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BONN: DHL Supply Chain is using AI-based software to save its commercial and e-seller customers money and emissions for their box and parcel shipments.

DHL says its OptiCarton app is a response to the current shortage in cardboard and packaging materials by optimising boxes from an existing, pre-configured set of cartons or by splitting an order into several consignments.

The Deutsche Post division says the new service can save up to 50 percent in unused box space and 15 - 35 percent in shipping costs – particularly attractive to on-line retail customers with large volumes.

“Even though this kind of solution might sound relatively simple at first, providing packing instructions for individual e-commerce shipments in real time is actually quite complex,” noted Dietmar Steins, EVP Global Solutions Design. “Based on the products, volumes and sizes in question, the software not only suggests the optimal size of the outer packaging, it also provides individual, visual instructions on how to ideally utilize the space inside the box.

“It’s highly intuitive – and not unlike the well-known computer game Tetris. It may be a simple piece of software in application terms, but it certainly delivers major savings,” he added.

ZURICH: Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to become the first airline to use zero-carbon fuel from technology company Synhelion that concentrates solar heat into a gas and then synthesizes it into kerosene.

Synhelion evolved from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in 2016 to use solar heat to drive a number of industrial processes including fuel production and cement manufacturing.

Last November the company raised CHF16 million from investors including Swiss KMU Partners, Orchilla, SMS Concast, CEMEX Ventures, AMAG and private interests.

The latest funding round enables it to build and operate the world’s first industrial-scale production of solar fuel at a price competitive with fossil-based kerosene. SWISS will be first customer in 2023.

Synhelion also works with the Lufthansa Group, Wood, Eni, SMS Group, CEMEX and Zurich Airport.

“Our team-up with Synhelion is founded on our shared vision to make carbon-neutral flying in regular flight operations possible through the use of solar fuel,” commented SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.

“We believe in a globalized world connected by climate-friendly mobility,” added Synhelion co-founder and CEO Philipp Furler, “Our next-generation carbon-neutral solar kerosene is an economically and ecologically viable substitute for fossil fuels.”

SWISS says the sun-to-liquid fuel will only produce as much CO2 as went into its manufacture and will make a major contribution to decarbonizing air transport without relying on the limited supply of biofuels.

TOULOUSE/SINGAPORE: Airbus is to use an A380 aircraft to test a GE Passport engine to run on hydrogen in preparation for entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035.

The collaboration with CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines, will ground and flight test the aircraft equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany.

“By leveraging the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to make progress on hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear message that our industry is committed to making zero-emission flight a reality,” declared Airbus CTO Sabine Klauke.

Earlier this month the manufacturer signed a cooperation agreement with Changi Airport Group, global industrial gases and engineering company Linde and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to see how hydrogen can be transported, stored and delivered to aircraft at existing and new airports.

Airbus will provide characteristics on aircraft configuration and fleet energy usage, insight on hydrogen-powered aircraft for ground operations, and data on the estimated hydrogen aircraft ramp-up at airports.

“The Asia-Pacific region will play a key role as we work towards making climate-neutral aviation a reality,” said Klauke. “By partnering with Changi Airport and with Incheon Airport, [we] will leverage the operational and technical expertise of two of the world’s leading hubs. The studies we will carry out together reflect the need for a cross-sectoral approach, including manufacturers, airlines, regulators, airports, energy providers and academia. We need bold and coordinated action to achieve our goals,” she added.

In 2020 Airbus launched its ‘Hydrogen Hub at Airports’ programme to begin research into infrastructure requirements and low-carbon operations and has since signed agreements in Paris, Seoul and Singapore.

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