Policy Watch: National Green Aviation Policy



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Aviation sector of India is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. However, like other industrial sectors, aviation also suffers from environmental challenges. In order to overcome these challenges, the government has put up a white paper on National Green Aviation Policy for public comments. In this segment of ‘Policy Watch’, we will analyse how we can go towards materializing this policy. Other related issues of discussion will be sustainable growth of the civil aviation sector, environmental & ecological protection, green infrastructure programme, maximizing usage of solar power in aviation sector & making bio jet fuels commercially viable.
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hello know why you are welcome to the brand-new edition of policy watch I'm pretty Misha in today's episode we'll take a closer look at the national green aviation policy the government has put up a white paper on this policy for public comments this white paper sets out a strategic framework to address the major environmental challenges of the aviation industry it comprehends the key environmental issues and emphasizes the government's approach diverts environment protection the Civil Aviation ministry will create a simplified regulatory regime to speed up clearances for airport development and other aviation projects while taking due care of environment sustainability green aviation is the pursuit of reduction in noise greenhouse gas emissions and field usage and to know more about the topic I'm joined by dr. Uncle patia if you should expert and also by mister are rush me Distinguished Fellow cherry dr. Bardia let me come to you first aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emission and accounting for nearly two percent of emissions talking about India specifically India is expected to be the third largest a passenger market very soon looking at this jobless clothes how important is the screen aviation policy for our country I think it is very very important specifically for the fact that the industry is in its nascent stage in India and it's getting developed there is a requirement for various new airports to come in there is a requirement of new planes to come in but the good part about it is that whatever greenfield development is happening right now it's happening now and with the strong focus of NGT and other green norms the for the development is being done keeping in mind the environmental impact the other good part about is that the new plane obviously because the newer and a growing economy will have to have new planes and all the new planes which are coming in are definitely much more fuel-efficient and noise company with the global norms related to clean green aviation I'd also like to add that the focus now with the major airports being in the center of cities specifically where Delhi and Bombay I think these two cities will have to will have this challenge in the future because there are a lot of NGOs and all who are actually already pegging the fact that they should be a night curfew they should be a different pattern for the planes to leave and arrive from the airport I think this is something which will get ironed we must keep in mind that the the global you developed airports specifically let example of he throw and other City airports does to have night curfews which is not prevalent right now in majority of the Indian airports so I think this is something which when policy is actually put in will be you know unfolded in the future absolutely so this policy is expected to address the environmental challenges in the aviation ecosystem and joining me on the debate is also mister Senate co-chairman international foundation for aviation development welcome Klotz Abbate visa sir we were talking about the challenges the environmental challenges are in the aviation industry and also here I'd like to point out that I kow has already said that the aviation industry should be ready for consequences of climate change now looking at that how important is it for us to have a policy and also use policy tools and clean technology to ensure that our carbon emissions are reduced actually this should be taken for aviation the the issue of environment should be taken at two levels one is at the ground level and one is at the atmospheric level where upper atmosphere and stratosphere comes in at the ground level the emissions are also again in two lots one is the gases which are explained by aircrafts and others the noise so noise is one aspect where night curfews are there in many western countries and perhaps they also lead to destruction of traffic because certain airports are closed at night but the other side is and of course over time the engine noise has come down tremenda the engine manufacturers have made sure that the noise comes down so that's one very good thing all right there seems to be some disturbance there I'll come to you mr. rush me I kow has pointed out of severe consequences of climate change but how important is this policy for India to meet its intended nationally determined contributions or IND C's as we call it right in fact the significance of this policy the first draft which has come out has to be understood in the context of the measures taken by ICAO you know the India has volunteered to become a part of the second phase of the course here scheme as it's called the carbon offset reduction scheme for this international civil aviation so we have undertaken a binding obligation more or less right now we are in the voluntary phase first phase is voluntary but from 2027 onwards we will become a part of a binding phase in which we have to maintain the carbon neutrality of our growth on the civil aviation sector and so it's good that the Ministry has come out with a white paper now to prepare itself now for the future work that we will have to do in the next five to six years and build the required infrastructure the systems so that we can maintain this carbon neutrality now how do we do that as mr. Cole was pointing out the action has to be actually taken at three levels not to because first is the airports airports are large consumers of energy aircrafts how they they fly they use fossil fuels I mean they use fuel and that is the 95 percent of the total emissions of the civil aviation sector come out of the fuel consumption by the air the planes and the systems the management systems you know the navigation system the supporting services and all that so at all these three levels we will have to operate and this green evasion the policy which has been put out in fact there are 10 or 12 different areas which they try to target the noise is one of them but most importantly is the energy efficiency the energy which the airport's consume in both ground handling and the support services the the building's itself the large infrastructures and the way the aircraft operations take place we have to optimize the energy consumption maybe effect as fuel switch and see that we reduce the carbon emissions so when we finally get into the car SIA scheme and under the binding obligations of ICAO we should be prepared to reduce our emissions in a manner that we help the economy as well as the environment absolutely so action has to be taken on three levels I'll take the next question to dr. Parker dr. Bhatia India has already joined the elite group of nations to operate a flight on alternative fuel last year in the national capital a fly that was powered by partially part by biofuel landed in the national capital from Dehradun but any our flights ready to be operated to takeoff on alternative fuels well there is definite of Li of a lot of work which is happening on this regard on alternate fuel and the commercial viability of this is yet to be established the viability of this to happen is just to establish but there is definite of work on that I think what I'm gonna more point out in this regard is one of the things which obviously is got missed right now is the efficiencies of the airports as such you know if you see there is a when when aircrafts actually come and come to the Metro Airport specifically Delhi and Bombay on a lot of occasions specifically in Bombay there is a lot of time when the aircraft's actually holding up now when an aircraft actually is held up for for even one minute the kind of emissions what it is actually giving out and that at on top of cities because a lot of holding patterns are sometimes also located on top of polluted or unpopulated areas so you know I think that is something else which needs to be looked into because obviously if you're signing that and you're getting into this binding agreement in in the next seven to eight years you need to ensure that there is an efficiency and there is an ample amount of infrastructure available for the growth which is upcoming but yes having said that that of course after if they've if this work happening on alternate fuels if this work happening on even electrical flights which is a lot of work is actually happening around the globe as well I think this will only help the the cause of the growth of the cause of the industry and specifically in India where you know if we are just at a very nascent stage right now for aviation and there is a lot lot of lot of area to grow on right so the challenge is to make biofuels commercially viable also joining me is dr. call again dr. call you were telling me about policy tools to reduce carbon footprint in India go ahead sir well see one of the things is what was mentioned biofuels now biofuels have to be sustainable and how do how do you create them I knew you you make them out of crops of jet rows and even seaweeds and other things those are all experimental one flight has taken off between Delhi and there are doing but that's just a demonstration flight it has no economic meaning it has no sustainability many countries are trying it out and it might happen soon that we might be able to mix pure normal petroleum fuel with the these chemical fuels these the not chemical fuel these these agricultural products which produce you will do which are known as biofuels so I hope this happens but this is actually linked up with a whole lot of research going on around the world what India can do to improve with Lord is either to look into the cow we've lost the connection yet again and I'll take that too dr. rush me so you were telling me about biofuels and also about making them commercially viable what do we need to do to make them commercially viable in the aviation sector in fact the as part of the sustainable or green policy for civil aviation sector biofuel is the only choice at the moment but it's technologically not affordable and it's not in fact it's not a viable technology at the moment because we can't produce they required quantity but certainly we can make a baby take a baby step in that direction there are we can invest in the R&D research and development for this technology it can the biofuels can be generated from biomass or sugarcane is one of them possible sources in other countries around the world it has been Dean and with maize so there are different kinds of crops which can be but of course we have to balance the food security issues exactly it is not so easy so development of technology in the biofuel sector is very important fortunately our government has also come out with a biofuel Paul is exactly so they are they are trying to figure out what is the best most feasible most viable method of encouraging this technology so hopefully if that succeeds that will feed into the green aviation policy and help the airplanes use or make of a required fuel switch but even in the best scenarios we cannot use more than 10 to 20% of the total fuel through with the use of biofuel we cannot go beyond that in fact the the one of the targeted aims is to bring down our imported fuel by to only 10 percent by 2022 so obviously this kind of fuel switch is not beyond the range of 20% so the 80% will still be fossil fuel so there is a limit to which you actually we can affect the fuel switch we have to understand that and that will depend on the in the international collaboration the kind of international movement which takes place so if we have to be a part of a global coalition for that in the short term V I think we need to focus on the other areas and airports the infrastructure around the airports which are very energy large guzzlers we have to make them energy-efficient and there are ways of doing that the infrastructure itself the the buildings which are constructed they have to be green they we can do green rating of these buildings either leads or gray a rating can be adopted for that the support services and around their holes they can be electrified the solar energy can be can be can be the platform around which the airport ecosystem can be built so we can bring down the energy consumption we can feed the energy requirement of the airports with the help of renewable energy which is possible because it has become viable now although there are integration issues in the grid but electrification of the airport systems is the first major challenge which we have to meet and I think in the in the short term we have to look at those issues of green infrastructure and infusing renewables into the airport ecosystems you talked about really infrastructure now the white paper also mentions green infrastructure what exactly is green infrastructure as far as the aviation industry is concerned no basically using more environment friendly materials and reducing the consumption of energy in construction and maintenance of the buildings that is what a green infrastructure means and infrastructure has to be resilient enough to me withstand the climate change the the variations in the weather and the climate and it has to be least expensive but at the same time it has to be it has to be environment friendly so we have to find environment friendly materials for building the infrastructure which use less energy less emissions and in maintaining those buildings also in running those buildings also we should use energy through sources which are less environmental polluting so basically the reducing the pollution load of these buildings and making them more energy efficient is the way forward and there are when the the environmental clearance is recorded at that time these considerations are gone into hopefully as part of this say Green policy these norms will become much more important much more visible and much more enforceable right so the infrastructure should be green and should also be resilient don't recall I'll come to you again how do we make green taxing more feasible to ensure that the ground emissions are reduced yeah yeah this is the main issue that what is the percentage of ground emissions compared to the total emissions given out by aviation now that's not very clear but Green emissions are somewhat the infrastructure for the for the ground-based emissions are somewhat in our control as far as biofuels are concerned it's a very major research issue and it may not be possible to do it now green infrastructure can be done for everything there is a way of calculating how much emissions are given given out yes sir the connection is lost again dr. Bhatia I'll come to you now dr. Cole was also talking about making green taxing more feasible what is your take on that it is definitely under can endure the control of actually developing green terminals Green airports the new developments can because obviously the aviation enclave's or the airports have a lot of area which can be used for solar panels so you know you could generate a lot of that but then you know one of the things which you know from from from an industry or a travel point of view what people do is that they contribute to I mean they're the various companies in the world and our company also does that and offers that service to the travelers is that there is a possibility that the green the the the the carbon emissions actually calculated for every journey which an individual traveler undertakes an equivalent amount of you know the the cost which is related to that for example of renewing it by planting a tree or any other which can be done to to to match that particular mission that money is actually used after its collected for that so this is one thing that that can be done to to to tax if there is an omission happening and to have an alternate or to renew that particular damage which which might be a which might be occurred because of the travel of an individual on a particular flight so this is one bit of it but I think a lot of work and in terms of lead I mean I have I have one tour as near the proximity of the of Delhi Airport both are LEED certified we are the only ones you'll need certified in this in this this area of aero city and it is not difficult it just takes a little bit more effort it just takes a little bit more you know it's a bit more expensive but on a long term actually pays you back to ensure that whatever infrastructure is being developed is keeping the environment in mind ensuring that there is ample amount of you know I mean at the end of the day if you don't give it back to the environment I mean you know this is stainability of those projects is is despite of policies or no policies but this is an effort which an individual and a poor develop or any other infrastructure developer should keep in mind by while while putting a new infrastructure note about a you also mentioned about solar energy now what are the steps that the government can take to promote usage of renewables in the aviation ecosystem right I think as I mentioned to you airports have large acreage of land around them so it is if and I'm not sure any bits of those are actually a percentile of those even terminal buildings on top of terminal buildings any bits of those I think if you look at the percentage of that being actually used to generate solar energy I think it'll be two or three percent now that rooftops the the free land all of that can actually contribute to a fair amount of better actually you can make these Airport self sustainable off of doing that and I think this is this is what what the policy should indicate that if there is a possibility and lamb there is definitely a possibility of all new developments of all new terminal buildings and of course all the free land which is there to actually generate a lot of green energy which can be used for the development of the airports also vehicles which are plying in the airports or around the Air Force or servicing a lot of these ape vehicles are getting to become electric already around the world I think the fall is one of the airports where all the transit part of buses or the majority of them would become all-electric I think these all things would also have to be deployed by the government in majority of a force at least two because that's definitely our under control and it is the cost of actually renewing wherever there's a replacement of any internal combustion vehicle that has to happen in a portrait should be done with an electric vehicle so all of these things will ultimately contribute to a lot of greening of of that infrastructure right so the entire supply chain has to be stranded mr. rush me there's another important issue that we need to address and that is of noise pollution which is one of the major health hazards around the airports how do we minimize or mitigate the impact of noise pollution around airports you see all over the world these considerations are taken into account when building the airports and creating the infrastructure around these such airports the difficulty in our country is that our country is a heavily populated country so very densely populated country and most of the airports despite our best efforts are close to human habitation so we have to invest in this technology there there is no dearth of Technology here it's all a question of investing in the required infrastructure to insulate the people from they don't know as and the noise levels are prescribed by the local pollution authorities the state Pollution Control board's are and the central Pollution Control Board have already laid down the norms for the noises noise levels around the airports it's a question of enforcing them and insulating the car inconvenience to the but it means both ways creating the required insulation and at the same time locating the airports away from the human habitation and also ensuring that the flights do not take off and land at times when they create maximum inconvenience and fortunately given the the the increasing passenger load in our country we have to live with this difficulty for some time and it may not be possible although it is one of the objectives of the green policy I think it will take a little longer time than usual to really enforce these and noise standards in the you know what we need to invest in technology and we need to invest in R&D I'll give you the last word dr. Bhatia the white paper also talks about creating center of excellence for green aviation now what would be the objective of such centers last 30 seconds this is essentially I think in order to see what globally people are doing for greening of the terminal building screening of the airport screening of the other infrastructure also for noise barriers around the airport's because obviously a lot of other airports also have that same effect of noise with living with it you know habitable enclave's I think if you we could take those those those best practices which are happening across the world and put up a center which could you know make a Bible for any new development or up gradation of the development I think that'll really help in in ensuring that the policy when it is is is defined and it's done to implement that because obviously once we have all the infrastructure or all the information with us and that took getting upgraded on a regular basis it will definitely help new development and also making the existing developments greener but about your last comments on proper waste management in the aviation industry very very important I think for all four water specifically because there is a lot of water used at the airports so I think putting the STP is the sewage treatment plants for that water to be reused also for the the recyclable and non-recyclable base to actually do that I don't think it is completely implemented in all the airports specifically with the caterers specifically with the the other residual which which actually happens from the airports I think it's important that this is important part of the of the document which is getting published right now and these are methodologies which are the people or other people within similar infrastructure such as hotels have have actually implemented and that – in proximity the airport's we have them as a zero mission or zero residue or zero pollution units and I think it is easy given the current technologies across the globe to implement that for airports as well right absolutely so proper waste management is of paramount importance on that note thank you so much for joining us so the focus is on providing safe air travel by minimizing the adverse environmental impacts of civilization that's all we had for you in this edition thanks for watching and stay tuned to Raj this about television

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