HomeRegional NewsInternationalPassenger airlines approve use of selected bio-fuels

Passenger airlines approve use of selected bio-fuels

American bio-fuels plant
“’ soon to supply the
aviation industry?
Washington DC, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 14 June 2011 – Airlines have won the backing of a U.S-based technical-standards group to power their planes with a blend of traditional fuel and bio-fuel from inedible plants, according to the country’s Air Transport Association (ATA).

Fuel processed from organic waste or non-food materials, such as algae or wood chips, may comprise as much as 50% of the total fuel burned to power passenger flights, ATA spokesman Steve Lott and a Boeing Company official told Bloomberg News.

“The real winners of this type of regulatory breakthrough will be technology companies involved in the production of aviation bio-fuels,” said Harry Boyle, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. “The biotech bio-fuels business models of Amyris Incorporated, Codexis Incorporated, Gevo Incorporated and Solazyme Incorporated are all making claims to these types of new markets.”

Other bio-fuels companies that may benefit from opening up the US$139 billion-a-year aviation fuel market are Neste Oil Oyj of Finland, Spain’s Abengoa SA and Honeywell International Incorporated’s UOP unit, which is developing a fuel-making technology.

“The decision to amend jet fuel specifications to include fuels from bio-derived sources is a tremendous accomplishment for aviation, and the result of tremendous collaboration across the entire industry,” Boeing vice president of environment and aviation policy Billy Glover told Bloomberg News in an e-mail.

“Developing a renewable fuel supply is a critical part of our industry’s strategy for achieving carbon-neutral growth beyond 2020 and creating a sustainable future for aviation and the global community it serves,” Glover said.

The preliminary approval was granted this week by the, Pennsylvania-based ASTM International, and it may allow Airbus SAS and Deutsche Lufthansa AG  to undertake a six- month trial they plan to start in the coming weeks using one engine powered 50% by bio-fuel from jatropha, camelina and animal waste.

“Final approval will happen on 1July at the earliest,” ASTM communications director Barbara Schindler said by phone. “Airlines will then be able to begin using bio-derived fuel a week or so thereafter,” she added.

Under their Burnfair project, Airbus and Lufthansa plan to fly using so-called hydrotreated renewable jet fuel every day, four times a day, from Hamburg to Frankfurt. Lufthansa is aiming to blend clean fuel with kerosene at up to 10 percent of the total by 2020. Airbus estimates airlines may consume 30 percent of their fuel from plant-derived sources by 2030.

The 27-nation European Union is prodding airlines toward cleaner fuels by forcing them to cap emissions or buy permits for the excess beginning next year. Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions.