Lufthansa And SWISS Introduce “Climate Neutral” Fuel Option

Lufthansa and SWISS are looking to help passengers to offset their CO2 emissions by purchasing sustainable air fuels. The program had been in a test phase, however, Lufthansa and SWISS are now rolling the scheme out across their booking systems.

Lufthansa, Carbon Offset, Sustainable Fuels
Lufthansa is implementing a carbon offsetting platform alongside SWISS. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

In the age of flight shaming and increasing emphasis placed on the effects of flying, airlines across Europe are implementing schemes to allow passengers to offset their CO2. In fact, some airlines are making this mandatory on domestic bookings. Lufthansa and SWISS are the latest to take part by bringing the Compensaid platform to their booking portals.

Lufthansa touts the new program as the “world’s first online platform of its kind”. However, despite the spotlight being on sustainable jet fuel, it seems that the other option of reforestation has proved to be more popular thus far.

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The Compensaid Platform allows passengers to buy Lufthansa Sustainable Jet Fuel. Photo: Lufthansa

326.33 tonnes of CO2 have so far been offset through the programs reforestation option. This compares to just 59.78 tonnes offset via sustainable jet fuel. So far €42,392 has been paid into to the scheme.

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Sustainable fuel or reforestation?

Passengers using Lufthansa’s new Compensaid platform have two options for offsetting their CO2. They are able to choose a mixture of the two options. The sustainable jet fuel is the more pricy option, while reforestation is around one-twentieth of the cost. The fuel option costs €1 per liter, while each tree costs around €3.90.

However, while the sustainable fuel option is more expensive, Lufthansa also advertises that the Sustainable Air Fuel offsets CO2 “immediately”. However, this does not mean what you think, as it could take Lufthansa up to six months to feed the sustainable fuel into its operations. This means that the sustainable fuel you purchased won’t be on your flight.

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Compensaid is available across Lufthansa and SWISS. Photo: Lufthansa

On the other hand, the reforestation option, while cheaper, is not instant. In fact, should a passenger choose to offset 100% of their CO2 via that option, it will take 20 years for the CO2 to be offset. If the offset is split 50/50 between the two options, it will only take 10 years to offset the carbon emissions.

How does it work?

Next week I’m going to be flying with Lufthansa from London to Frankfurt. With this in mind, I decided to take Lufthansa’s brand new platform for a spin. Upon landing at the Compensaid website, you are greeted with a big Lufthansa Yellow button inviting you to offset your flight. Clicking this takes you to a page where you can enter your flight details.

Lufthansa, Carbon Offset, Sustainable Fuels
Passengers are first invited to enter their flight details. Image: Lufthansa

Once you have entered your flight details, you are taken to a page where you can decide how much to invest in each program. In my case, investing 100% in sustainable fuel would cost €39.56, while choosing reforestation costs just €1.91. Both options would offset 81kg of CO2.

I opted to go for 5% to Sustainable Fuels and 95% to reforestation. While I was keen to purchase some fuel, I think in the long run reforestation is better as it will keep offsetting CO2 once my 81kg has been offset. This bought me 1.98L of sustainable jet fuel, in addition to 0.46 of a tree. As such, Lufthansa says it will take 19 years to offset my CO2.

Lufthansa, Carbon Offset, Sustainable Fuels
You then decide how to offset your carbon emissions. Image: Lufthansa

On the next page, I was prompted to enter my payment details and then was dumped on to a thank-you page informing me that my carbon emissions would be offset in 19 years’ time. I also instantly received an email with three attachments. One certificate for my sustainable fuel, one for my purchase of half a tree, and thirdly a receipt for my half a tree in German.

Will you use the platform to offset your carbon emissions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Peter

– And where exactly does this reforestation take place? What vast areas of land are lying unused, just waiting for trees to be planted on them (and located in a climate suitable for rapid tree growth)?
– Will someone from Lufthansa/Swiss be personally counting the trees re-planted, and regularly checking that they’re left undisturbed until they reach maturity? Don’t tell me that some organization is going to do it for them…we have vast experience with unreliable, corrupt “charities”.
– Will production of the “sustainable aviation fuel” require agricultural use of land that is currently forested?

The world is full of halfwits…

Matt

Pretty much. There are some areas that can support trees that don’t currently have them. Usually a desert area that does have rivers. It’s probably the only actual thing that can be done to decrease CO2. You would still have to figure out if that actually would work since there’s going to be a large amount of energy going into this. The use of agricultural land for fuel production is a massive boondoggle that has been disproven to be carbon neutral time and time again an taking out capacity for food isn’t doing anything positive.

William

I think biofuel from algae farms is the only one that might work of the biofuels. I think it gets down to recovering mineral and nutrients when the algae is processed.

Peter

I agree that algae-generated fuel is the only viable biofuel. However, it’s still in its infancy, and it will take a while before it’s operating on an industrial scale.

William

There is a massive sink of CO2 into the ocean, it takes massive amounts. Atmospheric CO2 been decreasing over the millennia. In about 1.6 million years the Carbon depletion would have gotten to less than 150-200ppm which is the death of plants. We’d have to add CO2. Of course “scientists” are warning us of ocean acidification. Hasn’t happened, of course. Its hard to get a man to talk sense if his income depends on talking nonsense. Those IPCC graphs always show the version where the planet becomes a hothouse. We may end up with cooling because solar activity should decline… Read more »

Joseph

These schemes are nothing but PR stunts that will be over in 5-10 years.

JackFlash

Feel good gimmick that does really nothing to reduce emissions.

William

There is no climate crisis. Sea levels haven’t risen (a few tectonic movements up and down), the planet is greening and there are more trees than 100 years ago, polar bear numbers are thriving and increasing, the ‘record temperatures’ are only there if you start in 1960 and ignore the heat waves of the 1930s and 1940. 96% of the Amazon is virgin rainforest untouched since European settlement and much of the 14% remaining is green, the great reefs of the world are OK. For instance 95% of the barrier reef is fine and the 5% is continuously in dieback… Read more »

Peter

Apart altogether from the climate discussion, there’s still an incentive to stop using fossil fuels because — sooner or later — they are going to be depleted. So, for that reason alone, there’s a strong incentive to develop hydrogen propulsion and nuclear fusion, and to maximize use of solar energy where practical.

William

I’m all for saving energy and finding alternatives. I want the energy autonomy. We do need to encourage progress but we don’t need to rush. It’ll be nice to see the Saudi Rulers go broke. I’m not for creating anxiety in children when there is no crisis. I’m not for causing poverty so that green billionaires and carbon credit trading banks get rich. As far as alternatives go we had nuclear developing nicely with reactors that use nuclear thermal resonance to make meltdowns impossible and transmutation of long term to short term waste. That hope was destroyed by the same… Read more »

Noam Bechhofer

Couldn’t you have taken some time to explain exactly what “sustainable fuel” is?