By GEORGE TIBBITS
EVERETT, Wash. — Boeing Co. hopes aviation biofuels will be practical for the market by around
2015, but it’s going to take a lot of work.
Richard Wynne, Boeing Commercial Airplane’s director of environment and aviation
policy, told reporters Monday that the company is working with others throughout
the industry toward having 1% of all aviation fuel come from non-petroleum sources
by then. While that might sound like a small amount, Wynne said it’s about 16 million
gallons — roughly what Seattle-Tacoma International Airport uses each year.
While Boeing’s customers want new aircraft to offer higher performance and more
savings, planes that burn less fuel also emit less carbon into the atmosphere.
Wynne said that’s critical as thousands more jets join the world’s fleet over
the next two decades.
Boeing doesn’t plan to make biofuel itself, but will be a “facilitator” for its
adoption, Wynne said.
“This is an important issue for us and we’re devoting a lot of time and energy
to it,” he said. “It’s not just the Boeing Co. but we as an entire industry.”
Fuel can be saved and emissions lowered through such things as more efficient
engines, lighter planes with better aerodynamics, more efficient air traffic control
and airlines cutting waste, Wynne said. But those efforts by themselves won’t
reach the industry’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020, he said; new fuels
that result in fewer carbon emissions are necessary.
The U.S. military is experimenting with biofuels for its jets, as are some airlines.
Those and other tests have been encouraging, he said, but before such fuels can
see widespread commercial use there are a number of hurdles:
– The fuels have to be chemically identical and perform the same as existing
fuels, and be approved for use.
– Enough sources for the fuels have to be available and at a suitable cost.
– Airports must be able to handle the fuels without having to make major changes
in storage tanks, pipelines and other infrastructure.
– Commercial production must start, and enough made at a price that compares
favorably with petroleum-based fuel.
– The fuels have to be sustainable, and not compete with food sources.
So-called “first-generation” biofuels, such as those made from corn or soy, don’t
have the chemical properties to work well in jet engines, Wynne said. But newer
sources, such as algae and nonfood plants, look promising.
Many different sources and processes for the fuels will be needed, he said, not
just to meet demand but so that airports around the world have a nearby source
of fuel that can be had at a competitive price.
IATA has said:
Read more »
2.2.2011 (Biofuels Digest)
… the story of advanced biofuels in Brazil amped up considerably yesterday
with the announcement that TAM Airlines in conjunction with Airbus, jatropha biofuel producer Brasil Ecodiesel,
and AirBP (the specialized aviation division of BP) are jointly developing a bio-SPK
manufacturing facility with a 80,000 ton per year capacity that is expected to
come online in 2013. The studies for the project are being undertaken by Yale University. [ SPK is Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene ]
The announcement would create an even larger facility than those contemplated
by agreements between British Airways and Solena for a 19 million gallon MSW-to-jet
fuel plant in the UK, and an exploration[ underway between Qantas and Solena to
construct a similar plant in Australia. [MSW is municipal solid waste ].
The news reminds us that, while most of the coverage of Brazil has focused on
ethanol production and distribution into its well-established, subsidy-free alternative
fuels market, there is substantial momentum building up in Brazil on the diesel
and jet fuel side.
In fact, in addition to the jatropha and soy biodiesel production that has been
expanding in Brazil, there is a substantial influx of US advanced biofuels technologies
based in the conversion of sugarcane to diesel and jet fuel.
Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK)
Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK) is a biofuel that has been hailed by the
aviation industry as a means of curbing carbon emissions from aircraft.
Developed using plants such as jatropha, algae and camelina, bio-SPK fuel has
been successfully trialled by commercial aircrafts at a blend ratio of up to 50
per cent with traditional jet fuel.
Tests are on-going and various SPK fuels its are now seeking regulatory approval
for use on commercial flights.
A coalition of companies from across the aviation industry, including Boeing,
Continental Airlines, Air New Zealand and Rolls-Royce, have also found that Bio-SPK
outperforms traditional petroleum-based aviation fuels. A study revealed that
Bio-SPK delivers a cleaner burn resulting in improved fuel efficiency and less
wear on engine components.
Read more »
Price and ethical sustainability unsuitable for airline
The Finnish state-owned airline Finnair has reversed an earlier decision to start
using biofuel in some of its commercial flights this year.
Finnair was to have started to use kerosene produced by Neste Oil from biological
sources as soon as certification is implemented. Now the airline is going back
on its decision.
“The price of the fuel and its sustainability measured against all criteria is
not at the level that we would have gone into it at this point. There are various
research projects in progress, and it is in our interest to use a fuel produced
from local raw materials”, says Kati Ihamäki, environmental director of Finnair.
One possible local source of biofuel would be the upcoming plant in Varkaus where Neste is studying the
use of wood chips.
“An ideal situation would be for us to get biological kerosene produced from
local raw materials, because there is no sense in hauling raw material from the
other side of the world.”
Finnair is involved in a project that is taking place near London, where the use of algae as biofuel
is being studied. That project is set to continue through 2014.
“We would have wanted to start commercial flights with biofuel now, but products
that are currently available have not met our sustainability criteria”, Ihamäki
Biolofuels used by Neste come from certified sources, but they suffer from the same problems as other
oil plants: although the plants that are used in fuel production are grown in
areas where nothing else is cultivated, there is the danger that plantations might
start encroaching on land that is used for food production.
Environmental organisations have taken a negative view of the use of fuel made
out of palm oil, saying that rain forest are destroyed to make way for oil palm
plantations. There is also overall criticism of the use of food oil as a transport
Price is also a consideration. Biological kerosene is significantly more expensive than fossil
fuel, and fuel costs account for a quarter of Finnair’s overall operating costs.
“The problem is that products made of good raw materials and at a suitable price
are not currently available”, Kati Ihamäki says.
She insists that pressure from environmental organisations had nothing to do
with the decision.
Finnair aims to become a launch customer for commercial airline jet biofuel flights
21.12.2010 (GreenAir online)
Following the recent announcement that Lufthansa is set to become the world’s
first airline to use biofuels on commercial flights, it has emerged that Finnair
is also in discussions with the same biofuel supplier, Finland’s Neste Oil, to
become a launch user of sustainable jet fuels derived from logging waste.
According to Finnair and Neste, the two parties have been looking at areas of
cooperation for over two years and are still ongoing. Finnair said a decision has still to be made on when the first commercial biofuel
flights will take place and will depend on factors such as the availability of
biomass and when biofuel blends will be certified for commercial use.
According to Finnish broadcaster YLE, Finnair is set to become the first airline
in the world to use fuel produced from renewable sources on regular flights, although
Lufthansa made a similar claim a few weeks ago when it announced a cooperative
agreement had been signed with Neste, with the first flights following certification
that is expected at the end by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
However, Finnair believes that “first-flyer” status has not been guaranteed to
any airline by Neste and a final decision has yet to be made.
“Discussions with Finnair are ongoing and unfinished,” said a Neste spokesperson.
“Thus Neste Oil has not issued any statements or press releases regarding the
A Finnair spokesperson told GreenAir Online: “Finnair is aiming to be the first airline to use biofuels on commercial flights
but unfortunately there is no guarantee for that yet. However, Finnair is also
looking for long-term cooperation with different interest groups to engage in
biofuels development work, especially regarding the use of biomass.”
According to an article on the YLE website, Neste will produce jet biofuel, derived
from lard or logging waste, at its production facilities in Porvoo (Finland),
Rotterdam and Singapore. The report said airlines have demanded the new fuel should not contain palm oil
because of deforestation concerns and Finnair was especially interested in utilizing
logging waste from home forests. Neste is one of the largest users of certified palm oil in the world, which it
uses in its NExBTL renewable diesel. The company opened what it claims is the
world’s largest renewable diesel production plant in Singapore last month.
When it announced the Lufthansa agreement, Neste said the jet biofuel that would
be used by the German airline on flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt would be
a blend of 50% NExBTL jet fuel and 50% fossil-based jet fuel in one engine, while
the other engine would use conventional jet fuel.
The primary purpose of Lufthansa’s ‘burnFAIR’ project is to conduct a long-term
trial to study the effect of biofuel on engine maintenance and engine life – the
airline has world-leading aircraft maintenance facilities in Hamburg. The project
is part of an overall ‘FAIR’ initiative (Future Aircraft Research) in which other
issues – alongside biofuel compatibility – such as new engine and aircraft concepts
or other fuels are under study. The German federal government is contributing
a total of €5 million towards ‘FAIR’, of which half will be earmarked for the
‘burnFAIR’ project. Lufthansa will be investing €6.6 million.
“We know that biofuel is an issue we must address carefully,” said Lufthansa
Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber, announcing the launch of the project. “We
can see the opportunities this fuel offers and give serious attention to the debate
on the requisite raw materials. But we first want to acquire experience in daily
practice in the use of biofuels. We are doing pioneering work in that no other
airline to date has operated an aircraft engine with biofuel over a longer term.
“Our fuel is sustainable. No rain forest will be deforested for Lufthansa biofuel.
In the procurement of biofuel, we ensure it originates from a sustainable supply
and production process. Our licensed suppliers must provide proof of the sustainability
of their processes.”