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BLOG: How Air bp’s operations became carbon neutral


Aviation provides huge benefits to society, but the industry has recognised the importance of reducing carbon emissions and together have agreed a number of low carbon goals, writes Gigi Yuen, Air bp’s global carbon neutral leader.

These include carbon neutral growth from 2020, and halving total carbon emissions by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. There is no single solution – a range of approaches to reduce, replace and offset are required.

As an industry leader in sustainable aviation, Air bp’s focus has been on three things – the supply of sustainable aviation fuel, carbon neutral fuelling operations and carbon offsetting for our customers.

When it comes to our operations, we have been actively investing to reduce our own carbon footprint for over a decade. Indeed, in 2016 we became the first aviation fuel provider to become carbon neutral globally across our 250 operated sites and achieved independent PAS 2060 certification.

Now we’ve got a 10-year carbon reduction plan to be even better.

The emphasis of the Air bp carbon neutral operations programme right from the start has always been to first establish a reduction plan for our operations. Only after this do we offset emissions that remain. This has been the basis of the carbon management framework since 2014.

The initial challenge we faced was coming up with the methodology and framework to quantify our carbon footprint. Every location is different. We needed to consider the different geographies and understand our overall footprint.

The second challenge was to look at how we could reduce our direct and indirect emissions to achieve more energy efficiency in our operations. No two locations are the same so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ model that can be applied.

Working closely with our operations team and airports was – and still is – vital in developing innovative solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.

From fuel efficient vehicles to innovative technologies, here are some of the key initiatives we’ve used to achieve carbon neutrality across our global network of Air bp operated locations:

Taking trucks off the road.  Reducing the number of journeys made by trucks brings down emissions. For example, by upgrading fuel infrastructure at Air bp’s Dolvik terminal to enable delivery of Jet A-1 via pipeline to Norway’s second largest airport at Bergen, it has resulted in a more efficient, lower carbon fuel supply for customers. This change is saving 300 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Electric powered vehicles have been in use in Air bp operations for more than 10 years. They offer zero emissions at airport level and the lead-acid batteries can be recycled at the end of the battery life. The first electric dispensers were built in Australia (in operation at both Darwin and Brisbane airports) and we continue to look for opportunities to expand further.

Air bp is implementing vehicle start/stop technology into our global fleet of refuelling vehicles which allows automatic switching off of the vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion. Trials of this technology at several locations have shown a reduction in diesel consumption of up to 35%.

Our magnetic filter (Magna-Strain) strips out magnetic materials like rust particles within pipelines, helping slow the build-up on existing filters. The removal of the rust particles helps the pumps downstream to operate more efficiently with a reduction in maintenance and replacement, and ultimately a reduction in carbon emissions. In addition, the life of filter elements in traditional filters is extended and hazardous waste reduced.

The final step, once we have looked at reducing our direct and indirect emissions, is to offset the remaining emissions. This carbon offsetting is supported by bp Target Neutral, which specialises in helping businesses to reduce, replace and neutralise their carbon emissions.

Carbon credits are purchased from high quality carbon reduction projects around the world such as forest protection and planting in Zambia and bio-digester installations in China and India, which replace inefficient open fires with renewable biogas. These reductions balance out the remaining carbon emitted from our operations so the net impact on the climate is neutral.

Offsetting projects are selected based on their contribution to reducing carbon emissions and their potential to support the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Offset projects often provide new employment and training and can improve health and gender equality. The reductions in carbon emissions are real, unique, permanent and importantly, would not have happened without access to carbon finance.

Every year we are audited to provide independent assurance that our global carbon neutrality declaration is valid. In addition, our refuelling services at all our operated Australian locations are certified carbon neutral by Australian National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). 

Call for collaboration
Climate change is a global concern, and tackling it requires long-term collaboration from all sectors of society.

We are using the experiences gained in achieving carbon neutrality to support our customers in reducing their carbon footprint in many aspects of their operations: refuelling operations, waste reduction, new vehicle technology and improving infrastructure.

Looking ahead, we’re keen to work with airline operators and manufacturers to gain a better understanding of how electrification of aircraft could affect airport infrastructure and ground handling services.

Governments and industry associations globally are making commitments to a more sustainable aviation future. It’s clear that collaboration will be key to how successful we are as an industry in achieving these goals.

So, while Air bp is playing a part in leading the way to a more sustainable future, we’re doing so alongside other partners and stakeholders with a shared vision.

Integral to the role we play is our ability to really listen to what customers need and want, and to try to ensure we deliver that in the most sustainable way possible.

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