Airbus and BA form consortium with Cranfield to explore feasibility of offshore algae for jet fuel production
University to explore how algae can be harvested in ocean-based facilities to
produce jet fuel in commercial quantities.
by the three parties, along with Rolls-Royce, Finnair, London Gatwick Airport
and IATA, to serve as an advisory and steering group to Cranfield’s Sea Green
algae for biofuels but the eventual aim is for Sea Green to set up sustainable
salt-water facilities, producing the first commercial quantities of biomass for
biofuels within three years.
of renewable fuels from microalgae, including environmental impact; processing,
capacity and distribution; commercial; and legislation and regulation. Specific
studies will look at future sustainability modelling and environmental lifecycle
to rapidly grow microalgae at a faster rate than any other initiative and capture CO2 from the atmosphere and seas at the same time, says the consortium.
out of the atmosphere – the facility will not compete with agricultural land,
require fresh water, result in deforestation or damage the environment, it claims.
[The CO2 taken out of the air is intended to be put back into the air, by burning
the fuel, so a bit of a spurious claim].
the price of food being pushed up," commented Professor Feargal Brennan, Head
of Cranfield University’s Department of Offshore, Process and Energy Engineering.
"This project and consortium will aim to see how algae could benefit the aviation
in large volumes and to process these into fuel. Algae grows naturally in sea
water and with over 70% of the surface of the earth being water, Cranfield’s Sea
Green project is a logical and potentially high yield solution. Few replacement
options to kerosene for fuelling commercial aircraft have been identified but
jet fuel produced from algae produced in this way could be a major break-through."
most promising and sustainable solutions for commercial quantities of biofuels.
Industry initiatives like SURF demonstrate our commitment to reducing emissions."
fuels will play a critical role in reducing the carbon footprint of global aviation
by 50% net by 2050, delivering substantially lower lifecycle emissions whilst
avoiding other environmental impacts."
getting an alternative fuel engine test programme off the ground. Having previously
failed two years ago to obtain sufficient quantities of alternative jet fuels
from suppliers, the programme is now back on track, reported the engine manufacturer’s
Vice President Strategic Marketing, Robert Nuttall, at last week’s Aviation &
and we have had 30 to 40 responses," he told delegates. "We have gone from RFI
to RFP (request for proposal) and we are now actively engaged in a programme to
take the fuel beyond even where the ASTM certification process is currently.
be destined for landfill (see story). The $280 million facility is expected to produce 16 million gallons of jet
fuel annually once the facility becomes operational, which is anticipated in 2014.