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In partnership with Repsol, Iberia is making its first long-haul flights using biofuel produced from waste in Spain
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In partnership with Repsol, Iberia is making its first long-haul flights using biofuel produced from waste in Spain

Repsol and Iberia are taking another step in their alliance to reduce emissions in the airline industry, with the first long-haul flights using biofuel produced in Spain from biological waste. The biojet fuel used is from a batch produced in 2021 at Repsol’s Petronor refinery in Bilbao.

The first flight to use biofuel was the maiden Madrid-Washington DC route with a 288-passenger twin-engine Airbus A330-200, one of the airline’s most efficient aircraft. This A330-200 MTOW 242 TN version has a maximum take-off weight of 242 tonnes and uses 15% less fuel than the aircraft it replaces, making it more environmentally friendly.

The second flight to use this type of fuel will be flight IB6193 from Madrid to San Francisco, a route that Iberia resumes today following the pandemic. The third will be Iberia’s maiden flight from Madrid to Dallas, which will take off at 3:55p.m. Madrid time today. Both will use the Airbus A330-200s.

With these three flights, Iberia and Repsol are today reducing CO2 emissions by 125 tonnes, thanks to the improved efficiency of the aircraft, together with the use of sustainable biofuel.

According to Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of Repsol, “The aviation industry needs solutions, such as the use of biofuels, in order to continue with the decarbonization, process we have embarked on. Repsol’s and Iberia’s commitment is placing us at the forefront of this endeavour. In addition, it consolidates our position as a multi-energy company with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, the first oil company to commit to this ambitious goal”.

Meanwhile, Iberia Executive Chairman Javier Sánchez-Prieto said out that “Aviation faces a huge challenge that can only be overcome by taking steps like today’s, which promote the production of sustainable fuels in sufficient quantities and at competitive prices, so that we can continue moving forward in the green transition of the aviation sector”.

This initiative is part of last July’s collaboration agreement between Repsol and Iberia to achieve more sustainable mobility and is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by the United Nations in its 2030 Agenda.

During this time, the two companies have collaborated on the AVIATOR project, to analyze the impact of aviation emissions on airport air quality. Additionally, last November they operated the first Madrid-Bilbao flight using sustainable fuel from waste, and in January Iberia joined the SHYNE (Spanish Hydrogen Network) consortium, led by Repsol, to accelerate the development of green hydrogen in Spain.

In addition, the strategic agreement between Repsol and Iberia includes a roadmap for the promotion of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in the coming years. On the flights made today, Iberia and Repsol are working ahead on the measures established by the European Union in its “Fit For 55” package, such as the compulsory use of 2% sustainable aviation fuel by 2025. Iberia’s flights to Washington DC, Dallas, and San Francisco already incorporate 2% SAF.

In the future, Iberia and Repsol will operate new flights with a growing percentage of biofuel mix, which can reach up to 50% of total fuel. The biofuel will be produced in Cartagena, at the first advanced biofuels plant in Spain, which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023. Also in 2024, Repsol and Iberia plan to fly using synthetic SAF (e-fuel) produced at the Petronor plant in Bilbao. In addition, both companies are working on a project for the use of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) by airport ground vehicles.

Repsol is a pioneer in the manufacture of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in Spain, and, with the production of fuels in its industrial complexes, it works in anticipation of different measures that EU institutions are implementing to promote the use of sustainable aviation fuels. Advanced biofuel from waste is included in the list of sustainable fuels in the European Renewable Energy Directive.

The batch of biofuel for aircraft used in these flights is the third manufactured by Repsol and the first in the Spanish market produced from waste as a raw material. The multi-energy company thus integrates circular economy tools into the process, transforming waste into high added-value products such as low carbon footprint fuels. This batch follows the two previous ones produced from biomass in the Repsol refineries in Puertollano and Tarragona.

In its effort to move toward the decarbonization of the aviation sector, Iberia is developing its sustainability strategy based on the green transition of the aviation sector, which affects all its fleet renewal initiatives; more efficient operations; and the use of sustainable aviation fuels. Additionally, it is working to offer a more sustainable travel experience for its customers, through the digitization of services, the progressive elimination of plastics on board, the development of its waste management system, carbon offsetting programmes, support for R+D+i initiatives, and sustainability training and awareness for its employees.

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Fuente: Iberia
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