Tag Archives: aviation biofuels

[NEWS] First Chinese Intercontinental Biofuel Flight Lands in Chicago

– by Katie Cantle, November 22, 2017, Air Transport World

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Photo: Xinhua News Agency

Hainan Airlines Boeing 787-8 has completed China’s first intercontinental passenger flight with sustainable fuel produced from waste cooking oil from restaurants in China by Sinopec.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Hainan Airlines flight 497 flew from Beijing to Chicago O’Hare International Airport Nov. 21 after flying more than 11,000 km (6,835 miles).

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[NEWS] SeaTac Aims to be National Leader in Jet Biofuels

– by John Stang, October 31, 2016, GeekWire

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Photo: Alaska Airlines

One big hurdle in getting airlines to use biofuels is the cost difference biofuels and petroleum-based fuels. Right now, petroleum-based jet fuels are cheaper. But biofuels produce fewer carbon emissions.

So the Port of Seattle, sustainable jet fuel company SkyNRG and Sir Richard Branson’s nonprofit Carbon War Room announced today that they are partnering on a study to find out how to compensate airlines for the difference in fuel prices. Backers of the study hope to have some results by February.

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[AUDIO] An Overview of Aviation Biofuels

CONFERENCE CALL AUDIO: An Overview of Aviation Biofuels (September 2016) 

The Biomass Monitor speaks with Almuth Ernsting, co-director of Biofuelwatch, about the current forms of aviation biofuels and those likely to be used in the future.

The Biomass Monitor conference calls are held the 3rd Thursday of every month. For notice of future calls, go to thebiomassmonitor.org and subscribe to our free, monthly online journal investigating the whole story on bioenergy, biomass, and biofuels.

[NEWS] Colorado Company Produces Tree-Based Aviation Biofuel

– October 12, 2016, Renewable Energy From Waste

alaska-air-web_rewGevo, Inc., Englewood, Colorado, has completed production of cellulosic renewable jet fuel that is specified for commercial flights. Gevo successfully adapted its patented technologies to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol, which was then further converted into Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) fuel. This ATJ meets the ASTM D7566 specification allowing it to be used for commercial flights. The revisions to the ASTM D7566 specification, which occurred earlier this year, includes ATJ derived from renewable isobutanol, regardless of the carbohydrate feedstock (i.e. cellulosics, corn, sugar cane, molasses and so on).

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[NEWS] Airlines Cozying Up to Biofuels

– by Maxx Chatsko, September 26, 2016, Motley Fool

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Photo: Getty Images

The global airlines industry has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions 30% from 2007 by 2020. A variety of technologies are being leveraged to accomplish the goal, including fuel-efficient aircraft and renewable fuels. Of course, given a lack of commercially ready and economically viable renewable jet fuels, the industry is still searching for ways to reconcile its responsibilities to climate and shareholders.

You can’t blame ’em for trying.

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[NEWS] Biofuel Takes Off With Airplane Travel

– by Daisy Simmons, September 9, 2016, Yale Climate Connections

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Photo: Yale Climate Connections

Biofuel is now helping power United Airlines flights out of Los Angeles.

United began mixing biofuel with traditional jet fuel earlier this year. The biofuel is made from waste products like animal fats and manure. This farm waste would otherwise rot and produce methane, a potent global-warming gas.

Angela Foster-Rice is the managing director of environmental affairs and sustainability for United. She says the biofuel emits 60 percent less carbon dioxide than regular fuel over its lifecycle.

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[OPINION] The High-Flown Fantasy of Aviation Biofuels

[Read the opposing view, “Takeoff for Aviation Biofuels: How, Where, When?” by Jim Lane, editor and publisher of Biofuels Digest.]

– by Almuth Ernsting, Co-Director, Biofuelwatch

On 24th February 2008, pictures of Richard Branson tossing a coconut into the air next to an aircraft at Heathrow were broadcast around the world, as he announced the world’s first biofuel flight. Biofuel, he claimed, would “enable those of us who are serious about reducing our carbon emissions to go on developing the fuels of the future.”

Environmental NGOs denounced his test flight as a publicity stunt, intended to deflect attention from the fact that aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and most carbon intensive form of transport. As far as Branson and his airline, Virgin Atlantic, were concerned, the flight was indeed no more than a stunt: The “biofuel test flight” burned 95% ordinary kerosene and just 5% biofuels, made from coconut and Brazilian babassu nut oil. Virgin Atlantic has not used any biofuels since that day.

Since then, however, at least 24 other airlines have blended biofuels with kerosene. By September 2015, more than 2,050 such flights had taken off, most by commercial airlines, some by the US and Dutch military and US and Canadian research institutes. This year, KLM has launched a series of 80 passenger flights with biofuel blends, and since March, United Airlines has been using such blends for regular flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They aim to expand their use to all their flights out of Los Angeles. Across the aviation industry, biofuel use and investments have moved far beyond what could be considered a mere publicity stunt.

Even if biofuels were carbon neutral – which is far from the case – there is no realistic prospect of them making any significant dent in aviation’s contribution to global warming. Between 2002 and 2012, global jet fuel use increased by one-fifth, to 5.42 million barrels a year (around 695,000 tonnes). Apart from a minor dip during the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, it has been growing year after year. Global biofuel production has reached the equivalent of around 70.8 million tonnes of oil a year, accounting for little more than 2% of the world’s transport fuels. However, as we shall see below,only a small fraction of the biofuels which are being produced annually today could conceivably be upgraded for use in aviation. Nearly the world’s entire biofuel infrastructure is for ethanol and biodiesel, which cannot be used in aircraft.

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[OPINION] Take-off for Aviation Biofuels: When, How, and Why?

[Read the opposing view, “The High-Flown Fantasy of Aviation Biofuels,” by Almuth Ernsting, co-director of Biofuelwatch.]

– by Jim Lane, Editor & Publisher, Biofuels Digest

One striking image for all of us in 2016 has been the graceful lines of the Solar Impulse as it shuttled around the globe in a remarkable demonstration of the potential of solar energy for powered flight.

But if we reflect upon the wingspan, the minuscule payload, the multi-month journey, the speed and the discomfort involved, we might sympathize with Boeing executive Julie Felgar when she stated at ABLC this year, “We’re all excited about solar. I’m excited about solar, but as a commercial reality we are decades and decades away.”

By the 21st Century, we’ll have many more technological options for limiting and adapting to climate change, but in there here and now, when it comes to aviation, representing 5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, for now we have two strategies and two alone. Fuel efficiency and renewable fuels.

There are limits on fuel efficiency because of the 30-40 year replacement cycle for jets, and the 10-20 year development cycle. Designs only on a drawing board today will be not deployed until the 2020s or 2030s, and jets we have in service today will be still flying, somewhere, in the 2050s.

So it is not a shock to observers that airlines such as Virgin, United Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific have been investing in renewable fuel companies. The US government has made substantial investments in search of sustainable military jet fuels, also. Other airlines are expected to follow suit, and more than 30 of them have joined R&D consortia, conducted flight certification tests and in other ways contributed towards the deployment of these fuels.

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