Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark

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Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen says she wants to accomplish flying green and domestic fossil fuel free flights in Denmark by 2030.

The Danish government has announced its intention to make all domestic flights free of fossil fuels by 2030. By 2025 at the latest, the first domestic flights in Denmark are to start using “green” fuel. It was during the prime minister’s New Year’s address she said that Denmark is looking to cut its carbon emissions by 70% against 1990 figures by the time 2030 arrives. Nonetheless, she concedes that the solutions to reach this goal have not yet been implemented.

Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark
ZERO concept aircraft Patrol Flight. Photo: Electrec

To travel is to live
“To travel is to live and therefore we fly,” said the Prime Minister, announcing her plan. “If other countries in the world are too slow, Denmark must take the lead and raise the bar even higher,” Frederiksen is quoted as saying. She added that achieving green domestic flights would be difficult but researchers and companies were working on solutions.

The Danish prime minister did not yet specify a concrete technology – synthetic paraffin, but also battery-electric or fuel cell-electric aircraft are in the running. Despite the strategy needing to be finalized, there are already ambitious initiatives in place across the aviation spectrum. For instance, Airbus shared last year that it seeks to have all its aircraft 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) compatible by 2030, the same year that Denmark chose to reach its goal.

Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark
“To travel is to live and therefore we fly,” said the Prime Minister, announcing her plan.
Photo: News Øresund – Johan Wessman.

Related: Will Norway Be The First Market For Electric Commercial Flights?

Renewable energy
If the hydrogen used to fuel them is generated using renewable energy, this could be a way for Denmark to reach its goals. However, it remains to be seen whether battery-electric aircraft with a corresponding range and passenger capacity will be available by 2030. The same applies to fuel cells, which require hydrogen from renewable energies. The high energy demand for synthetic fuels is also a point of criticism, and it is still unclear by when plants will be built that can produce synthetic fuels on a larger scale – and at what cost.

Notably, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), which is the flag carrier of Denmark, along with being the national carrier of Norway and Sweden, has been showing its commitment to fly more sustainably. The carrier recently partnered with Airbus to deliver green aircraft and explore sustainable sources of biofuel.

Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark
Fuelling bioenergy. Photo: Bioenergy International

Related: Norwegian Air Carrier’s World Premiere of New Generation Aircrafts

Numerous companies are developing zero-emission aircraft
Sweden has also announced plans to make its domestic flights fossil fuel-free by 2030. It is also hoping to make international flights green by 2045. SAS wants all its domestic flights within Scandinavia to be powered by biofuel by 2030, fitting in line with Denmark’s target.

Related: Climate-Smart Airports in Sweden

The Danish government has also announced plans to introduce increased airport fees for high-polluting planes. Currently, numerous companies are developing zero-emission aircraft – including larger passenger planes. The US start-up Wright Electric wants to convert a 100-seat aircraft, ZeroAvia and Mitsubishi are currently developing an H2 engine for a regional jet – to name just two examples. About a year ago, Airbus presented an aircraft study with six detachable fuel cell propeller drive systems – but the company is not aiming for an emission-free commercial aircraft until 2035.

The Nordics at the forefront
“We are actively working on reducing onboard weight and on improving and reviewing all onboard consumables, but the biggest investments are in new, modern and more energy efficient aircraft. In addition, in 2019 SAS and Airbus signed a declaration of intent to research around the development of electric aircraft,” SAS stated in a press release.

Meanwhile, France is moving to ban domestic flights where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours. However, the Danish Prime Minister does not want to give up flights – and domestic flights – altogether. “Travelling is life and that’s why we fly. But at the same time, it harms our climate. We want to make flying green,” she said in the New Year’s address.

Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), which is the flag carrier of Denmark, along with being the national carrier of Norway and Sweden, has been showing its commitment to fly more sustainably. Photo: Electrek

The Nordics have generally been at the forefront of biofuel technology in recent years. For instance, Finland-based Neste has been collaborating with several key aviation powerhouses to introduce SAF across the industry. The company has developed MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel, which is a drop-in solution that is readily available and already being utilized commercially.

Sweden is also reportedly aiming to make domestic air travel fossil fuel-free by 2030. In Norway, all short-haul flights are to be purely electric by 2040.

Domestic Fossil Fuel Free Flights in Denmark, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top) Photo by Biofuels International.

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