people.


Maersk to offer customers carbon-neutral transport

Mondi Develops New Recyclable PP Film for Food Packaging

Mondi, an Austria-based paper and packaging solutions provider, has unveiled a recyclable polypropylene (PP) film to pack fresh and processed foods.

The recyclable packaging material is suitable for the thermoforming of flexible films for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and vacuum packaging.

According to Mondi, the new, coextruded packaging material features a web at the top and bottom as well as an internal barrier layer.

Both webs have been certified by The Aachen, Germany-based Institut cyclos-HTP, the Institute for Recyclability and Product. The organisation independently certified that the webs have the highest qualification ‘Class AAA’ in recyclability.

In addition to increasing the shelf life of products, including meat and cheese, the new packaging material will help to reduce the product’s carbon footprint by 23% compared to existing conventional structures.

Mondi Consumer Packaging EcoSolutions project manager Thomas Kahl said: “Mondi’s view is that packaging should always be fit-for-purpose, paper where possible, plastic when useful, and sustainable by design.

“The challenge with this project was to maintain the functionality that is key to such applications, including excellent oxygen and moisture barriers, and high puncture resistance, while also enhancing the package’s recyclability. The latter factor was vital as Mondi continues to support the principles of a circular economy.”

The latest development of thermoformable food packaging meets the requirements of the ‘New Plastic Economy’ global initiative, which is striving toward a more sustainable economy.

In March, Mondi announced four new commitments to tackle plastic waste as part of the launch of first New Plastics Economy Global Commitment report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.


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Mondi develops new recyclable PP film for food packaging

Trump Orders Review of Controversial Biofuel Waiver Program

U.S. President Donald Trump has directed members of his Cabinet to review the administration’s expanded use of waivers exempting small refineries from the nation’s biofuel policy, after hearing from farmers angry about the issue during his recent Midwest tour, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Trump’s move underscores the rising political importance of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, a more than decade-old law which requires refineries to blend corn-based ethanol into their gasoline to help farmers, but which also provides waivers to small refining facilities that can prove compliance would cause them financial harm.

Since Trump took office, the Environmental Protection Agency has more than quadrupled the number of waivers it has granted, saving the oil industry hundreds of millions of dollars, but enraging another key constituency – corn growers – who claim the move threatens demand for one of their staple products.

Trump heard from disgruntled farmers and their political backers on the issue earlier this month when he visited the Midwest to tout his administration’s decision to lift a ban on summer sales of higher ethanol blends of gasoline called E15. Farmers welcomed that move but warned Trump it was negated by the surge in small refinery exemptions.

The sources said Trump, upon returning from his trip, asked the heads of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find solutions to address the farmers’ concerns. They said the EPA is now considering limiting use of the waivers or forcing larger refiners to make up for the exempted gallons – or a combination of both.

“I think Trump realized he may have a political problem and told (EPA Administrator Andrew) Wheeler to fix it,” said one of the sources, a refining industry lobbyist who was briefed on the matter and asked not to be named.

The EPA, in a statement on Thursday, said the “EPA will continue to work with the White House, USDA, members of Congress and other stakeholders to ensure the Renewable Fuel Standard’s continued stability.”

The USDA and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Any move to alter the small refinery waiver program would face resistance from the oil industry, already stung by the administration’s expansion of E15 sales.

They view the government support for biofuels as a competitive threat to petroleum, and argue that the waiver program is now being run as Congress intended.

“The president has made promises to refiners, too. He promised to keep refineries competitive and he made promises to keep regulatory costs down, and we hope he keeps those promises,” said, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president of the refining trade group American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Trump’s expansion of the waiver program has become an unlikely talking point for several Democrats here vying to defeat him in the 2020 presidential election, including Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, who believe it can help turn farmers already stung by the trade wars against him.

The EPA granted 35 exemptions for 2017, up from seven in the last year of the Obama administration, according to agency data. That included waivers for refineries owned by profitable majors like Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, as well as one owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

The exemptions represent more than 2 billion gallons of potentially lost demand for ethanol, the biofuel industry says. However, the extent of the actual demand destruction, if any, is a matter of intense debate.

The EPA has delayed action on the 39 pending applications for the 2018 calendar year.


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Trump orders review of controversial biofuel waiver program: sources

China Cuts Support For Electric Carmakers

China has become the biggest electric car market in the world, thanks to government support in the form of subsidies — but things may change as subsidies are being reduced.

Experts and industry insiders warn that there could be consolidation in China’s electric vehicle market and weaker investor sentiment.

Still, Chinese electric carmakers like Xpeng and WM Motor are remaining bullish despite potential short-term blips in the market.

If you walk around Shenzhen, one of China’s big technology hubs, you’ll notice all of the taxis are electric. In other major Chinese cities, so-called new energy vehicles are commonplace — with Tesla cars and other models from the dozens of domestic manufacturers on the roads.

China is after all the world’s largest electric car market by volume. It got there with the help of heavy government support in the form of subsidies to auto firms. But Beijing is starting to wind down the support, hitting investor sentiment and prompting experts to warn of failures among the dozens of electric car start-ups.

Subsidies are slated to be cut by about half next week on June 26. The cuts range between roughly 45% and 60%, and have been completely scrapped for vehicles with ranges below 250 kilometers per charge.

That will lead to consolidation in China’s electric car market, analysts say.

“It’s always fragmentation before concentration … there will be companies that don’t make it. The weaker ones will be rooted out pretty quickly,” Bill Russo, CEO of Automobility Limited, told CNBC.

Low-end players to take hit

Some of China’s electric automakers that are now beginning to deliver their first cars, are confident they can survive and feel lower end players could get hit.

“In general, I would say that, apart from a short-term blip, I think it’s actually good for the industry because traditionally … the companies that really take advantage of the subsidies are low-end manufacturers not focused on making the product — they are focused on collecting subsidy from the government,” Brian Gu, President of Xpeng Motors, told CNBC in an interview last week.

The CEO of WM Motor, Freeman Shen, echoed the same sentiments, saying his company could get a boost as consumers look higher up the value chain.

“The consumers who (are) looking at the low-end market products will have to go up and look at the products like WM Motors,” Shen told CNBC in an interview last week.

‘War of attrition’

Despite the current uncertainty in the market, the overall sector appears to be moving in the right direction. While the sales of passenger cars fell 15.2% year-on-year in the first five months of 2019, new energy vehicle sales were up 41.5% in the same period, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. In May, electric cars represented around 6.6% of total passenger vehicle sales in China.

Carmakers are currently chasing market share, by looking to ramp up production, open show rooms and deliver products. Some, like Xpeng, are even trialing their own ride-hailing service.

The focus for these companies is not on profits. For example, Nio, which is listed in New York, lost $390 million in the first quarter of the year. Xpeng and WM Motor are both private companies and do not release financials.

In looking to boost their market share, Chinese carmakers are raising huge amounts of money from high-profile investors.

WM Motor completed a 3 billion yuan ($434.5 million) funding round in March led by Chinese technology giant Baidu. Tencent-backed Nio raised $1 billion in its initial public offering in September. While Xpeng told CNBC it’s seeking a “comparable amount” of funding to the nearly $600 million it raised last year. Xpeng counts Alibaba among its investors.

But investor sentiment toward electric carmakers has soured, particularly in the public markets. Shares of Nio are down over 60% year-to-date while American rival Tesla is more than 32% lower.

“I think the general macro environment in sort of trade as well as in EV (electric vehicles) sector in general, the public company trading performance … has not been stellar. That has a … (dampening) effect, I think, on investment sentiment,” Xpeng’s Gu said.

“But I think the investors tend to still be drawn to, I would say, top companies in the sector. So I think it will create probably more trouble for the followers, people who does not have a product in the coming month(s) or years,” he added.

Automobility’s Russo said that costs incurred by electric auto companies will rise given that they will continue to release new models, increase production, open showrooms and build infrastructure. That could lead to the race between these automakers being all about stamina.

“Will there be consolidation? Yes, because the cost of not only building a product, but having to support the infrastructure to present their product to the market, is pretty high,” Russo said.

“And how deep are the pockets of investors? Are they willing to sustain loses for a long period of time? In some cases, the answer is yes. They see the long term potential for this market becoming exponential,” he said. “But to get there, you have to survive a number of years of losing money. It’s going to be a war of attrition for some of the companies in this space.”


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As China cuts support for its electric carmakers, auto firms could face a ‘war of attrition

Clariant to Chair the Coalition Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels

Today Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels (LSB) nominated Gloria Gaupmann, Head of Public Affairs, Technology & Innovation, Clariant, as Chairwoman at LSB’s Annual General Meeting in Brussels. Gloria takes over the Chair from Marko Janhunen, Director, Public Affairs at UPM, who served as chair since 2017.

LSB is working closely with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and the Member States representatives to provide credible information on the potential of advanced biofuels in the European Union. LSB supports the dedicated and binding target for advanced biofuels in the revised Renewable Energy Directive REDII.

“The REDII sets the right direction by enabling advanced biofuels to contribute to the decarbonization of EU transport. The new Parliament and the incoming Commission need to defend and strengthen this course,” Gloria Gaupmann stated after her nomination.

“A quick and ambitious transposition of REDII in the member states is now key. The Commission must keep a close watch on the Member States to ensure a coherent and forceful implementation of the agreed targets. In addition, the Commission together with the EU legislators has to set the path towards 2050 where advanced biofuels should finally come from niche to norm”, Gloria Gaupmann continued.


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Clariant to chair the coalition “Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels

US Ethanol Makers Buy Brazilian Corn

Some U.S. ethanol makers are considering buying corn from Brazil to guarantee supply as domestic crop prices are rising, the chief of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said on Tuesday.

“I haven’t heard that it is happening, but I have heard some chatter that there are people looking at it, because of the growing spread between U.S. and Brazil corn prices,” Chief Executive Geoff Cooper said in an interview on the sidelines of the Ethanol Summit 2019 in Sao Paulo, organized by cane industry group Unica.

“Logistically, there may be some places where that could work, the West Coast for instance,” he said.

U.S. corn is fetching five-month high prices, including a more than 25% increase since May, as the crop outlook has deteriorated due to unfavorable weather.

Prices in Brazil have risen more slowly, and the country is harvesting its largest corn crop ever.

Brazilian grain analyst Agroconsult cited reports of U.S. ethanol makers, mostly on both coasts, buying corn from Brazil and Argentina.

Besides price, a major factor driving those deals is the difficulty in transporting corn from some U.S. areas to domestic ethanol facilities due to waterway disruption after rains, said Andre Pessoa, Agroconsult’s chief analyst.

RFA’s Cooper said ethanol prices are keeping up with rising corn prices, “but at some point you run out of room.”

“If ethanol doesn’t keep up, that will put further pressure on margins which are already low, and we already have some mills running in the red,” he said.

The worsening corn outlook will reduce output as some capacity is idled, Cooper said.

“Export demand is the most elastic for us, so that is where we would expect to see the first reductions in ethanol consumption and demand,” he added.

Brazil’s ethanol industry, largely based in sugarcane, believes the U.S. corn situation could expand demand for its fuel.

In his presentation at the conference, Cooper urged the Brazilian government to let the quota system expire in September and not renew it for a period, saying it would be only fair since the United States does not tax Brazilian ethanol.

Brazil taxes U.S. ethanol at 20% when import volumes go above 150 million liters per quarter.


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Some U.s. Ethanol Makers Looking To Buy Brazilian Corn

Tax Credits for Affordable Electric Vehicles Gain Speed

As Congress begins to turn toward tax policies to help clean energy manufacturing, electric vehicle tax credits aimed directly at more affordable vehicles are gaining speed, just as a previous Forbes column and a Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) white paper urged several months ago.

The question now is will EV advocates in Congress, the U.S. auto industry and labor unions get the message and reform tax incentives to benefit middle-income Americans.

Such revised tax credits focused on more affordable EVs will increase the chances new incentives become law, and will better allow the U.S. to reap the remarkable economic, health, manufacturing and environmental benefits of EVs.

Yet as of now, new EV tax credits have been left entirely out of a so-called “tax extenders” outline circulating among House Ways and Means Committee members.

But a series of new developments are demonstrating that tax credits focused on affordable vehicles are gaining momentum.

Canada announced a new $5,000 EV tax credit but only for EVs priced under $45,000; not surprisingly, in response Tesla, which otherwise would not have qualified for the new credit, lowered the price to $44,999 of its base Model 3 offering in Canada to make it eligible.

Fiat Chrysler and Renault announced a merger plan to form the world’s 3rd largest automaker, and though the deal fell through due to demands from the Renault shareholding French government, the plan is still widely viewed within the industry as fueled by an opportunity to quickly make Chrysler one of the world’s largest EV producers and capture the huge new EV market, set to grow from fewer than 2 million EVs produced last year to more than 30 million a year around the world by 2030.

Major President candidates like Joe Biden proposed expanded EV tax credits, while candidate Gov. Jay Inslee’s electric vehicle proposal contained several major elements of PPI’s “Winning the Global Race for Electric Cars” white paper including new EV tax credits focused on more affordable models; a “cash for clunkers” tax credit for the trade-in of oil-burning vehicles and purchase of a new EV; and a requirement that all new federal government vehicles be EVs where feasible.

Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI), along with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Driving America Forward Act, legislation to expand the electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell tax credits by raising the cap for additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible.

The bill is supported by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Edison Electric Institute and scores of clean energy corporations and environmental NGOs, but has not been included in the current “tax extenders”

But this legislation was not only left out of the recent outline of tax extenders. Republicans, after handing $2 trillion to the richest American in their stunning tax giveaway bill, have decided to pretend to take the populist approach by criticizing current and these proposed EV incentives as mostly benefiting the rich. George Will wrote a column entitled “Concerned that government is rigged in favor of the rich? End this tax credit” supporting efforts by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Jason T. Smith (R-Mo.) to repeal the tax credit.

A coalition of 34 right wing interest groups urged Congress not to extend the electric vehicle tax credit. In a letter, the groups argued that “subsidies for electric vehicles overwhelmingly benefit the rich.”

The letter falsely claims that EVs are dirtier than gasoline-powered cars. Environmental and consumer advocates point out that Republican EV opponents are purposing ignoring the more than $3 billion in annual federal taxpayer subsidies for oil companies, since big oil is providing the lion’s share of their donations to GOP members of Congress.

Advocates contrast this amount with the far smaller $670 million the EV tax credit cost in 2017.

Never to be outdone when it comes to hypocrisy by anyone, President Trump, who opposes even current EV tax credits, tweeted prematurely about a possible deal between GM and a fledgling company called Workhorse, to build a small number of electric trucks at the shuttered Lordstown plant near Youngstown, Ohio.

Yet no company could use robust EV tax credits more than Workhorse, a company with fewer than 100 full time employees who had less than $500,000 in revenue last quarter.

Trump is offering a pathetically inadequate response to the huge EV opportunity, while the Chinese he complains so much about continue to dominate the global market with more than 40% of global sales.

Trump’s trade war response is self-defeating. Instead of advocating a policy to beat the Chinese in manufacturing of EVs, he is threatening to erect a trade barrier specific to EVs, which will only add costs on all cars for Americans and US automakers. As it is, China produced more than 1.2 million EVs last year, while the US manufactured fewer than 400,000, Chinese production is growing much faster.

Moreover, Trump’s EPA is set to rollback fuel economy standards, in part by arguing a lack of demand for the EVs who tax credit it is attempting to end thus lowering demand.

All of this argues for a system that provides higher EV tax credits for lower priced cars, as PPI has proposed, to spur larger EV fleet growth, benefit middle income consumers most, cut cost of driving, oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions, and face down the faux-populist arguments from the right.

In terms of climate change, Transportation is now the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, driven almost entirely by oil consumption in vehicles.

Any serious plan to cut America’s climate change emissions must replace oil burning engines with alternatives, like EVs. Additional benefits of lower oil consumption include ending reliance on imported oil, and lowering our trade deficit.

Fortunately, America’s electricity system is getting much cleaner very quickly, so EVs will be increasingly low-emitting. Coal’s share of US electricity production has dropped in half in the last two decades, and continues to fall rapidly.

Meanwhile, remarkably, ALL new U.S. electricity capacity last year had lower emissions than oil—with wind (46%), natural gas (34%), solar (18%), and other renewables and battery storage (2%) accounting for all of it.

As for consumers, the costs of owning and operating electric vehicles is lower than oil-based cars already, with fewer repairs and no gasoline costs, which means that when production reaches scale and sticker prices come down, total costs of EVs will be lower than oil-burning cars.

The average price per gallon of gasoline is more than $2.50 nationally while it costs less than half that–$1.10 per “eGallon”–to charge an electric car, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Moreover, polling shows that EV tax credits are broadly popular with Americans, including Republicans. Strong majorities, including 71% of Republicans, say a $7,500 tax credit would increase their likelihood of going electric. And 44% of voters planning to replace their wheels in the next 5 years will consider going electric, but they need incentives to do so.

Meanwhile, research by MIT’s David Keith and Christopher Knittel notes that” that even if every U.S. vehicle sold were electric starting today, it would take until 2040 for 90% of vehicles in use to be electric.” This suggests that getting started as soon as possible with more effective EV tax credits that reach average consumers will be critical to decarbonizing US transportation.

New tax credits might also include a mechanism to allow those who lease, rather than buy, EVs to gain tax benefits. In addition, tax credits of some type ought to apply to fleet operators who buy electric vehicles to offer rides to consumers.

As EV become increasingly cheaper to operate per mile traveled, ride-hailing services will be among the first to switch, and can impact broader consumer markets.

As GM has suggested, Congress in infrastructure legislation ought to create incentives to deploy electric chargers in the places they make the most sense, and to lower the cost of charging stations by scaling them: “drivers who park on the street or who live in apartment buildings without charging don’t have an easy way to use a home charger.

Congress ought to create federal incentives to deploy charging stations in multi-unit buildings, in malls, at grocery stores, and so on. Congress should especially create incentives for employers to deploy charging stations for their employees at work.”

All of this should be discussed when the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing later this week on plans by the Trump Administration to rollback increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, even as the carmakers themselves sent a letter to President Trump asking for him to compromise with California and others states and find CAFÉ increases all can support.

And as the Economist has noted, “China’s plans for making cars…use industrial policy to overtake the West on the road to the future. Mark Wakefield of AlixPartners, a consulting firm, identifies a key component of this as a “strategy to dominate” electric vehicles.”

Trump’s trade war won’t work. And his opposition and those of some Republicans in Congress to thoughtful EV tax credits and fuel economy increases are only holding back U.S. industry while China and others pass us by. The U.S. needs a serious EV policy – of effective tax credits aimed at the middle class, and charging infrastructure build out, so that EVs can reach scale and benefit consumers and the nation more quickly.

And we need them soon, before it’s too late for America to compete.


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Tax Credits for Affordable Electric Vehicles Gain Speed, But Legislation Must Avoid Stop Signs

Will Indian Govt Give Bigger Tax Breaks On Electric Vehicles?

Existing GST levied on electric vehicles is 12%

A proposal to reduce GST on EVs is expected to be put forward in the upcoming GST council

Indian EV industry has recorded sale of 7.59 Lakh units in India in FY2019

Indian government might slash down the goods and services tax (GST) levied on the sale of electric vehicles in the upcoming 35th GST council on June 20.

It is reportedly being proposed to bring down GST on electric vehicles to 5% from the existing 12%, which is relatively less than 28% GST for traditional vehicles.

“There is a proposal to cut tax rates on EVs among other issues,” according to an ET report which cited government officials.

Electric vehicles have been the prime focus for Modi government, which has announced multiple electric vehicle focused policy over the past five years. After the initial announcement of lower GST rates for EVs in 2017, this further slashing down of taxes can be a push for the global manufacturers to enter the Indian market.

Also recently, government think-tank NITI Aayog had proposed that only electric vehicles should be sold in India by 2030. In a cabinet note, the think-tank had asked the road transport and highways ministry prepare a framework which will help cut out on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles.

Further, it also proposed piloting an ehighway programme with an overhead electric network to enable trucks and buses to ply on select national highways. The proposal also includes a plan to manufacture 50 gigawatt hour (Gwh) batteries by 2030.

EV Sales in India
The Indian electric vehicle industry recorded sale of 7.59 Lakh units in India in FY2019 as opposed to 56K (excluding three vehicles) in FY2018. This included the sale of 1.2 Lakh two-wheelers, 6.3 Lakh three-wheelers and 3,600 passenger vehicles

However, in April, right after the announcement of central government’s FAME II scheme, the sales of electric two-wheelers had gone down to near-zero. EV industry had attributed this slowdown to the lower availability of vehicles in the market due to the FAME II recertification rules of all existing EVs.

FAME II has mandated all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get their electric two-wheeler models certified by recognised testing agencies. Only after the recertification process, the vehicles were to be eligible for incentives under FAME II.



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Is The Govt Considering Bigger Tax Breaks On Electric Vehicles?

In Europe, Facts Don’t Win Over Theories When it Comes to Biofuel

Europe’s demonstrated preference for ideology over science explains why Europe is both the most vocal climate proponent on the world stage and also the most wasteful and ineffective one, Eric Sievers, director of investments at Ethanol Europe, told in an interview.

“That’s the danger of ideology, a situation in which folks who think they are fighting oil spend an entire decade spreading misinformation about the only actual market threat to oil and so preserving oil’s market share,” he said.

“In most societies, when facts collide with theories, facts win. Europe is different. It’s really scary that climate activists in Europe still argue against non-palm biofuels on the basis that what they heard in 2008 just felt right and so must be right,” Sievers added.

How can biofuel usage be increased under the Effort Sharing Regulation of the Clean Energy Package when RED II is designed to reduce biofuel consumption?

The Clean Energy Package rules were never thought through in Brussels. The unstated base assumption of legislators (and most NGOs) is and has always been that the transport sector is small and that the power sector is almost synonymous with energy in general. That could not be more wrong. The power sector accounts for less than half of EU energy.

So rules requiring Member States to heavily green the entire energy sector (which is what the Renewable Energy Directive does) or heavily decarbonise their non-EU ETS sectors (which is what the Effort Sharing Regulation does) cannot, in either case, plausibly sidestep the transport sector and still hope to deliver headline results in a cost-effective manner.

Indeed, the Energy Governance Regulation requires member states to make economically sound decisions, and member states that choose extremely expensive carbon mitigation solution may win applause from certain sectors, but when the costs come due, voters are certain to make it clear to governments that carbon budget accountability is no different than education budget accountability, military budget accountability or medical budget accountability.

Governments that waste money are bad governments; those that achieve goals cost-effectively are good governments. Conventional biofuels are, by an order of magnitude today, cheaper than electric vehicles or mythical advanced biofuels, and they are scalable now, whereas nothing else in the transport sector will be to 2030.

So, no matter what the RED says or what pie-in-the-sky fantasies persist among the talking heads in Brussels, conventional biofuels are the primary good governance choice for transport decarbonisation in the next decade.

Why should the EU member states consider increasing biofuel use to achieve the NECP targets?

Responsible member states should maximise biofuels use immediately because EU sourced conventional biofuels are proven, sustainable, inexpensive and scalable. This action should be complementary to consistent pushing for great gains in e-mobility, modal shift and advanced biofuels. In climate, carbon savings that only appear in 2030 are almost no help to the global climate, compared to savings that appear in 2020 and continue for the rest of the decade.

The consensus of the climate scientists is that what happens over the 10 years will be crucial to whether there is any hope of keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees.

Accordingly, any Member State policies that defer progress until late in the decade are deeply anti-climate, and any Member State policies that achieve 2030 targets early are climate champions.

In context, self-styled visionaries pushing ideal solutions or single solutions (like e-mobility) have become more part of the problem than part of the solution. Many are driven by ideology and not by physical, economic or technological realities.

At this point, climate action is really more about good management than ideology. Europe has a troubled history when it allows ideologues to invade governments, and there is simply no difference between ideology in the climate space and ideology in any other public issue.

According to you, what level of biofuel use the member states should include in their NECPs?

Finland and Sweden already have biofuel usage rates that are an order of magnitude above those in the rest of the EU and on par with Brazil. These examples make clear that basically all of the arguments about how difficult biofuels are simply cannot be true. Scaremongering about biofuels is remarkable just as much for its prevalence as for the simple fact that doomsday predictions have no empirical merit at all. The only black spot on biofuels is palm oil, and that is solved by banning palm. Banning palm is what opens the door to a sensible biofuels policy in Europe.

So today, the average biofuel inclusion rate in Europe is 5%. We know we can get to 10% without really changing anything. Sweden, Brazil and Finland show that 30% is also a 2020 solution and so hardly pushing the envelope for 2030 ambition. So we’d hope to see the several member states considering at least 20% by 2030 and all Member States getting to 10% as early as possible, hopefully no later than 2022.

After all, the simplest fact about biofuels is that they 1:1 displace oil. You can see directly how biofuels contribute to keeping oil in the ground.

What frameworks must governments put in place to ensure strict sustainability?

We already have a sustainability system in place, and within Europe, it works. The problem is that the RED was infected from day one with a policy approach that does not work: multiple counting. Introduced to spur innovation, it failed completely to do that, and instead, has resulted in massive and even expanding fraud in biofuel imports. While dozens of countries around the world are looking to first mover countries to design their own biofuels policies as a component of reaching their Paris Agreement goals, the RED’s multiple counting will never be adopted by anyone outside Europe. To the extent the current sustainability criteria can be improved, getting rid of multiple counting would do more than every other reform combined.

The goal of climate policy is not to solve the problem of high oil prices, but to reduce oil consumption. Oil is massively successful exactly because it has been inexpensive most of the time over the past 100 years. If biofuels were cheaper than oil, we wouldn’t need climate policy in the transport sector. One amazing fact about biofuels is that they are from time to time less expensive than their fossil counterparts, and over time the periods when they are less expensive are becoming more frequent, especially in countries like Brazil and the United States where biofuels policies have been strong, unlike Europe.

So the rational starting point for transport policy is not to find something cheaper than oil, but to embrace the most cost-effective alternatives to oil. A well designed 2030 policy will thus result in minimal cost to society and in the case of biofuels can offset greater costs in the transport sector with greater benefits in the industrial and agricultural sectors. Governments can also gain because there is no loss to the Exchequer or major infrastructure costs. Indeed, today in Europe the benefits biofuels bring to sustainable rural development are on par with their price premium over fossil fuels, meaning they really don’t cost society anything.

How do you explain the EU stance on the biofuels issue?

From 2008-2012 there was an onslaught of entirely imagined threats from biofuels: complicated models showing huge increases in crop prices from biofuels in 2020, a supposed six million hectares of African land that would be used to produce biofuels for Europe by the middle of this decade, a supposed lack of farmland and countless other non-empirical, but generally plausible potential outcomes. In retrospect, since biofuels were new in 2010, society can be forgiven for falling for theories and models that contradict basic agricultural economics and industrial realities.

I say in retrospect because it is now 2019, and 2020 is now not so much an imagined future reality. Actual 2020 has zero biofuels coming in from Africa rather than 10 billion litres. Actual 2020 has crop prices that are lower than in 2010 by a good deal, rather than higher. Actual 2020 will have millions of hectares of less farmland in Europe than was the case in 2010 since farmers have been abandoning farming.

All of these facts mean that in any sane world, the biofuels scaremongering theories of 2010 would be tossed out as not only wrong but so dead wrong that all that has happened is that we have documented just how great biofuels are in practice. And in most societies, when facts collide with theories, facts win. Europe is different. It’s really scary that climate activists in Europe still argue against non-palm biofuels on the basis that what they heard in 2008 just felt right and so must be right.

That’s the danger of ideology, a situation in which folks who think they are fighting oil spend an entire decade spreading misinformation about the only actual market threat to oil and so preserving oil’s market share.

Ideology and bad policy are historical bedfellows. Europe’s demonstrated preference for ideology over science explains why Europe is both the most vocal climate proponent on the world stage and also the most wasteful and ineffective one.


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In Europe, facts don’t win over theories

Norway Shifting Away From Palm Oil Biofuel

Norway saw drop in palm oil consumption following new regulations limiting sales in response to concerns about deforestation for plantations.

The decrease has been lauded by a Norwegian rainforest advocacy group, which called it a “big win for rainforests.” Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s two biggest palm oil producers, have warned of retaliation if a Europe-wide phase-out of the commodity from biofuels by 2030 goes ahead.

The consumption of palm oil-based biofuels fell 70 percent in Norway last year, following a government policy change on the purchase of the commodity that is being blamed for rampant deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In 2017, the Norwegian government issued the new policy in response to mounting concern that palm oil production is having a disastrous impact on forests in the countries in which it is produced.

By last month, it appeared to have had a significant impact, when the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) announced a 25 percent decline in the trade of biofuels from about 657 million liters (174 million gallons) in 2017, to 497 million liters (131 million gallons) traded in 2018.

“The decrease is primarily due to a sharp reduction in imports of palm oil from 317 million liters [84 million gallons] in 2017 to 93 million liters [25 million gallons] in 2018,” it said, or a drop of 70 percent.

Once lauded as a green alternative to traditional forms of fuel and food oils, palm oil has fallen out of favor with environmentalists, who decry that deforestation and destruction of peatlands have increased to make way for the plantations.

Oil palm plantations, though green to the eye, contribute to a larger carbon footprint than the forests they replace, as they can only store an average of about 40 tons of carbon per hectare compared to 400 tons for a hectare of forest.

In a statement, Nils Hermann Ranum, head of Rainforest Foundation Norway’s (RFN) drivers of deforestation program, celebrated the decrease in palm oil biofuel consumption, calling it “a big win for rainforests and the climate when we stop burning palm oil for fuel.”

“To combat climate change and stop the burning of the world’s rainforests, we need solutions that deliver. Consumption of biofuels based on palm oil and other high deforestation risk feedstocks adds fuel to the fire and must end,” he said, urging the EU “to follow suit.”

The Norwegian legislation was followed earlier this year by EU proposals to completely phase out the use of palm oil biofuel by 2030. That move drew the ire of the Indonesian and Malaysian governments, which said small, independent farmers would be the most hurt, and vowed to introduce retaliatory measures on European exports to their countries.

The EU phase-out plan does, however, make exceptions for palm oil produced on already unused land, and for smallholder farmers — but only those with fewer than 2 hectares (5 acres) of plantation land. Malaysia responded by insisting that farmers operating on 5 hectares (12 acres) should also be considered small-scale.

In April, Malaysian Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok spearheaded a “Love My Palm Oil” event in parliament, and was quoted by the Bernama news agency that the government would “definitely do something” if the EU proceeds with the phase-out.

Earlier this month, the Indonesian trade minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, was quoted as saying that his government would be willing to file a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization against the EU if imports of palm oil are banned.

But Ranum from the RFN insisted that the portrayal of the policy changes are being incorrectly perceived “as a ‘ban’ on palm oil,” when in fact they represent “a removal of incentives to use biofuels based on feedstocks with a high risk of indirect land-use change (deforestation) to comply with renewable energy mandates, on the basis that they fail to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Figures from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council show that there was a drop of nearly 4.5 percent in exports to Europe between January and April compared to the same period last year, which was attributed in part to new regulations on the acceptable levels of a contaminant that can be found in palm oil.

In Norway, an increase in the consumption of advanced, or second-generation biofuels — those made using waste products, animal feed or other residues — was seen as a positive step, according to the NEA.

“A total of 190 million liters [50 million gallons] of advanced [biofuel] (almost 40 per cent) were sold,” the NEA said. This was up from 138 million liters (36 million gallons) of advanced biofuel sold in 2017, or 21 percent of total biofuel sold, the NEA said.

About the reporter: Lauren Crothers is a photo editor at and a New York City-based freelance journalist with extensive reporting experience in Southeast Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @laurencro.


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Norway sees sharp drop in palm oil biofuel consumption after ban on government purchasing

New Study Shows Spike In Bay Area Electric Car Sales

Electric cars may be accelerating our path in the tech future as sales surge in the Bay Area, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

As first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, electric vehicles accounted for 13 percent of new passenger vehicle registrations in 2018 compared to 7 percent the year before. The Tesla Model 3, the company’s least expensive model, is partly the cause of the electric car upswing, reported the paper.

“Oh we love it! Yeah, it’s great,” said Tesla Model 3 owner Stephen Taylor. “We wanted to move to helping the world move to transition to electric vehicles.”

Taylor bought his Tesla eight months ago and said he will never go back to a gas-powered car again.

Prithiv Subramaniam, who bought his Tesla Model 3 just three months ago, said he plans to get rid of his gas-powered car.

“As a human, we have to save the environment,” he said.

Both Tesla owners believe electric cars are the wave of the future and that eventually gas-powered cars will be few and far between.

But could they right?

According to the Council, San Jose ranked the highest in the United States — at 21 percent — for electric vehicle registered owners.

The Council said the surge is also in part to the decrease in prices for electric vehicles, as well as the incentives for buying one, like the federal tax credit.

“I haven’t met an owner that doesn’t love their car,” Taylor said.


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New Study Shows Spike In Bay Area Electric Car Sales

Solero Removes Plastic Wrapper From Lollies to Cut Single-Use Plastic

Solero ice lollies will be sold without wrappers during a trial aimed at helping cut down on single-use plastic. Multipacks of Solero organic peach ice lollies will be sold in a recyclable cardboard box with compartments, eliminating the need for individual plastic wrappers.

The new box is made from a specially designed polyethylene-coated cardboard. It is similar to single-use coffee cups, but with a lower plastic content at five per cent it has been approved to be widely recycled in the UK.

The lollies will be sold through online supermarket Ocado to gauge customer response.

Noel Clarke, from Unilever, said: ‘As we head towards summer, we’ve listened to our customers and are working hard to rethink plastic packaging for our ice cream ranges.

‘If successful and the feedback from customers is positive, this innovative pack could reduce the amount of plastic we use in the future to package our ice creams.”

Helen Bird, strategic engagement manager at Wrap, which manages the UK Plastics Pact to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025, said: ‘We’re really impressed with the level of innovation and creativity that Unilever, a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact, has shown in developing this new pack. It will be welcomed by shoppers who we know want to be able to recycle the packaging they bring home from supermarkets. We look forward to seeing the results of the trial.’

Earlier this year Unilever launched its #GetPlasticWise campaign aiming to make all of its plastic packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to using more recycled plastic content in its packaging.

The new Solero packaging will be on sale from June 17.


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Solero to trial wrapper-less lollies in bid to cut single-use plastic

Sweden Must Double Biofuels Use To Meet Emissions Goal

The use of biofuels for Sweden’s cars and trucks will need to more than double and the use of electricity increase ten-fold if the country is to meet its goal of zero transport emissions by 2045, according to a new study.

This is how Sweden meets its climate goals for transport, a report from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, estimates that if the goal is to be met, the transport sector will require 25 TWh of electrical energy and as much as 40TWh of biofuels.

Currently Sweden uses about 19 TWh of biofuels and 2.6 TWh of electricity for domestic transport.

“It’s not enough to talk about charging stations in central Stockholm. We are also going to need large volumes of biofuel,” Karin Byman, who led the project, told The Local.

She said she was still convinced that a zero carbon transport sector was “technically possible”.

“But it is a big challenge because we need to change the way we look at transport. We need to have a more transport-effective society,” she said. “When we plan our cities we need to look at ‘where do you have the shops, where do you have the schools?’, so we don’t need to have so much traffic.”

Byman stressed that her argument that more energy would be needed from biofuels for transport than from electricity by 2045 did not mean electric cars would not dominate passenger transport.

“The electrical motor is so much more efficient than a normal engine, so it won’t require as much electricity as an amount as cars running on biofuel will require,” she explained.

By 2045 she expected most passenger cars to be electric, with biofuel used predominantly for planes, agricultural machinery, and a few of the oldest vehicles.

The increased reliance on biofuels will require new legislation to promote Swedish domestic production and cut out imports of biofuels produced unsustainably from palm oil and other sources.

“We need to look at existing regulation so we don’t just ask for more cars to use biofuels, we also need to en encourage more producers of biofuels to invest in new plants,” Byman said.

Sweden was capable of being self-sufficient in biofuels, she said. “We have such big forests and such a big country…There is a lot of waste from felling trees in the forests that they don’t care about today because the prices are too low.”


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Sweden ‘must double biofuels use’ to meet emissions goal: report

Malaysian Waste-to-Biodiesel Profits Up Due To Raising EU Demand

Amid the uproar over the European Union’s (EU) discriminatory move against palm oil, one player in the Malaysian palm oil downstream sector seems unperturbed and is in fact expecting better demand for its products this year from European clients

Gamalux Oils Sdn Bhd, which makes feedstock materials for biodiesel and animals, projects its export sales to top RM100 million this year, a growth of about 30 per cent from 2018. And Europe will be key to that growth. Established in October 2009, the export-oriented company has built a reputation in green technology, being a pioneer in solvent extraction technologies from renewable energy (palm oil base products).

Chief Executive Usman Ahmed said 80 per cent of its output was exported to European countries such as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Scandinavian region. The rest goes to South Korea and China.

“The company recorded RM80 million sales last year and is on track to achieve this year’s higher target based on the demand shown by its existing clients, particularly those in the European sector,” he told Bernama in an interview.

Gamalux’s products, which originate 100 per cent from waste vegetable oils, had become much sought-after in the sustainable market, Usman said.

According to him, the company is not affected by the EU’s call to ban palm oil, as it is not in the main stream of edible palm oil but more in the collection of wastes to value add.

“We basically use green technology to recycle all the wastes out there.

“With certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification and National Italian Scheme, to name a few, and with the new European sustainability policies, it has given us an advantage to gain more access to the market,” he explained.

The company’s two manufacturing plants are strategically located in Lahad Datu, the industrial capital of Sabah, one of the biggest crude palm oil producers among the states in Malaysia. This enables Gamalux to get sufficient materials from palm oil refineries and mills to produce its sustainable feedstock.

The plants, a solvent extraction plant and a specialised physical refinery, have a capacity of 400 tonnes per day (TPD) and 300 TPD, respectively.

Usman said with the current utilisation rate of 70 per cent, production can be further increased to meet the increasing demand.

He added that the company had also allocated RM16 million in capital expenditure this year for the physical refinery’s capacity expansion. – Bernama


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Gamalux to profit from sustainability policies of eu

Coca-Cola Issues Bold Recycled PET Strategy

As part of The Coca-Cola Company’s journey towards a World Without Waste, we’re announcing that – in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners – GLACÉAU Smartwater bottles will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of the year.

And we’re on track to double the amount of rPET used in all our other plastic bottles by early next year too.

GLACÉAU Smartwater is the the third largest on-the-go bottled water brand in Great Britain, and we will be moving the entire range in both 600ml and 850ml servings into plastic bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic.

This will save more than 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic per year.

At the same time, we’re continuing to work with local reprocessors to double the amount of recycled PET used in all of our plastic bottles, across our portfolio of drinks, to at least 50%.

These new packs will start to be introduced in early 2020 and makes Coca-Cola the largest user of recycled PET plastic in Great Britain.

Together, these initiatives will ensure that more than 23,000 tonnes of virgin plastic will no longer be used by the business in Great Britain in 2020.

But that’s not all we’re doing: Sprite has some big changes coming, too. From September 2019, plastic Sprite bottles will transition from green to clear, making them far easier to recycle into new bottles.

This will, in turn, increase the supply of rPET available, and stimulate the development of a circular economy.

Sprite bottles will also move to include 50% rPET next year, as part of the work to double the recycled content in bottles across all of our brands.

We’re pleased to see these steps welcomed by DEFRA. Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Congratulations to Coca-Cola on making this significant step to help our natural environment. These initiatives, including using more recycled plastic in their bottles, set a fine example to other large businesses and we hope that others follow suit.

“We all have a responsibility to our environment. Through our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy the government is committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle for a more circular economy.”

Marcus Gover, Chief Executive of WRAP, has also welcomed the news: “Coca-Cola was one of the founding members of The UK Plastics Pact and it’s great to see them announce developments which demonstrate progress towards the Pact’s targets.

A bottle made from recycled plastic uses 75% less energy, and changing colour from green to clear may be subtle to the public but enables that plastic to be used for a multitude of purposes and significantly increases its value.

“We’re also pleased to see design changes which give people extra nudges to do their bit to help drive up recycling. If we are to transform the way we use, make and dispose of plastic, then we all have a role to play.”

“Using more recycled plastic is a critical element of our sustainable packaging strategy,” says Coca-Cola Great Britain General Manager Jon Woods, “as it reduces the amount of virgin material used in our packs. None of this is easy and I am proud of the teams’ work to ensure we are on track to move to at least 50% recycled PET plastic on all of our bottles in 2020.

“Our new Smartwater bottle shows we can go further. But that requires more packaging to be collected so that more can be reused to make new bottles.

That’s why we support the planned reforms of the current recycling system in Great Britain and are calling for the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, which we believe will reduce litter and increase the quantity and quality of material reprocessed in this country.”

We have a strong track record of investing in recycled PET and began using recycled PET in our bottles in the 1990’s. Over the last decade we have supported the development of many recycling plants around the world, including the UK’s only bottle reprocessing plant in Lincolnshire, which we helped to build and has been providing the recycled material used in our bottles since it opened in 2012.

This support continues with significant recent investments in new enhanced recycling technologies which allow a wider range of waste plastics to be used to make new bottles.

The news is our latest action, marking two years since we launched our sustainable packaging strategy – in which we set out an ambition to work with others to ensure that all our packaging is recovered so that more can be recycled and none ends up as waste.


Smartwater, Rpet, And Clear Plastic: How Coca-cola Great Britain And Coca-cola European Partners Are Moving Closer To A World Without Waste

Are Waste-to-Energy Plants Bad Investments in the Philippines?

A proposal for a US$423 million facility is expected to be approved in one of the biggest cities in the country’s capital, despite a law banning incineration. Critics say city governments are at the losing end of this technology.

Waste burning in the Philippines is prohibited under the country’s Clean Air Act, but this has not stopped private companies from trying to construct waste incinerators that produce electricity.

Filipino infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investment Corporation’s proposal for a P22 billion (US$423 million) waste-to-energy plant is expected to be approved this month in Quezon City, the country’s most urbanised district.

The project is expected to convert up to 3,000 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste into electricity each day in a power plant with 36 megawatts of installed capacity.

Environmentalists say Quezon City, along with other cities in the Philippines, will only incur financial losses and debt if it makes use of incineration to curb its garbage problem. But sustainability experts argue that waste-to-energy plants could be the lesser evil in a country where waste-sorting laws have not addressed the urgent problems of waste management and large-scale plastic pollution.

City could bear losses if plant doesn’t meet revenue projections

Waste-to-energy plants will not generate their expected revenue in the Philippines due to an unclear mandate on renewable energy projects, revealed waste campaign group Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in response to a pre-feasibility study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a project in Quezon City.

Philippine law mandates a programme of paying investors of renewable electricity for 20 years through a feed-in tariff system, but GAIA argued that the legislation does not dictate a guaranteed price for investors as it uses an “auction system”.

“Under the auction system, the price will be decided based on the most competitive amount between industry bidders, instead of the government dictating a fixed tariff price,” the GAIA said in a study released in April. “Support under the feed-in tariff regime is also expected to decline significantly in the coming years due to the decreasing costs and increasing efficiencies of renewable energy projects.”

A feed-in tariff scheme offers long-term contracts to renewable energy producers, typically based on the cost of generating the energy.

GAIA added that ADB’s findings incorrectly assume that waste-to-energy incineration is considered renewable energy and would be eligible under the biomass category of the law: “The law clearly defines biomass resources as biodegradable organic material. Municipal solid waste is a mix of paper, plastics, and other discarded materials, which clearly does not fit the definition of biodegradable waste permissible under the law. This can pose as a hurdle to the facility’s eligibility for renewable energy feed-in tariff.”

The amount of electricity expected to be generated by the facility is also questionable given the high amounts of moisture and organic content of the city’s solid waste, the report said.

If the target revenue projections are not met, it could result in non-repayment of debts and the plant becoming a stranded asset, leaving the city to absorb all the losses instead of the company, it said.

Metro Pacific Investment Corporation plans to replicate the waste-to-energy project beyond Quezon City as local governments in the country struggle with the worsening waste management problem.

An archipelago of over 7,100 islands, the country has been identified as the third-worst ocean plastic polluter in the world after China and Indonesia, according to a 2015 study .

The government has tried to stem the tide of garbage through the landmark Solid Waste Management Act that aims to systematically organise and sustainably manage the collection and disposal of municipal solid waste in the country, including the closure of unsanitary open dumpsites.

According to GAIA, local municipalities have failed to comply with the law and are now scrambling for solutions to their waste problem as dumpsites are being shut down.

“Cities are under pressure to clean up their plastic waste. Local governments are being approached by incinerator companies to set up waste burning facilities, purportedly to solve the problem of waste generation,” the report stated.

Waste-to-energy projects in the Philippines include a P2.5 billion (US$48 million) plant set to start construction this year in Davao City, a P2.1 billion (US$40.5 million) project in the pipeline in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and a facility already operational in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.

A lesser evil?

The GAIA study reported that burning merely transforms waste into ash, slag and air and water pollutants, which are more toxic than the original waste.

However, an urban development consultant of the ADB argued that new technology has allowed incinerators to be more environmentally safe.

“The basis for banning incineration was the old technology used in existing incinerators in the Philippines which operate below 1,000°C. But modern incinerators are hotter and can eliminate toxic gases such as dioxins and furans,” said Aldrin Plaza in an article on the Asian Development Blog.

A sustainability specialist added that waste-to-energy plants might be a practical option as the country grapples with 35,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste generated daily.

“While waste minimisation and recycling are obviously the more sustainable management methods to pursue, tonnes of waste need to be dealt with and disposed of daily. There is urgency in finding the means to manage these wastes, and waste-to-energy could pose to be a practical lesser evil,” said Conchita Ragragio, country liaison for the Municipal Waste Recycling Programme in the Philippines, backed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ragragio added that cities should not just rely on waste-to-energy projects to curb their rubbish, but also educate communities on methods of waste minimisation, re-use and recycling.


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Are waste-to-energy plants bad investments in the Philippines?

Hellmann’s Commits to 100% Recyclable Plastic Food Packaging

Mayo brand company plans to spread the use of recycled plastic packaging to more than 200 million bottles and jars by 2020 with a goal of 100% recyclable, 100% PCR-content packaging.

Major food and beverage brands continue an industry-wide movement into sustainable packaging usually with specific targets and within overarching corporate-wide sustainability goals. One of the latest is Hellmann’s, a Unilever brand based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, that announced in April that by 2020, all mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressing plastic PET containers sold in U.S. retail stores would be made from recycled plastic materials as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to advance sustainable packaging.

The recycled plastic packaging is rolling out now, beginning with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mayonnaise Dressing squeeze bottles, to be followed by Hellmann’s jars by the end of 2019. More than 200 million Hellmann’s bottles and jars will be impacted, and the new containers will feature How2Recycle label and artwork that highlights the brand’s commitment to using recycled plastic.

“Switching to recycled plastic has a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of bottles sent to landfills and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” says Benjamin Crook, senior director, dressings & condiments, Unilever. “At Hellmann’s we strive for sustainability in all that we do, including helping customers make a responsible choice while still enjoying the products they love.”

This is the first step for Hellmann’s to move its portfolio of products toward fully recyclable bottles and jars that are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. The brand’s commitment is one way the brand is delivering on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company’s blueprint for sustainable growth. Specifically, Hellmann’s efforts will support the company’s goal of ensuring 100% of plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The entire lineup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressing jar and squeeze containers are made with recycled plastic: 15oz, 24oz, 30oz, 36oz, 48 oz and 64 oz. for jars; and 5.5oz, 11.5oz, 20oz, 25oz for squeezable plastic dispensers, Crook informs Packaging Digest.

Bottles, jars and caps

In addition to PET bottles, the company plans to use recycled content in its polypropylene caps.

“We are actively researching ways to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is recyclable and made from 100% recycled materials,” Crook explains. “As we work towards our goal, we are also developing technologies that improve the recyclability of our packaging. We have committed resources and people to get the job done as we do our part to meet Unilever’s goal of ensuring 100% plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”

As with some moves toward more sustainable resources for primary packaging, there are tradeoffs.

“As a result of the recycling process, our new packaging will have a slightly darker tint compared to the previous packaging, but it performs exactly the same as our standard packaging,” Crook discloses. “We’re excited that consumers can make a responsible choice while still enjoying the products they love.”

Notably, the retail pricing of the products will remain unaffected by the packaging changes.

The company has lined up vendor sources for the packaging that it declines to identify. “We work with a variety of partners to ensure we have enough high-quality recycled materials to meet demand,” Crook offers. “The recycled materials we use in our packaging are safe and cleared for food-contact use by the FDA.”

Crook will neither affirm or deny the company’s interest in bioplastics, saying “we are actively researching new plastic packaging innovations as we work towards ensuring 100% of plastic packaging is recyclable and made with 100% recycled materials.”

New label and Loop involvement

The new containers will also feature the How2Recycle label that clearly and graphically simplifies summarizes on-package recycling instructions for consumers (for more information, see How2Recycle label is growing—here’s who, why and how, published February 2019).

“Our Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mayonnaise Dressing jars and bottles will have new bottle wrapper artwork highlighting our commitment to using recycled plastic,” Crook explains. “These containers will state: ‘Bottle [or jar] made with 100% recycled plastic, because it’s the right thing to do.’ The front of all packsLoop reusable packaging shopping platform launches in the U.S. will also display one of the following messages: ‘100% recycled bottle’ or ‘100% recycled jar.’

Unilever is also developing reusable packaging innovations in an effort to reduce single-use plastics as part of TerraCycle’s Loop platform (for more information, see Loop reusable packaging shopping platform launches in the U.S., published June 2019). Premium skincare brand REN Clean Skincare, Hellmann’s, Love Beauty and Planet, Love Home and Planet and Seventh Generation will trial new reusable packaging made from aluminium and glass, according to the company.

“At Hellmann’s, we’re excited to be one of nine Unilever brands participating in the Loop program,” says Crook. “Loop is a win-win for consumers and businesses, and of course, for the planet. We are thrilled to be involved and to continue to encourage others to join the movement. We look forward to working with our partners to develop reusable packaging for the everyday products consumers love.”

The company will be measuring the recyclable plastic packaging program’s progress in the months ahead.

“Switching to recycled plastic has a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of bottles sent to landfills and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” Crook says. “We look forward to tracking the impact of our recycled plastic packaging especially as we look to implement even more changes to improve the recyclability of our packaging.”

hellmann recycled food packaging
hellmann recycled food packaging


  • Unilever is a Dutch company and a world leader in the food industry.
  • Unilever should have been a leader in sustainability: they’re Dutch … they’re first movers, take fast decisions, learn from their mistakes, go to the essential but they go for the cheapest option.
  • Sustainability doesn’t always go cheap. Resulting in the fact that Unilever are the backbenchers when it comes to sustainability.


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Hellmann’s commits to 100% recyclable plastic food packaging


18% Of All Renewable Energy Employment Worldwide Is From Hydropower

The sector employs 2.05 million people, directly, nearly three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance.

The Annual Review 2019 from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that hydropower has the largest installed capacity of all renewables, accounting for almost 50% of renewable energy in the world, but is now expanding slowly.

The sector employs 2.05 million people, directly, nearly three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance.

Construction and installation represent 23% of the total. Manufacturing is characterized by lower labor intensity and contributes 5%. Employment in the hydro sector has grown from 1.66 million in 2012.

By country, India accounts for 17% of the total employment, followed by China at 15%, Brazil at 10%, Vietnam at 6%, Pakistan at 5%, the European Union and Russian Federation at 4% each, and Iran and the U.S. at 3% each.

IRENA points out that previous editions of this report provided separate employment estimates for small and large hydropower. However, this edition combines both as “differentiating between them is difficult because of the scarcity of data and for lack of a universally agreed threshold.”

With regard to trade and supply chain dynamics, the report says that for hydropower, China represented a quarter of global exports, while European firms commanded a 46% share and the U.S. and India contributed just under 5% each.

The report also covers tide, wave and ocean energy, with 1 million jobs in 2018.

IRENA is an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future and promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bio-energy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy.


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18% Of All Renewable Energy Employment Worldwide Is From Hydropower

Porsche Thinks You Will Want Your Next Car to Be Electric

Look at the cars around you in traffic today and one commonality stands out. Virtually all have tailpipes, meaning internal combustion engines. That is about to change dramatically.

Tesla has made inroads, but now I believe we are approaching a turning point. In coming years we will see more widespread adoption as volume producers including General Motors, Nissan, and VW join with premium brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche to launch numerous battery-only models.

As more Americans experience the instant power and sporty handling that electric cars provide, more will want this new generation of electric vehicles.

Electronic vehicle (EV) sales in the U.S. last year totaled 361,307 — a fraction of more than 17 million new cars and light trucks but an increase of 81 percent year-on-year, according to industry figures. Where does the trend line go next?

Some researchers, including at the International Monetary Fund, predict EV adoption will follow the model of a century ago, when cars displaced horse carriages on American streets within 15 years.

Other experts see the U.S. remaining an island of internal combustion engines in a world gone electric.

Deloitte made headlines by predicting that consumer disinterest would cause a glut of 14 million unwanted EVs globally over the next decade.

Consumers will soon embrace EVs

It’s no surprise, then, that a common question I hear about the new EVs coming to the U.S. is, “Will anyone buy them?” I believe the answer is unequivocally yes.

Technology transitions are, by their nature, hard to forecast in advance. But with more than 20 years of automotive industry experience, I see clear market indicators that American consumers are about to embrace EVs as their daily drive.

First, Tesla has proven there is significant demand for cars that combine sustainability with performance and design. Last year, the Model 3 outsold any other premium sedan in the U.S. We know that American consumers embrace new technology, especially if it delivers a new experience.

And once a technology catches on, consumers respond well to expanded choice as competitors enter the field. Just look at how many models of SUV you can buy today, or the proliferation of smartphones since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.

Read more commentary:

Donald Trump is a big booster of fossil fuels, so why are their stocks slipping?

4 ways to fight climate change and also protect states that depend on fossil fuel jobs

Kasich: Forget the Green New Deal. We need climate solutions from free-market moderates.

Second, a national charging infrastructure is now taking shape. For several years there has been a chicken-or-egg conversation about which should come first: large-scale adoption of EVs or large-scale development of charging points. It turns out that both are happening.

Electrify America, with whom we are partnering, is already building hundreds of charging dispensers in cities and along highways from coast to coast by July 1, with more to follow. Other networks are also growing, including ChargePoint and EVgo.

And Shell recently acquired Greenlots, which provides hardware and software to operate charging stations, suggesting that oil companies see a future in adding energy for EVs to their fuel business.

Third, electric vehicles are cleaner than they have ever been. According to new data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, driving on electricity in the U.S. today is the equivalent, on average, of driving a conventional gasoline car that gets 80 MPG.

The nation’s electric grid is also getting cleaner, with reliance on coal declining by almost 20% over the past decade and renewable power like wind and solar increasing by about 10%.

Lastly, we are already seeing strong customer demand for the first all-electric Porsche, the Taycan, which will launch late this year. Since last August, we have been collecting preregistrations from customers through our dealers.

These are people who are serious enough to visit a local dealership and register, sometimes with a deposit. It’s not a binding sales contract, and the numbers are proprietary, but I can say this: We already have enough interest to account for all the Taycans we expect to deliver in the U.S. in the first year, through late 2020. That’s powerful, given that the final production model has yet to be unveiled.

And the market potential is so strong that we just announced we will switch our best-selling model, the Macan compact SUV, to all-electric in the next few years.

Expect EVs to become common on streets near you

Let’s be clear: We believe EVs will quickly become commonplace in the U.S. new car fleet, not that they will fully displace internal combustion engines.

Porsche is committed to a three-power train strategy for at least the next 10 years, meaning we’ll produce EVs and plug-in hybrids as well as internal combustion engines. I don’t believe these are mutually exclusive for many consumers.

For example, fewer than half of the customers who have registered for a Taycan in the U.S. are current Porsche drivers.

But of those who are, the biggest single group own 911s, our iconic sports car. The fact that someone can love the sound and feel of an exhilarating flat-six gas engine and also be attracted to the silent power of a performance EV says volumes about the capacity of the U.S. market for this new power train.

Frankly, EVs are fun to drive. That should mean something coming from someone like me who is immersed in the Porsche heritage of 70 years of gas-powered sports cars.

Electric motors provide instant torque for quick acceleration, and the lower center of gravity from battery packs will reinforce the sporty feeling.

So don’t be surprised when all of this truly catches on in the near future. Quickly and very quietly, electric vehicles will go from being an occasional sighting in your rear-view mirror to filling the lanes around you — to maybe even parking in your garage.

Klaus Zellmer president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America.


This artilce was published on

Porsche thinks you’ll want your next car to be electric

Colorado Auto Dealers are Peddling Misinformation about Electric Vehicles

At Plug In America, we represent the more than 1 million Americans who have switched to electric vehicles (EVs). We also train and support many auto dealers who recognize that more and more consumers want EVs because they are fun to drive, offer greater convenience and are cheaper to fuel and maintain.

This is why we were surprised and baffled by the recent opinion piece by Tim Jackson, CEO and president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. While we respect Jackson and his opinion, we question his arguments, many of which cite outdated, misleading and factually incorrect information about plug-in electric vehicles. Here we correct and update this information so that Colorado consumers can have the choice of vehicle they deserve and make more informed decisions about these vehicles that are widely recognized as the future of the automobile industry.

Jackson declares that the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) guidelines now under consideration by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission “would actually place a financial penalty of several thousand dollars or more on those who, for whatever reason, find that an electric vehicle doesn’t fit their needs.” This is false and misleading. Let’s be clear: under the proposed guidelines, there are no penalties for consumers who do not purchase electric vehicles.

Adoption of the ZEV guidelines increase consumer choice by giving Colorado residents greater access to the electric vehicles that they want. The guidelines do not take away access to vehicles without a plug and they have no impact on pricing of conventionally powered cars and trucks.

He also notes that the Tesla Model S runs in the $75,000–$96,000 range, seemingly to indicate that electric vehicles are too expensive for the average consumer. He fails to note that the Model S is outsold 10-to-1 by the Tesla Model 3, which starts at just $39,900 before incentives, of which there are many, that lower the price even more. Other popular plug-in models cost even less, including the Toyota Prius Prime, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, and Nissan LEAF.

Jackson then cites very limited data from five years ago to support his claim that EV incentives go mainly to the wealthy. There are presently more incentives available to all income levels. Most EV drivers, as many as 80 percent and particularly those who are low- to middle-income, lease their vehicles. In these cases, the federal EV tax credit is awarded to the lienholder and often passed along to the driver through reduced lease payments, making EVs more affordable for consumers. However, because these consumers do not receive the tax credit directly, they are not included in the study Jackson cites. Nor does this study consider Colorado’s tax credit of up to $5,000, which also makes EVs more affordable for families.

He also argues that “electric vehicles come up short” in regards to SUVs and pickups. While it’s true that there are not yet any electric pickups available, you can walk into a Colorado auto dealer and purchase the Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander, Audi e-tron and Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid SUVs today at a competitive price point from a total cost of ownership standpoint. Details on these and other electric vehicles can be found at Many more models, including pickups, are coming soon.

We agree wholeheartedly that “Colorado’s new car dealers are in the business of selling cars, no matter what technology they use.” Considering EV sales in Colorado increased by 70 percent in 2018 over 2017, we couldn’t disagree more with Jackson’s assessment of EVs, or his willful misuse of outdated and highly suspect facts to support his arguments. While we respect Jackson’s viewpoint, as a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization representing the voice of EV customers and the dealers that serve them, we are compelled to set the record straight.

Jackson should be excited that consumers are visiting Colorado’s auto dealers to purchase these new vehicles.


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Colorado Auto Dealers are peddling misinformation about electric vehicles

Lithium Mining for Green Electric Cars is Leaving a Stain on the Planet

In 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) made a prediction that had the potential to disrupt the auto industry: by 2030, there would be nearly 125 million electric vehicles owned by people around the world, they said. That was a significant increase compared to the 3.1 million electric vehicles globally owned in 2017.

“The uptake of electric vehicles is still largely driven by the policy environment,” the IEA said in the report. “The 10 leading countries in electric vehicle adoption all have a range of policies in place to promote the uptake of electric cars.”

Cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all carbon emissions in the United States, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Fossil-fuel vehicles emit an average of 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other hazardous gases for every gallon of gas consumed. On the surface, emission-free electric cars might seem a significant improvement.

Yet other regions of the world will suffer as humanity transitions to electric cars. Specifically, mining for lithium — the essential element for batteries used in many electric cars, as well as other portable electronics — is wreaking havoc on the world’s deserts.

Lithium is found in the brine of salt flats. In order to obtain lithium, holes are drilled into the flats to pump the brine to the surface. This allows lithium carbonate to be extracted through a chemical process.

Last week, Bloomberg published a report detailing how the boom in lithium mining is irreversibly destroying the local environment of northern Chile’s Atacama desert. Mining for lithium means means removing large amounts of water, which means depleting the water supply for locals.

According to the report, the Tilopozo meadow in Chile used to be a shelter for shepherds traveling at night, yet has become barren due to lack of grass or water. That puts a severe strain on local farmers.

“We’re fooling ourselves if we call this sustainable and green mining,” Cristina Dorador, a Chilean biologist, told Bloomberg. “The lithium fever should slow down because it’s directly damaging salt flats, the ecosystem and local communities.”

Cairn Energy Research Advisors estimates the lithium ion industry is expected to grow from 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of annual production in 2017 to 800 GWhs in 2027—not only as a result of electric cars, but also because lithium is used in batteries to power various electrical and electronic goods, including mobile phones.

Much of this will be mined from the South America’s Lithium Triangle, which spans across Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, an area that is said to hold more than half the world’s supply of the metal beneath its salt flats. Another major deposit comes from Australia.

One of the biggest environmental problems caused by our endless hunger for the latest and smartest devices is a growing mineral crisis, particularly those needed to make our batteries,” Christina Valimaki an analyst at Elsevier, told UK’s Wired.

One of the side effects of lithium mining is water pollution: the process of mining can affect local water supplies, potentially poisoning communities. Yet chemical leakage is also a major concern when it comes to lithium mining. The lithium carbonate extraction process harms the soil, and can cause air pollution. There are also concerns around how to recycle it. Eco-nonprofit Friends of the Earth notes that lithium recycling is fraught, as the metal is “toxic, highly reactive and flammable.”

“It tends to be incinerated or ends up in landfill due to very low collection rates and flawed waste legislation,” Friends of the Earth states in their lithium factsheet. “Low collection rates, the low and volatile market price of lithium, and the high cost of recycling relative to primary production have contributed to the absence of lithium recycling.” The organization recommends further social and environmental impact assessments should be made.

Yet does that mean that electric cars are equally destructive as fossil-fueled ones? Not necessarily. But the idea that electric cars, or anything with lithium batteries, is “green” might be a farce. And as demand rises, the hidden costs will become more apparent.


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Lithium mining for “green” electric cars is leaving a stain on the planet

Toyota Has Done a U-turn on Electric Vehicles

The man charting Subaru’s course in New Zealand is excited by the potential of an electric vehicle partnership announced with Toyota.

Subaru, Suzuki and potentially Mazda are the beneficiaries of a newly-unveiled plan that also ultimately also takes Toyota deep into the zero emissions EV-sphere – a space NZ’s largest car brand has so far ignored.

Everything’s now changed, with Japan’s dominant brand announcing that it will now create pure electrics not only for itself but also for other Japanese marques in which it has tech agreements.

Toyota has unveiled a new platform with enough flexibility to entertain what could be a very wide span of different kinds of vehicle – from small city cars to large sports utilities – using a “next step” solid state battery it also racing to get into production.

As a starter, it has agreed with Subaru to jointly develop an all-electric platform for midsize and large vehicles and jointly develop an electric crossover.

That vehicle, which will be sold separately under each brand, will debut in the early 2020s and, though the US is cited as a main target market, other countries where Subaru performs well might also stand a chance.

That leaves NZ in the box seat – Subaru ownership per head of population here is particularly strong.

Subaru NZ managing director Wal Dumper is excited by the potential for this. Even though his brand’s priority is to get hybrid versions of the XV and Forester into the market, he would nonetheless be highly interested in a full-blown EV bearing a Subaru badge.

“From my perspective, anything they do, I want – I want the technology,” he said in response to the future potential of, say, an all-electric Outback.

“I’ve never been scared of taking new technology and we’ve always tried to have our cars with as much specification as we can get.”

Toyota is also working with Suzuki and Daihatsu to jointly develop a compact EV.

It says its new platform will initially underpin six variations in all – a large SUV, a medium SUV, a medium crossover, a medium minivan, a medium sedan and the compact. Styling concepts of these proposals were presented at a forum on June 7.

Toyota NZ has declined to comment on what implications the EV programme has for its operation here – though it seems highly likely the operation would be keen to take at least some pure electrics.

The sector is growing yet it is largely been left in the cold. Requirement to make the cut as an EV in NZ is simple: external recharging functionality is a must-have.

This hurts TNZ. Even though it has battery-involved cars across the Toyota and Lexus line-ups that have a degree of regenerative capability, only one – Prius Prime PHEV – counts as an EV.

Accordingly, Government departments and companies looking to include EVs in their fleets would conceivably bypass Camry, Corolla and Prius hybrid cars and would also ignore the latest RAV4 in its hybrid format.

Subaru NZ expects to have its hybrid XV and Forester here early next year.

Mr Dumper, who by happenstance was in Japan last week during the announcements, says he has some questions about how many EVs the national infrastructure can ultimately cope with. But if Subaru is heading there, it could not have a better partner than Toyota.

“From my point of view, Toyota seems to be a really good partner; the model development seems to be exciting and when Subaru is struggling to make enough cars to meet demand, it makes sense.

“In saying that, I’m also really happy with the hybrid cars we will have in NZ next year. We have run customer clinics about hybrids and our customers are very accepting of what they will offer.”

He is still of the mind that hybrids make more sense in NZ than plug-in models. He also identifies that some people cannot distinguish the differences in technology and simply think that any kind of car using a battery for drivetrain assistance or economy and emissions benefit is “an electric.”

“There is so much confusion. Most people call an EV anything that is not running purely on petrol.”

Toyota Motor Corporation says its EV deployment plans will not slow down its hybrid imprint.

Yet TMC has also acknowledged a “sudden surge” of international EV popularisation – and the repercussion of increasingly stringent emissions requirements in China and Europe – has meant it has to reconsider its thinking, which until now has been that electrics are an unnecessary step between its petrol-electric hybrids and the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles it still sees as being the ultimate cars of the future.

Accordingly, it cites that of the 5.5 million battery-assisted vehicles it aims to build by 2025, almost one million could be pure EVs.

Shigeki Terashi, Toyota’s research and development chief, says TMC wants to unveil a solid-state battery for electrified vehicles ahead of next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo. A technology which promises lighter, more powerful and safer batteries, could be a breakthrough in popularising EVs.

It plans to start making EVs in China next year, the first being a very of the CH-R, on its way to releasing as least 10 BEVs (battery-powered models) worldwide by the early 2020s to immerse into an aim of having electrified versions of every model in the Toyota and Lexus lineups by 2025.

The new dedicated EV platform it has developed with partners is dubbed e-TNGA, a play on the company’s new-generation Toyota New Global Architecture modular platform used by Corolla, Camry and RAV4.


This article was published on an written by Richard Boselman

Toyota has done a U-turn on electric vehicles


BASF Becoming a Leader in Electric Car Battery Materials

A family on two continents, brought together in a 600 kilometer journey. See why we’re optimistic about the future of e-mobility.

By 2025, our innovations in electric car battery materials aim to double the driving range of midsize cars from 300 to 600 km on a single charge. Batteries will be halved in size and their lifespans will be extended. Best of all, drivers could expect to get a full charge in as little as 15 minutes – no longer than it takes to enjoy a quick cup of coffee. There could be as many as 5 to 10 million full battery cars being produced by 2025. BASF’s battery materials innovations will be in many of these electric cars.

Where will our battery materials take you?

Through chemistry our scientists are constantly developing and introducing sustainable solutions to address some of the planet’s biggest challenges. We believe the continous development of advanced emission control technologies and the increasing demand for electric powered cars will help reduce emissions and increase air quality on a global scale.

Fewer emissions will make our world a better place to live by reducing the impact of air pollution in inner cities and creating a positive effect on the health of the population.

Environmental driven regulations by European, Chinese and other governments around the world, will remain the primary driver for industry growth. We are confident that these regulations combined with our experience in creating unique proprietary solutions for cleaner air, will help address some of the climate change challenges society faces today.“ Jay Yang, Vice President of Battery Materials Asia Pacific, Shanghai, BASF (China) Company Ltd.

Our reportage features a real Chinese-American family. Grandfather Ker is a retired engineer and lives in Shanghai. His son Richard and granddaughter Torrey live in the US and will soon move from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Therefore, father Richard and grandfather Ker want to give a gift of optimism to concerned little Torrey. They decide to write an encouraging message across the city-scapes of LA and Shanghai, using nothing but their electric vehicles and GPS tracking technology.

The film follows both Richard’s and Ker’s car journeys as they travel across their respective cities. The combined distance of these two journeys is 600 km, which is the distance that a midclass e-car will be able to make on a single charge by 2025.

Using GPS technology, we map the cars’ journeys as they drive through the cities, ‘writing’ an optimistic message on the map as a gift from Ker and Richard to Torrey: “Keep being optimistic”.


Two e-cars – one global message.


Stora Enso will Convert the Oulu paper mill into a Packaging Board mill

Stora Enso has decided to invest approximately EUR 350 million to convert the Oulu paper mill in Finland into packaging production. The investment includes converting paper machine 7 into high-quality virgin-fibre-based kraftliner production, and the closure of paper machine 6 and sheeting plant. Production on the converted machine is estimated to start by the end of 2020.

“The conversion of Oulu Mill will enable Stora Enso to further improve its position in the growing packaging business and take a major step forward in its transformation. We have proven competence in running large conversion projects successfully, as we have already converted one paper machine at Varkaus Mill to produce kraftliner,” says Stora Enso’s CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström.

The typical end uses for kraftliner are in packaging segments that require high strength, quality and purity, such as food, fruit and vegetables as well as heavy duty packaging. Production will target global export markets.

“Economic growth, sustainability and food safety are key market drivers in the packaging business. This conversion will allow us to provide customers with an innovative kraftliner product with high-performance qualities in terms of strength, printability and food safety,” says Gilles van Nieuwenhuyzen, EVP, Stora Enso’s Packaging Solutions division.

To transform Stora Enso further from declining and low EBITDA business to growing higher profitability business, the Group will invest approximately EUR 350 million in the conversion during 2019–2022. This will increase the Group’s earlier estimated capital expenditure for 2019 from EUR 540–590 million to EUR 610–660 million.

The market dynamics of woodfree coated paper have deteriorated further, and therefore Stora Enso must accelerate its transformation by increasing capital expenditure from the earlier estimate.

Following the conversion, Oulu Mill’s EBITDA margin is expected to improve by 15–20 percentage points, once the kraftliner machine is running at full capacity approximately four years after start-up.

At full capacity, the investment is expected to meet the Packaging Solutions division’s profitability target, operational return on operating capital (ROOC) of 20%.

The investment will include a new world-class line for virgin-fibre based kraftliner (both brown and white-top) with an annual capacity of 450 000 tonnes, the modification of the pulp mill and drying machine for unbleached brown pulp, as well as investments to enhance the mill’s environmental performance.

The project will start with ground work in the summer of 2019, and about 200 contractors will work at the Oulu Mill site during the project.

The converted Oulu Mill will directly employ approximately 180 people. Wood consumption at the mill will increase by 0.5 million m3 to 2.4 million m3 annually. Wood will be purchased mainly from private forest owners in Northern Finland.

As an outcome of the co-determination process started on 25 March 2019, 365 people will be permanently laid off. The initial estimate on the maximum number of employee reductions was 400 people.

The redundancies will mainly take place by the end of year 2020, when Oulu Mill will cease to produce woodfree coated papers. Stora Enso will provide support to the people who will not continue working at the Oulu Mill after the conversion.

At maximum 20% of the redundancies can be managed through pension arrangements.

“We will be working closely together with other Stora Enso locations, the city of Oulu and other stakeholders to support in re-employment for those employees who will not have a position in the new organisation. Our support will include outplacement services as well as individual and group trainings for re-employment. We will also offer financial support for employees starting up their own companies,” says Kati ter Horst, EVP, Stora Enso’s Paper division.

Stora Enso will book a cost of EUR 31 million as an item affecting comparability (IAC) relating to layoffs, restructuring expenses, asset write-downs and impairment reversals, of which EUR 7 million will be recognised in the second quarter of 2019 and EUR 24 million in the following five quarters.

The restructuring related costs will have a cash impact of approximately EUR 19 million when paper production at the mill ends.

Oulu Mill’s current capacity is 1 080 000 tonnes of woodfree coated papers annually. Typical end-uses for woodfree coated papers are e.g. high-quality advertising and magazines.

Paper production is expected to continue until the end of September 2020.


Stora Enso will convert the Oulu paper mill into a packaging board mill

Neste’s Zero Island Project Cuts Emissions on Lidö by 78%

Sweden is aiming to become climate neutral by 2045. However, it has been estimated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that we may have as little as twelve years to tackle climate change. To examine what it takes to reduce CO2 emissions as fast as possible, Neste and its partners set to turn the island of Lidö in the Swedish archipelago into a climate neutral Zero Island in just twelve months. As a result of the project, the island’s emissions were brought down by an impressive 78 percent from their previous levels.

“Sweden’s climate plans are ambitious, but the clock is ticking. In the fight against climate change, we need all possible means. This includes new partnerships and the will to work towards a shared vision of decreasing emissions and developing sustainability. The Zero Island project proves that if we work together as institutions, companies and individuals, we can change the world a lot quicker than we think.” says Carl Nyberg, Neste’s Executive Vice President in Renewable Road Transportation.

The making of Zero Island

Turning Lidö into a climate neutral Zero Island was a team effort. Neste tapped into the expertise of cleantech and sustainability specialists from Solved and Aktea and worked closely with Skärgårdsstiftelsen to make sure none of the natural values were compromised. The solutions chosen for the island included using Neste MY Renewable Diesel in vehicles as well as in Räfsnäs Sjöstranport ferry traffic to the island, and Fortum’s solar power solutions. Several solutions helped improve energy efficiency and reduce waste, and recycling was given extra thought. The island also switched to using fossil free green electricity.

Overall, a combination of the different solutions and a switch to green electricity brought the island’s annual carbon dioxide emissions down from 180 tonnes CO2e to 40 tonnes CO2e. The residual emissions are compensated through a Gold Standard verified emission reduction program.

“Zero Island inspires us to rethink the way we are used to travelling and tangibly demonstrates how emissions can be reduced in several areas,” says Ossian Matthiesen from Klimatanalytiker Tricorona, an environmental consultancy behind the project’s emission calculations.

Accommodation and food are aspects many of Zero Island’s visitors are interested in. Nolla – the Zero Cabin, an Airbnb favorite, will let visitors experience climate neutral living and the sustainable Zero Menu will give visitors a taste of local ingredients and star chef Jonas Svensson’s ingenuity, for just a quarter of the average carbon footprint of an equivalent meal.

“With Zero Island we want to make sure our children will be able to enjoy the archipelago as we have, but we also want to show people that making responsible choices doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your holiday experience, but that simplicity and purity can actually make the experience stronger.” Olle Tejle and Hugo Olofsson, the entrepreneurs running Lidö explain.

What will the future of Zero Island hold?

The project doesn’t end with the island becoming climate neutral, as a sustainable future also requires changes in our everyday lives and in our mindset. Zero Island will continue to educate people about climate neutral solutions and make it easier for people to make sustainable choices. The island will host Zero Vacations, where everything from accommodation to food is designed to produce as little emissions as possible, and the Zero Menu will be available to thousands of visitors every year. Next summer will also see the Island’s first climate neutral Zero Weddings.

A part of Journey to Zero initiative

By building a cleaner future for the island of Lidö, Neste wants to encourage everyone to make their own contribution for a better tomorrow. Journey to Zero is Neste’s the ultimate quest for a better future. Together with our partners, we want to explore and exercise solutions that drive the world towards a fossil free future. Follow our journey at:


Neste’s Zero Island project cuts emissions on Lidö by 78%

Petcore Europe Working Groups Improving Pet Tray Circularity

The first semester of 2019 has been a busy one for the PET industry. Next to the Petcore Europe Conference 2019 in February and policy events in the European Parliament, Petcore Europe has also been looking for solutions in its PET Thermoforms Recycling and ODR (Opaque and difficult to recycle PET) Recycling Working Groups. With successful meetings (participation of 45+ companies in each working group) the stage is now set to continue working on circular PET.

On 30 April, Petcore Europe welcomed more than 45 people to a new PET Thermoforms Recycling Working Group meeting focusing on tray to tray recycling trials, mono-material barrier films, de-lamination technologies, digital watermarks and design for recycling. One of the discussed trials was lead by Klöckner Pentaplast with involvement of Valorplast (sorting) and Wellmann International (washing trials). The case study showed that rPET flake from food trays can be extruded into new PET rigid film, which can then be thermoformed back into pots, tubs or trays enabling tray to try recycling.

In order to improve the outcome of the working group and align the PET tray industry, three chairs from industry leaders are now in charge of developing the strategy for PET thermoforms recycling. Ana Fernandez from Klöckner Pentaplast, Paolo Glerean from Aliplast and Nicolas Lorenz from Paccor are leading the group towards a circular economy. For the second half of the year, the objective is clear. Further bigger trials are needed – the attractiveness of recycling PET trays has to be always confirmed and improved – Petcore Europe therefore calls for all converters to support this activity and invest in common trials.

Also Petcore Europe’s ODR Working Group has been active. On 28 May, the task force leaders presented the ongoing work to more than 40 participants during a webinar focusing on sleeves and labels, improved collection and sorting including the HolyGrail project, eco-modulation (green dot fees) in different EU countries and many more. In addition, Fabrizio Di Gregorio from Plastics Recyclers Europe presented the Recyclass platform, its three pillars: the test protocol development, Design for Recycling and the Recyclass tool. The focus for the rest of the year will be on improved design for recycling, digital watermarks, perforated sleeves and end applications for recycled ODR material.


Petcore Europe Working Groups Improving Pet Tray Circularity

Bio-Based Diesel Fuels like Neste MY Renewable Diesel Deliver Largest Carbon Emission Reductions for California Transportation Sector

HOUSTON (May 30, 2019) – According to new data gathered by the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard program, bio-based diesel fuels like Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ deliver the state’s biggest reduction in carbon emissions for the transportation sector.

In 2018, the use of these bio-based fuels reduced 4.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in California. This amount surpassed the reduction from ethanol for the first time since the program started in 2011. In that time renewable diesel and biodiesel have reduced CO2 emissions by over 18 million tons.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon fuel produced from 100% renewable and sustainable raw materials, primarily wastes and residues. The fuel cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%* and reduces local engine-out emissions, all while enhancing fleet performance. Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a drop-in alternative to fossil diesel. It is fully compatible with current fuel distribution infrastructures and suitable for all diesel engines.

“This study from CARB is a welcome confirmation: renewable diesel can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make an immediate contribution to the reduction of California’s carbon footprint all while using existing infrastructure and without further investments,” said Jeremy Baines, Vice President of Sales, Neste US Inc.

“Transportation is currently the leading cause of carbon emissions in the US, and as such is a conspicuous starting point for change. As this study demonstrates, diesel operators can reduce their lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions already today, simply by switching to renewable diesel. At Neste, we believe strongly in renewables, and we have made significant investments to increase our renewable products production capacity by 2022.”

Neste is the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel refined from waste and residues, and the largest supplier of renewable diesel to the state of California.



Genomatica Acquires REG Life Sciences’ Assets

Genomatica, a technology leader for bio-based chemicals, announced it has acquired certain assets of the REG Life Sciences division (REG LS) of Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: REGI), the largest supplier of advanced biofuels in North America. Genomatica intends to use these assets to develop a wider range of sustainable chemicals which in turn are used to make numerous everyday materials and products.

The asset acquisition provides Genomatica with its third major product platform, allowing it to expand into household and industrial cleaning products, and flavors and fragrances, further growing its ingredients for the apparel, packaging and personal care markets. Genomatica will also work with ExxonMobil to progress the research program for advanced biofuels from biomass started at REG LS, along with Clariant, which recently joined the collaboration.

Genomatica’s acquisition is designed to create more technology solutions to help brands and their suppliers meet increasingconsumer demand for sustainable products by incorporating renewable or bio-based chemicals into their product offerings.

According to a recent Nielsen survey, 81% of global consumers say it’s extremely or very important for companies to implement programs to improve the environment, while 73% said they would either definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. Ninety percent of millennials will pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients.

“Consumer demand for sustainable products continues to grow, and successful companies will increasingly switch to ingredients that reduce harm to the environment and work with partners with shared values,” said Christophe Schilling, Genomatica’s CEO. “This acquisition adds powerful technology and talent to help Genomatica enhance the sustainability of everyday products.”

Multiple new products enabled by acquisition

The acquisition enhances Genomatica’s ability to make “long-chain” chemicals from renewable feedstocks. These chemicals are widely used to make products such as surfactants, cosmetics, solvents, polymers, fuels and food ingredients.

They range from eight to 18 carbon atoms in length and may contain multiple functional groups, resulting in long-chain alcohols, esters, acids, ketones, aldehydes, alkanes, amines, amides and branched products. Today, these chemicals are broadly referred to as oleochemicals as they are typically derived from palm oil, vegetable oils, or animal fats, or synthetically from fossil feedstocks such as petroleum.

Genomatica’s approach of making them via fermentation from natural, plant-based sugars or biomass-based feedstocks is more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and provides new functional (performance) attributes.

The selected assets include technology for making drop-in long-chain chemicals and various novel and proprietary products being researched and/or under development. Genomatica is adding over 550 active patents and applications to bring its portfolio to over 1,500 offerings.

The core group of REG LS team members will join Genomatica at its San Diego Innovation Center to continue driving the platform and contributing to broader innovation efforts at Genomatica.

“Genomatica’s strengths will help us realize our journey by scaling sustainable chemicalsfor mainstream applications,” said Fernando Sanchez-Riera, formerly the vice president, R&D, REG LS, and who has now joined Genomatica to lead the continued development of the long-chain platform. “Between the terrific people, culture and energy, we see a common vision and a natural fit.”

The long-chain platform adds to Genomatica’s existing “C4” platform, which has already delivered commercial products for bio-based 1,4-butanediol (used for biodegradable plastics and apparel) and for butylene glycol (cosmetics and personal care), and to its “C6” platform, with numerous chemicals under development including bio-based caprolactam (to make 100% renewable nylon, for apparel and carpet).

About Genomatica

Genomatica is a widely-recognized leader in bioengineering and aims to lead a transition to more sustainable materials. It develops bio-based process technologies that enable a better way to produce widely used chemicals, from alternative feedstocks, with better economics, sustainability and performance.

Genomatica has commercialized processes for the chemical butanediol (for biodegradable plastics and apparel) and for butylene glycol (cosmetics and personal care), and is working on bio-nylon. Awards include the Kirkpatrick Award, for “the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized in the world” and the ICIS Innovation Award for its Brontide™ butylene glycol. To learn more, visit

ANA Signs Offtake Agreement for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Deal will help ANA reach its sustainable development goals by significantly decreasing the ecological impact of each flight.

All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest and 5-Star airline for seven consecutive years, has signed an offtake agreement with LanzaTech, Inc.Opens in a new window that will allow the company to purchase sustainable aviation fuel, a significant step in ANA’s efforts to minimize its environmental impact and meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This is not the first time that ANA has utilized sustainable aviation fuelOpens in a new window, and the current agreement targets 2021 for the delivery of the sustainable aviation fuel making ANA a leader in putting its green principles into practiceOpens in a new window.

“ANA has always been guided by our values, and our decision to transition to sustainable aviation fuel reflects how seriously we take our commitment to the environment,” said Akihiko Miura, Executive Vice President of ANA.

“Adopting this advanced fuel will allow us to reduce CO2 emissions and meet the ambitious sustainable development goals that we have set for the airline. At ANA, we seek innovative solutions to the most pressing problems, and we will continue looking for ways to reduce our ecological impact in order to create a better world.”

LanzaTech is using their advanced microorganism-powered gas fermentation technology to create ethanol and commercializing technology developed in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL) that allows for the production of sustainable aviation fuel.

ANA signed a partnership agreement with Mitsui & Co., Ltd., which strategically invested in LanzaTech, in 2018, to jointly develop a sustainable aviation fuel manufacturing business that utilizes LanzaTech’s innovative catalytic technology.

Working with Mitsui & Co., Ltd, ANA plans to implement these exciting breakthroughs by testing LanzaTech’s sustainable aviation fuel made from industrial waste emissions on our new delivery flight this fall.

As ANA increases its global presence, the airline is working to ensure that it maintains its reputation for global leadership on issues of sustainability.

This led the airline to conduct a comprehensive search for the most efficient sustainable aviation fuel, selecting LanzaTech’s unique product for its flexibility and high energy density.

The sustainable aviation fuel developed by LanzaTech does not contain any sulfur and as per current international standards for all sustainable aviation fuel used in commercial flights will be blended with at least 50% conventional jet fuel, easing the transition to full sustainability.

With sustainability emerging as a crucial question for all modern businesses, ANA remains committed to upholding its values and preserving our shared home. ANA has always aimed to challenge the norms and raise the bar in the airline industry, striving to set the standard for service, comfort and sustainability.

By working with LanzaTech to implement sustainable aviation fuel, ANA hopes to enhance the quality of fuel used in its aircraft while also meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its efforts to become the most eco-friendly airline group in the world.