Oslo airport in Norway has disclosed that they will be importing renewable jet fuel from California, all of which is strictly made from waste cooking oil. To no surprise, this decision sparked controversy as shipping and trucking this jet fuel for more than 16,000 kilometers, or 10,000 miles, will weaken environmental benefits.
Along with Los Angeles and Stockholm, Oslo was the first international airport to suggest biofuels as part of the fuel mix it started selling in 2016. This fuel mix was sold in an attempt to limit greenhouse gas discharge in the airline sector.
According to Olav Mosvold Larsen, “This is a tiny little drop (in fossil jet fuel use). But it is the first drop.” He added that jet biofuels cost twice as much as conventional fuels.
Currently, the jet fuel mix sold for planes in Oslo has 0.2% biofuels in the test project. Additionally, Avinor bought 1.25 million liters, or 275,000 UK gallons, of biofuels. As of late, Avinor has brought in waste cooking oil, sold by AltAir in California. In 2016, Oslo’s biofuels came from Spain.
With that said, there are a number of environmentalists who believe that importing biofuels from California, via the Panama Canal, does not make sense. Truls Gulowsen of Greenpeace has stated that laws in Europe should encourage local production of biofuels (ie: Nordic forests), while “waste cooking oil should be used in California.”
Larsen however has stated that there are net environmental benefits. Greenhouse gas discharge for shipping a liter of biofuel from California to Sweden, and then lugging it to Norway, were a fraction of emissions from burning a liter of conventional jet fuel.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, aviation represents roughly 2% of global greenhouse gas discharge, which is equivalent to the discharge of countries like Canada or Mexico.
On June 19, Norway’s government will decide whether or not to oblige jet fuel sold in Norway to have 1% biofuels from 2019. This would be equal to roughly 11 million liters, or 2.4 million UK gallons, a year.
Furthermore, Scandinavian Airlines Systems have reported that plans could increase costs unless they are matched by other countries. Spokesman Knut Morten Johansen stated, “extra taxation is limiting our possibility to invest in biofuels and take steps for a sustainable future.”
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