Friday, September 30, 2022

Iberia partners with Cepsa for hydrogen-powered flight

The Iberia Group and Spanish oil and gas group Cepsa have signed a strategic alliance to work on the reduction of carbon for Iberia Group’s air transport activities.

The two Spanish companies are aiming to develop and produce sustainable aviation biofuels (SAF) on a large scale from waste, recycled used oils, and other sustainable plant-based feedstocks. Cepsa will become a ‘strategic supplier to Iberia’, offering preferential access to SAF for both Iberia and Iberia Express.

The Iberia Group is focusing its environmental strategy on three areas:

– More efficient operations including fleet renewal plans, reducing fuel consumption, and using electric ground vehicles,

-A more sustainable travel experience for customers through the digitalisation of services, the progressive elimination of plastics on-board, improving waste management, and carbon footprint offsetting; and

– Research and development of SAF

As part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), Iberia and Iberia Express have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and to operating a minimum of 10 per cent of their flights with sustainably sourced fuels by 2030.

The agreement will see further research and development on SAF from Cepsa, which has been producing biofuels for over ten years, as well as renewable hydrogen and electricity for the Iberia Group’s fleet of airport ground vehicles.

The companies say that the agreement is in line with the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate package. The ’55’ refers to to the EU’s target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030. The package includes measures such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), carbon border adjustment mechanism and energy taxation.

Part of ‘Fit for 55’ is a legislative initiative called ‘RefuelEU Aviation‘ that aims to boost the supply and demand of aviation biofuels in the European Union to 2 per cent use by 2025, 5 per cent by 2030, and 63 per cent by 2050.

The new project will also contribute to several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, namely No 7 (to ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services),  No 8 (promote inclusive and sustained economic growth, employment and decent jobs) and No 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).

Maarten Wetselaar, CEO of Cepsa reorganised the company’s structure by creating two new energy customer-facing business areas: “Mobility and New Commerce” and “Commercial & Clean Energies”.  The Mobility and New Commerce division will “build leadership in electric mobility and developing digitally enabled New Commerce solutions that leverage its network of customers and stations”.  The Commercial and Clean Energies division meanwhile “will serve B2B business management in segments such as industry, agriculture, aviation, lubricants, asphalt, gas, and electricity and develop decarbonisation solutions for its customers by building biofuels, hydrogen, and renewables (solar and wind) businesses value chains.”

“This alliance illustrates our commitment to sustainability and our strong resolve to support our customers by providing them with viable solutions that accelerate their energy transition,” said Wetselaar.

“To decarbonise the aviation sector, the development, production, and distribution of sustainably sourced fuels at affordable prices and in sufficient quantity to supply airlines is essential. We are confident that this agreement with Cepsa will contribute to that goal,” said Javier Sanchez-Prieto, Iberia’s Chairman and CEO.

Carlos Gómez, CEO of Iberia Express, said “it is time to create synergies between companies that have the same objective: developing our business and operations while minimising our environmental impact. This agreement is an important step on our path towards more sustainable air transport, in line with our joint commitment to the decarbonisation of the sector.”

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