Boeing is on track to reach its environmental targets by 2012 even though some improvements have been modest over the first few years of its environmental initiative, says Mary Armstrong, Boeing’s vice president of the corporate environment, health and safety team, reports HeraldNet.
Boeing’s goals include reducing hazardous waste generation, carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption and energy use 25 percent by 2012. It also includes recycling 25 percent more waste.
Boeing implemented its companywide strategy for environmental performance in 2007, which was followed by performance goals set in 2009. From 2007 to 2009, Boeing only has cut its energy use by 2.4 percent and reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated by 9.5 percent.
Boeing says it will only implement programs that make good business sense. As examples cited in the article, Boeing’s recycling efforts in 2006 resulted in $60 million in savings, and a program to reduce packaging materials from suppliers at Boeing’s Everett site saved $4 million last year.
Boeing also is committed to deliver at least a 15 percent improvement in fuel and CO2 efficiency with each new generation of commercial airplane. As an example, the next-generation 737 is expected to offer an improved fuel efficiency of 2 percent, while a retrofit winglet package for the 767s in service will improve fuel efficiency by about 5.5 percent.
Boeing, together with airline carriers, also has been testing new biofuels to increase fuel efficiency.
To promote the development of sustainable biofuels, Boeing is a founding member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial aviation. The aviation industry also is working on fuel conservation measures.
Darrin Morgan, who directs Boeing’s biofuels strategy, said in a related HeraldNet article, that the availability of petroleum-based fuel and pricing is also jumpstarting biofuels research, together with the concern about climate change.
Morgan also said that biofuels are about 80 percent cleaner than petroleum-based jet fuels in terms of carbon emissions, but the challenge is finding affordable and available sources.
The industry already has tested second-generation biofuel sources including algae, camelina, and jatropha, which don’t compete with the food supply like many first generation biofuels such as corn, reports HeraldNet.
Morgan also noted that the industry is looking at biofuels derived from halophytes, a saltwater plant.
The industry expects to earn regulatory authority to use biofuels in commercial flights by 2011.