Total and Amyris working on jet fuel from GM yeasts using sugarcane – demo flight at Paris Air Show

In France, Amyris and Total announced a demonstration flight (from Toulouse to Paris) of an A321 at the Paris Air Show using its renewable jet fuel made from Amyris Biofene from plant sugars. This is a French Initiative for Future Aviation Fuels, which seeks to produce and commercialize alternative, allegedly renewable and sustainable aviation fuels in France. There was an earlier flight using this fuel in June 2012, in Brazil.  Amyris is using genetically-modified yeasts which metabolise sugars from sugarcane or sweet sorghum for the process, which produces a broad range of molecules via Biofene. Cellulosic sugars are what they want to use in future, but for now, Amyris is focused on cane sugar.  (ie. competing with human food). There is evidence that the cost of oil-based jet fuel is rising faster than the cost of sugar. If there is margin of around 24 US cents per gallon between the cost of the sugar feedstock and the fuel it might be profitable to use sugar. They are hoping this will continue in future. In December 2012, Amyris began commercial production of Biofene at its industrial-scale production facility in southeastern Brazil. Amyris and Total expect the fuel might be commercially available by 2014. 

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Sugar High: Total, Amyris, Airbus complete sugar-based renewable jet fuel flight at Paris Air Show

by   (Biofuels Digest)
June 21, 2013

amyris-flight

Landmark flight for sugar-based renewable jet fuel — what’s the future?

As the technology and downstream market matures, the big question is feedstock costs. And they’re trending nicely.

In France, Amyris and Total announced a successful demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show its renewable jet fuel made from Amyris Biofene and, ultimately, from plant sugars.

The Airbus A321 aircraft powered by two Snecma CFM56 jet engines flew from Toulouse to Paris with a blend of renewable jet fuel produced by Amyris and Total. This demonstration flight was in support of the French Initiative for Future Aviation Fuels, which seeks to produce and commercialize alternative, renewable and sustainable aviation fuels in France in the coming years.

This was the second public demonstration flight with the Amyris-Total renewable jet fuel. In June 2012, an Embraer E195 jet flew with the renewable jet fuel produced from sugarcane in Brazil.

Yep, you’re flying on sugar — by way of farnesene

Amyris has developed genetic engineering technologies that enable modification of the way microbes process (i.e., metabolize) sugar. By controlling these metabolic pathways, Amyris is able to design microbes, primarily yeast, to be tiny living factories that convert plant-sourced sugars from crops such as sugarcane or sweet sorghum into target molecules. Using its industrial synthetic biology platform, Amyris develops yeast strains designed to produce a broad range of molecules.

Farnese being formed from sugar via genetically-modified yeast

Farnese being formed from sugar via genetically-modified yeast

The first molecule that Amyris is focusing on is Biofene, Amyris-brand farnesene, a hydrocarbon building block that can replace petrochemicals in a wide variety of products in the cosmetics, flavors and fragrances, consumer product, polymers, lubricants and fuel markets.

You can download more about farnnesane and farnesene here.

Can sugar work as a renewable jet fuel stock – on the economics?

Now that the technology is proven, and Amyris and Total are committed to a joint venture in renewable diesel and jet fuel that will include commercial-scale facilities, the remaining big question is the sourcing of sustainable, available, reliable, affordable tonnages of sugar.

Cellulosic sugars are on the way — but for now, Amyris is focused on cane sugar. There. there’s a decent body of evidence, over the past ten years, that the cost of oil-based jet fuel is rising faster than the cost of sugar.

Here’s the tale of the tape.

Sugar vs jet fuel prices since 2003

Sugar vs jet fuel prices since 2003

Ten years ago in spring 2003, jet fuel was selling at 10.60 cents per pound and sugar was selling at 7.01 cents per pound. Not much margin there for the large capex and opex associated with turning sugar into jet fuel. Just 3.59 cents per pound, or 24 cents per gallon in margin between the feedstock and the fuel. Even amortized over 15 years, the project would have been unlikely to cover the capital costs — much less the opex of running a large operation.

But look at today. Jet fuel is selling at 40.75 cents per pound, and sugar at 17.08 cents. The spread has grown more than six times, to 23.67 cents per pound, or $1.58 per gallon. Allowing for, say, a capital cost of $8-$10 per gallon of installed capacity, amortized over 15 years there is meaningful spread still left over to cover operating costs and margin.
But consider the trend — a spread that’s grown 6X over 10 years — and you might consider that sugar could well provide an excellent long-term hedge against rising oil-based jet fuel prices.

Amyris-Total renewable jet fuel, and biofene

The Amyris-Total renewable fuel was produced using engineered microorganisms that convert plant sugars into Biofene, Amyris’s brand of renewable farnesene, a long-chain, branched hydrocarbon.

In December 2012, Amyris began commercial production of Biofene at its industrial-scale production facility in southeastern Brazil. Amyris and Total expect the fuel to be commercially available as early as 2014, following approval by the ASTM International, the world’s leading fuel standard setting body.

The story goes back to 2009, from the point of view of test flights, when Embraer and General Electric announced that they would conduct a test flight using renewable jet fuel produced from sugar cane by Amyris Biotechnologies. The ERJ-190/-195 test flight was operated by Azul Linhas Aereas, using sugarcane as a feedstock.

“That initiative has the enthusiastic support of Azul’s founder and CEO David Neeleman and the Brazilian Government,” said Tom Casey of ACA Associates at the time, “especially as the demonstration involves an Embraer commercial airplane, flying with a Brazilian airline and using a Brazil-sourced bio jet fuel from sugarcane feedstock.”
Next steps for Total and Amyris

As a result of the continued success of Amyris’s existing technology collaboration with Total, the two parties intend to form a joint venture company by mid-2013 to market renewable diesel, jet fuel, and other specialty products derived from Biofene, Amyris’s renewable brand of farnesene.

Last August, Total reaffirmed its commitment to Amyris’s technology and dedicated its $82 million funding budget over the next three years exclusively for the deployment of Biofene, Amyris’s renewable farnesene, for production of renewable diesel and jet fuel. Total’s commitment includes a $30 million payment to Amyris in 2012.

Total and Renewable Fuels

The Total Group holds a 66% stake in SunPower, a world leader in solar energy, and an 18.5% stake in Amyris, an integrated renewable products company. Additionally, Total is actively engaged in a number of renewable R&D projects, such as solar and biomass.

In today’s Digest, we look in-depth at reaction from the partners, plus a networking and knowledge-sharing opportunity with Amyris CEO John Melo via the page links below.
Reaction from the partners

“This is a significant milestone in our strategic partnership with Total for biofuels. From developing the world’s leading synthetic biology platform to producing and distributing renewable products globally, the Amyris-Total collaboration demonstrates the power of partnerships to drive innovation and deliver sustainable products,” said John Melo, President & CEO of Amyris. “Today’s flight is another step closer in achieving ASTM certification, which paves the way for the commercialization of our renewable jet fuel,” Melo concluded.

“The air transport sector has an ambitious target: drastically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while commercial flights and demand for jet fuel will steadily grow. To that end, biofuels will play an important role along with improved aircraft energy efficiency. This demonstration flight illustrates the capacity of Amyris and Total to integrate, as of today, aeronautical biofuels in a concrete and reliable way,” said Philippe Boisseau, President, Marketing & Services and New Energies and a member of the Executive Committee of Total. “As one of the world’s biggest suppliers of aviation fuel, Total aims at widely offering this solution to airline customers. We are confident that we will be able to achieve this within the coming years.”

…. and there is more at

http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2013/06/21/sugar-high-total-amyris-airbus-complete-sugar-based-renewable-jet-fuel-flight-at-paris-air-show/

 

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Amyris: Can their renewable jet fuel ever be affordable?

 | June 27, 2013  ( Biofuels Digest)

In the Digest mailbag, we’ve been getting a fair amount of feedback to our coverage of Amyris’s advances in renewable jet fuel.

In our article, we pointed out the growing gap between the price of sugar and jet fuel over the past ten years — giving credence to the use of sugar as a feedstock for fuel production.

Some of our more astute readers ask, calculators in hand, how is it going to be ever economically possible to make jet fuel from Amyris biofene?

One reader writes:

“Theoretical yield for farnesene from sugar (glucose) is about 30% by weight (compared to 51% for ethanol, which is a much shorter-chain molecule than farnesene or other fuel-grade oils).  However, actual yields will typically be on the order of <50% of that, so probably more like 15% (0.15 g farnesene/ g sugar) or even less.  

“From there the math makes it fairly easy to calculate the cost of a gallon of “jet fuel” or “diesel” from any cost of sugar (using a density like ethanol of about 3 kg/gal).  In addition, farnesene is not the final molecule — farnesane is — which means Amyris will need to use a source of hydrogen to hydrogenate farnesene, further adding to the cost.

“At an actual yield of 20% (giving them the benefit of the doubt), it would take 5 lbs of sugar to make 1 lb of jet fuel.  So using your number of $0.17/lb for sugar, the cost of farnesene would be 5*0.17 or approximately $1/lb just for raw material (forgetting the need for H2 and of course all other raws and capex) – which is more than 2x the market value of jet fuel, which you put at ~$0.40/lb.”

It’s an interesting question — and frankly beyond the Digest staff’s abilities with a calculator — so we asked Joel Velasco at Amyris for some help.

He writes:

“We don’t disclose current yields. But as we describe in at least one of our patents (See here.) the max theoretical yield for our Farnesene strains is about 30%.

“We have always offered the figure of about 3 kilos of sugar for a liter of farnesane (jet fuel/diesel) for our analysis of target production.

“So, at current sugarcane TRS pricing in Brazil (R$ 0.44/TRS kg according to public market data, here), the feedstock cost of producing a liter of fene at these targets (and R$/$ exchange rate) would be about $0.61 per liter or $2.35 per gallon.”

Now, that’s just feedstock costs using current local prices in Brazil, and not the sale price of fuel, but it does continue to add credence to the concept that — so long as the cost of the underlying sugars continues to trend south of rising priceline of jet fuel — there are reasons to continue to be optimistic regarding renewable jet fuels made via the Amyris process.

http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2013/06/27/amyris-can-their-renewable-jet-fuel-ever-be-affordable/

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Earlier:

 

Sugar-based biofuel flight on 19th June, to coincide with Rio+20, purporting to be “sustainable”

4.6.2012Here’s a depressing story.  Using jet fuel derived from sugarcane, and therefore not separate from food production, Azul Brazilian Airlines will put on a flight on 19th June. They say how desirable using sugarcane is for jet fuel, as it “can be produced sustainably in large-scale quantities in Brazil and other tropical countries.” And that jet fuel from sugarcane has “emission reduction potential”.   This flight, to coincide with Rio+20 is just greenwash, and the industry capitalising on a marketing opportunity for a form of fuel is actually not sustainable, and that competes with land that could and should be used for food production.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2233

 

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Boeing, Embraer enter Brazil jet-biofuel venture

26.10.2011 (Reuters)Boeing Co and its Brazilian counterpart Embraer have joined forces with Brazilian
Fapesp, to map out how best to expand the use of biofuels for jet engines from
renewable sources such as sugar cane. They are aware of criticisms about biofuel
not helping with global warming. They say they don’t want feedstocks that are
also food crops. A 9-month study will look at the potential feedstocks and their
large-scale commercial challenges and advantages.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4650

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Funding secured for Brazilian research study into the sustainability of renewable jet fuel sourced from sugarcane

15.8.2011 (Green Air Online) The IDB will finance for “renewable” jet fuel projects in Latin America and the Caribbean and along with aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Embraer the IDB will fund a sustainability analysis of producing jet fuel from Brazilian sugarcane. 

The study will evaluate environmental and market conditions for and will be independently reviewed and advised by the WWF. It will include indirect land-use effects. Sugar-derived jet biofuels were not included in the recent ASTM certification process

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3504

 

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Read more »

Siemens & LanzaTech to develop fuel from CO2 & CO from steel industry gases

The iron and steel industry worldwide produces huge volumes of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide – around 6.7% of global CO2 emissions.   Siemens has announced that it will work to develop biofuels from these waste industrial gases after signing a 10-year cooperation deal with New Zealand technology company LanzaTech. They say they will commercialise and market the system for the steel industry. The process captures the CO and CO2 and uses these through a patented biological fermentation to produce chemicals  including bioethanol and fuels.  The companies hope their technique makes good use of the waste gases, as well as helping steel mills to meet environmental regulations. They claim fuels made from the waste gases will have CO2 emissions 50 – 70% lower than fossil based fuels.  LanzaTech says the process does not compete with food production – (but could the waste CO2 not be used in greenhouses etc in order to promote growing of food crops?). Virgin wants to fly a demonstration flight on this during 2013 and then more in 2014.

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From Siemens’ press release:

19.6.2013

Off-gases from the production of iron and steel contain significant amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Globally, the iron and steel industry contributes 6.7 percent to the worldwide CO2 emissions. To produce one metric ton of steel, an average of 1.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted. Up to now, these gases have been flared or used to create process heat and electrical energy within the plant.

LanzaTech’s innovative technology, instead, re-uses the off-gases from converter, coking plant or blast furnace processes as nutrients and a source of energy. The patented biological fermentation process allows steel plant operators to make use of the chemical energy contained in off-gases in the form of CO, CO2 and H2 (hydrogen) for the eco-friendly production of bioethanol or other basic chemicals such as acetic acid, acetone, isopropanol, n-butanol or 2,3-butanediol.
The global market for ethanol alone is estimated to amount to an annual volume of over 80 million metric tons, of which 75 million metric tons is used as biofuel. Unlike the bioethanol produced through agriculture, LanzaTech’s fermentation process does not compete with food production. Another major benefit of this technology is that the CO2 emissions (“carbon footprint”) are between 50 to 70 percent lower than petroleum-based fuels and around one-third lower than when steel plant off-gases are converted into electricity.
http://m.siemens.com/en/press/pressreleases/pressrelease.htm?detail=PRE1460798220&menu=search..

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:
Ideally the  vast amounts of CO2 from these steel plants would be captured and stored underground, for permanent disposal. That, in theory, would be possible,  as they are large point sources.  However, CCS (carbon capture and storage is not going to happen on any significant scale for a very long time.
The second best option would be for the carbon to be used for some purpose which prevents or delays the emission of more CO2.  Such a use would be in fuel for road vehicles, which avoids the use of more fossil fuels. The CO2 then enters the atmosphere  slightly later than it would, being emitted by the steel works. But at least some fossil fuel oil did not need to be extracted, so some carbon was saved.
Another option would be for the CO2 to be used to cultivate crops, in a greenhouse, boosting the plants’ growth. That would again mean the CO2 would return to the atmosphere in due course, (once the food was eaten and the plant remains composted etc) but more slowly than if the CO2 was released by the steel plant. And food, efficiently grown, is needed.
The worst option is for that CO2 to be turned into jet fuel. Because it is likely that the emissions from aviation have around twice as much climate impact as just CO2 alone, when the non-CO2 impact is taken into account. That means burning a unit of fuel in a jet engine at high altitude produces around twice as much impact as burning that fuel at ground level.
Whichever form of jet fuel is burnt, whether from fossil or biological sources, once it is combusted in a jet engine  at over 25,000 feet or so altitude, it has a worse climate effect than that fuel being used on the ground.  Better therefore for the gases from steel plants to be used for terrestrial uses – ideally where the carbon is contained and stored.
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Siemens to develop biofuel from steel industry gases

Manufacturing giant signs 10-year partnership with LanzaTech to commercialise gas to fuel technology

By BusinessGreen staff

20 Jun 2013

Siemens will work to develop biofuels from waste industrial gases after signing a 10-year cooperation deal with New Zealand technology company LanzaTech.

The two companies will work to commercialise and market the system for the steel industry, according to a joint statement released yesterday.

LanzaTech has developed a process that captures carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from steel mills and turns it into fuel and chemicals. Currently, these by-product gases are usually flared or used to generate on-site electricity.

The company says the technology can help reduce the 6.7 per cent of global CO2 emissions iron and steel industry contributes, while helping mills lower operating costs and meet environmental regulations.

Moreover, LanzaTech calculates the CO2 emissions of the technology are between 50 to 70 per cent lower than petroleum-based fuels and about a third lower than when the gases are converted into electricity on-site.

The deal will see Siemens help design mills that can incorporate LanzaTech’s technology or work out how to retrofit it onto existing facilities. In addition, the two companies are “already pursuing several commercial gas fermentation project opportunities around the world”, according to their statement.

Dr Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of LanzaTech, said the partnership would “improve the value and environmental footprint” of the global steel industry.

“Global demand for affordable and sustainable energy has never been stronger,” she said. “Carbon emissions from steel mills can create an important new source of energy while simultaneously reducing emissions.”

The Auckland-based company has already trialled the technology at two pre-commercial plants in China and is planning to build two commercial-scale facilities in the country during this year, which should come online in 2014.

LanzaTech has already attracted high-profile customers for its biofuels including Virgin Atlantic. The carrier’s most recent sustainability report states the company is aiming to fly a demonstration flight using the fuel later this year and plans to “uplift fuel in commercial quantities by 2014”.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2276284/siemens-to-develop-biofuel-from-steel-industry-gases

 

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Earlier:

 

Virgin trials “revolutionary” biofuel made from waste gases

New fuel promises half the lifecycle emissions of standard jet fuel and could be used in international flights by 2014

By Will Nichols (Business Green)

11 Oct 2011

Virgin Atlantic today unveiled a “breakthrough” aviation fuel it claims has half the lifecycle carbon footprint of kerosene, the standard fossil fuel alternative.

Should a demonstration flight in the next 12 months prove successful, the airline said that within three years flights from Shanghai and Delhi to Heathrow could be using the fuel, which has been created by bio-technology firm LanzaTech.

The New Zealand-based company has pioneered a method of capturing waste gases from industrial steel production, which are then fermented and chemically converted for use as a jet fuel using technology developed bySwedish Biofuels.

LanzaTech reckons the process could be applied to around two-thirds of the world’s steel mills, as well as the metals processing and chemical industries.

The company said the reliance on industrial gases addresses the commonly levelled charge that biofuels drive land use change and can result in higher emissions and increased food prices.

The company is piloting the technology in New Zealand and aims to have commissioned a demonstration plant in Shanghai before the end of the year, ahead of commercial deployment in 2014.

“With oil running out, it is important that new fuel solutions are sustainable, and with the steel industry alone able to deliver over 15 billion gallons of jet fuel annually, the potential is very exciting,” said Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson in a statement. “This new technology is scalable, sustainable and can be commercially produced at a cost comparable to conventional jet fuel.”

Branson has long hailed the potential of greener fuels and only this weekdemanded better tax incentives to encourage the technology.

Under his leadership, Virgin Atlantic piloted the first commercial service using biofuels, flying from London to Amsterdam using a blend of jet fuel and biofuel made from coconut oil and babassu oil in February 2008.

The airline has also set itself a goal of cutting carbon emissions 30 per cent per passenger km by 2020 and said the new fuel from LanzaTech could help take it “well beyond” that pledge.

Qantas and Air New Zealand have also experimented with alternative fuels, as the region increasingly becomes a green jet fuel hub. A study earlier this year predicted Australasia could be home to a green jet fuel industry worth £1.3bn a year and supporting 12,000 jobs by 2030.

However, some environmentalists remain concerned that if used at large scale green jet fuels could still contribute to land use change and as such governments should step up efforts to discourage flying.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2116139/virgin-trials-revolutionary-biofuel-waste-gases

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Virgin plans for new aviation fuel made from waste gas from steel production

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=462011.10.2011 (Flight Global)Virgin Atlantic is to develop a low carbon aviation fuel, which it hope will
have half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative.  It is
developing the fuel with LanzaTech and claims it is a breakthrough. The fuel will
use waste gases from industrial steel production which will be captured,  and
chemically converted (Fischer Tropsch) using Swedish Biofuels technology for use
as a jet fuel. The gas otherwise would be burnt/vented to produce CO2.http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/virgin-engages-in-low-carbon-fuel-partnership-363239/ 

 

 

Read more »

Open letter to MEPs from civil society groups and NGOs calls for a change in EU biofuels policy

A large number of European environmental organisations have written an open letter to MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) asking them to make crucial changes to the EU biofuels policy. The policy is not only failing in its basic objective of cutting CO2 emissions from Europe’s transport, but is also costing governments and taxpayers €10 billion in support every year.  The letter says instead EU biofuel policy exacerbates land grabs, deforestation, hunger and poverty. It questions how it can be justified to support this ineffective policy with so much public money. The letter asks MEPs to halt the expansion of land-based biofuels in transport; to fully account for the lifetime carbon emissions of biofuels, including their indirect land use impacts; and to phase out subsidies and public support for environmentally damaging biofuels. Airlines are interested in using more biofuel, though flights so far using oils that have competing human food use have been minimal.

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Open letter to MEPs calling for a change in EU biofuels policy

June 12, 2013

This open letter, signed by a large group of civil society groups and NGOs, calls on Members of the European Parliament to make crucial changes to the EU biofuels policy. The policy is not only failing in its basic objective of cutting CO2 emissions from Europe’s transport, but is also costing governments and taxpayers €10 billion in support every year.

EU biofuels policy is failing

The letter was signed by:

ActionAid
BirdLife International CIDSE
Client Earth
CAN Europe
European Environmental Bureau
Friends of the Earth, Europe
Greenpeace
Oxfam
Transport & Environment
WWF

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Aviation, biofuel, camelina, palm oil

The aviation industry is keen to use biofuels in future, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions, so the industry can continue to grow, even with carbon restrictions. There have been some claims that 10, 20, 30, 40% of aviation fuel could be biofuel by 2050 or so – though these levels are highly unlikely.

Aviation does not yet use land-based biofuels, though some airlines have carried out test flights using various biofuels. Recently United Airlines announced it would be buying huge volumes of biofuel from what it describes vaguely as “non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes”.  It appears that the oil is likely to camelina. Several US state governments are pushing camelina for biofuels.  Camelina is edible but growing it in larger monocultures is pretty experimental.  It looks a bit like oilseed rape but the yields are much lower, so it requires a lot more  land.  It seems a matter of debate whether it could be said not to compete with food, or therefore have indirect land use impacts.

China Eastern airlines have carried out a flight using palm oil, and are likely to do more.

 

 

United hopes to buy 5 million gallons of biofuel per year from AltAir Fuels – from “non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes”?

Date added: June 6, 2013

US United Airlines has announced that it has executed a definitive purchase agreement with USA-based AltAir Fuels to buy allegedly “sustainable”advanced biofuels at commercial scale. In the partnership AltAir Fuels will retrofit part of an existing petroleum refinery near Los Angeles to produce some 30 million gallons per year, partly of jet fuel and partly other diesel fuel. United has agreed to buy 5 million gallons of the jet fuel each year, for 3 years, starting in 2014, with the option to buy more. United has agreed a price for the fuel that is competitive with traditional, petroleum-based jet fuel. United says it will use this biofuel on flights from Los Angeles. The refinery will use the Honeywell Green Jet process. All they say about the feedstock is that it will be using “non-edible natural oils [which is probably camelina] and agricultural wastes” but they claim the fuel will have ” at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis” compared to conventional kerosene. Back in 2012 there was no mention of not competing with food crops, and in 2011 there was a flight using Solarzyme fuel of unknown source.    Click here to view full story…

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China Eastern Airlines carries out test flight using palm oil – and is considering more

Date added: May 24, 2013

China Eastern Airlines has conducted a first test flight of a biofuel blend sourced and produced in China. The fuel was produced from used cooking oil and palm oil though one source says the fuel for this flight was just palm oil, as its processing is cheaper than processing used cooking oil. The use of palm oil as jet fuel has serious environmental problems, due to the loss of tropical rainforest to produce palm oil plantations, which leads to high carbon emissions. The destruction of rainforest causes substantial biodiversity loss. The use of palm oil for jet fuel also conflicts with food use of palm oil. Palm oil is an inappropriate fuel for aviation, and more responsible airlines have not used it. For any biofuel to be environmentally sustainable they would need to be produced from feedstocks that have no impact on biodiversity, land and water use – as well as having lower lifetime carbon emissions. The airline says, in one report, that it will begin to fly commercial services on 100% biofuels. Until now biofuels have been used in combination with traditional jet fuel from fossil sources. China Eastern has not yet released a timetable of when the commercial services will begin.

Click here to view full story…

 

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and a bit of history:

New study predicts future consequences of a global biofuels program

23.10.2009   (EurekAlert)

Carbon emissions caused by the displacement of food crops and pastures may be
twice as much as those from lands devoted to biofuels production

MBL, WOODS HOLE,

A report examining the impact of a global biofuels program on greenhouse gas
emissions during the 21st century has found that carbon loss stemming from the
displacement of food crops and pastures for biofuels crops may be twice as much
as the CO2 emissions from land dedicated to biofuels production
.

The study, led by Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Jerry Melillo,
also predicts that increased fertilizer use for biofuels production will cause
nitrous oxide emissions (N2O) to become more important than carbon losses, in
terms of warming potential, by the end of the century.

Using a global modeling system that links economic and biogeochemistry data,
Melillo, MBL research associate David Kicklighter, and their colleagues examined
the effects of direct and indirect land-use on greenhouse gas emissions as the
production of biofuels increases over this century. They report their findings
in the October 22 issue of Science Express.

Direct land-use emissions are generated from land committed solely to bioenergy
production. Indirect land-use emissions occur when biofuels production on cropland
or pasture displaces agricultural activity to another location, causing additional
land-use changes and a net increase in carbon loss.

No major countries currently include carbon emissions from biofuel-related land-use
changes in their carbon loss accounting and there is concern about the practicality
of including such losses in a system designed to reduce fossil-fuel emissions.
Moreover, methods to assess indirect land-use emissions are controversial. All
quantitative analyses to date have either ignored indirect emissions altogether,
considered those associated from crop displacement from a limited area, confused
indirect emissions with direct or general land-use emissions, or developed estimates
based on a static framework of today’s economy.

Using a modeling system that integrates global land-use change driven by multiple
demands for land and that includes dynamic greenhouse-gas accounting, Melillo
and his colleagues factored in a full suite of variables, including the potential
of net carbon uptake from enhanced land management, N2O emissions from the increased use of fertilizer, environmental effects on carbon storage, and the economics
of land conversion.

“Our analysis, which we think is the most comprehensive to date, shows that direct
and indirect land-use changes associated with an aggressive global biofuels program
have the potential to release large quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere,”
says Melillo.

Melillo and his colleagues simulated two global land-use scenarios in the study.
In Case 1, natural areas are converted to meet increased demand for biofuels
production land. In Case 2, there is less willingness to convert land and existing
managed land is used more intensely. Both scenarios are linked to a global climate
policy that would control greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel sources to
stabilize CO2 concentrations at 550 parts per million, a target often talked about
in climate policy discussions. Under such a climate policy, fossil fuel use would
become more expensive and the introduction of biofuels would accelerate, ultimately
increasing the size of the biofuels industry and causing additional effects on
land use, land prices, and food and forestry production and prices.

The model predicts that, in both scenarios, land devoted to biofuels will become
greater than the total area currently devoted to crops by the end of the 21st
century. Case 1 will result in more carbon loss than Case 2, especially at mid-century.
In addition, indirect land use will be responsible for substantially greater carbon
losses (up to twice as much) than direct land use.

“Large greenhouse gas emissions from these indirect land-use changes are unintended
consequences of a global biofuels program; consequences that add to the climate-change
problem rather than helping to solve it,” says Melillo “As our analysis shows,
these unintended consequences are largest when the clearing of forests is involved.”

In their model, Melillo and his colleagues also simulated N2O emissions from
the additional fertilizer that will be required to grow biofuel crops in the future.
They found that over the century, N2O emissions will surpass CO2 in terms of warming
potential. By 2100, Melillo and his team estimate that in both study scenarios,
biofuels production will account for more than half of the total N2O emissions
from fertilizer. “Best practices for the use of nitrogen fertilizer, such as synchronizing
fertilizer application with plant demand, can reduce N2O emissions associated
with biofuels production,” the scientists say.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-10/mbl-ns102009.php#

 

see also

“Biofuel production can be climate-friendly says U.N.E.P.”

What the UNEP report actually says is this:

“Increased biofuel production is expected to have large impacts on biological
diversity in the coming decades, mostly as a result of habitat loss, increased
invasive species and nutrient pollution.”

“Clearing the natural vegetation mobilises the stocked carbon and may lead to
a carbon debt, which could render the overall GHG mitigation effect of biofuels
questionable for the following decades.”

“there is a potential risk for competition between food and fuel, and consequences
on food prices as a result.”

“For net consuming regions like the EU and countries like Germany, models have
shown that an increased use of biofuels would lead to an overall increase in absolute
global cropland requirements. This implies that if biofuels are produced on existing
cropland, other production – in particular for serving the growing food demand
beyond the capacities to increase yields – will be displaced to other areas (“indirect
land use”). As long as the global cropland required for agricultural based consumption
grows, displacement effects, land conversion and related direct and indirect impacts
may not be avoided through selected production standards for biofuels.”

“Clearing the natural vegetation mobilises the stocked carbon and may lead to
a carbon debt, which could render the overall GHG mitigation effect of biofuels
questionable for the following decades.

The total CO2 emissions from 10% of the global diesel and gasoline consumption
during 2030 was estimated at 0.84 Gt CO2, of which biofuels could substitute 0.17
to 0.76 Gt CO2 (20-90%), whereas the annual CO2 emissions from direct land conversion
alone are estimated to be in the range of 0.75 to 1.83 Gt CO2.”

You can read the report at:

http://www.unep.fr/energy/bioenergy/documents/pdf/Assessing%20Biofuels-full%20report-Web.pdf

Read more »

United hopes to buy 5 million gallons of biofuel per year from AltAir Fuels – from “non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes”?

US United Airlines has announced that it has executed a definitive purchase agreement with USA-based AltAir Fuels to buy allegedly “sustainable”advanced biofuels at commercial scale. In the partnership AltAir Fuels will retrofit part of an existing petroleum refinery near Los Angeles to produce some 30 million gallons per year, partly of  jet fuel and partly other diesel fuel.  United has agreed to buy 5 million gallons of the jet fuel each  year, for 3 years, starting in 2014, with the option to buy more. United has agreed a price for the fuel that is competitive with traditional, petroleum-based jet fuel. United says it will use this biofuel on flights from Los Angeles. The refinery will use the Honeywell Green Jet process. All they say about the feedstock is that it will be using “non-edible natural oils [probably camelina] and agricultural wastes” but they claim the fuel will have ” at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis” compared to conventional kerosene. Back in 2012 there was no mention of not competing with food crops, and in 2011 there was a flight using Solarzyme fuel of unknown source.

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United Airlines teams with AltAir Fuels on biofuels initiative

Jun 05, 2013 (Ein)

Chicago-based carrier United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) said it executed a definitive purchase agreement with Seattle, USA-based AltAir Fuels for sustainable advanced biofuels at commercial scale.

Under the strategic partnership, AltAir Fuels will retrofit part of an existing petroleum refinery to become a 30m gallon, advanced biofuel refinery near Los Angeles, Calif. AltAir will produce low-carbon, renewable jet fuel and other renewable products.

United said it has collaborated with AltAir Fuels since 2009 and has agreed to buy 15m gallons of renewable jet fuel over a three-year period, with the option to purchase more.

The airline is purchasing the advanced biofuel at a price competitive with traditional, petroleum-based jet fuel, and AltAir expects to begin delivering five million gallons of renewable jet fuel per year to United starting in 2014. United will use the biofuel on flights operating out of its Los Angeles hub.

AltAir has partnered with an existing oil refiner for the operation of its first commercial facility and use of the refiner’s existing refinery near Los Angeles, Calif.

This partnership is taking idled refining equipment and retooling it to increase the nation’s energy supply positively impacting the southern California economy and providing the opportunity to sustainably power LAX flights.

Through process technology developed by Honeywell’s, AltAir is retrofitting the existing refinery to produce renewable biofuel. AltAir has worked extensively with Honeywell’s UOP to demonstrate the commercial viability of the Honeywell Green Jet process.

Utilising this technology, licensed from UOP, the AltAir facility aims to be the first refinery internationally to be capable of in-line production of both renewable jet and diesel fuels.

The facility will convert non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes into approximately 30 m gallons of low-carbon, advanced biofuels and chemicals per year.

United said that the advanced biofuels are drop-in replacements for petroleum-based fuel, requiring no modification to factory-standard engines or aircraft, with which they are fully compatible.

This fuel provides the same performance as conventional, petroleum-based jet fuel. AltAir Fuels’ renewable jet fuel is expected to achieve at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, it said.

For more information visit www.united.com/ecoskies and www.altairfuels.com.

http://world.einnews.com/article/152949131/bmX5AmstLsp0JYbS

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Comment from a member of Biofuel watch

AltAir got a $2m grant from the US government to design a refinery in California so that it could turn camelina oil into jet fuel.  This was supposed to have opened in 2012 but I can’t find any indication that it has been.  Several US state governments are pushing camelina for biofuels.  Camelina is edible but growing it in larger monocultures is pretty experimental.  It looks a bit like oilseed rape but the yields are much lower, so it requires a lot more  land.  So whether AltAir will deliver any biofuels by 2014 – and whether those will actually be from camelina remains to be seen.

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in 2011 –
AltAir announces camelina biofuels project in California

August 23, 2011

In California, AltAir Fuels plans to build a biojet plant in Bakersfield that will begin producing fuel in 2012. As a result, farmers in the Central and San Joaquin valleys are being encouraged to grow 25,000 acres of camelina under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

The five-year contracts are being offered by the US Farm Service Agency with a base-soil-rental-plus-50 percent incentive which could see farmers average $400 per acre for growing camelina. Another 25,000 acres are expected to enroll in the program for camelina growing in Washington and Montana.

http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/08/23/altair-announces-camelina-biofuels-project-in-california/

 

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United Airlines and AltAir Fuels to Bring Commercial-Scale, Cost-Competitive Biofuels to Aviation Industry

a long, waffly article with little actual content, about this biofuel announcement, from United.

United executes definitive purchase agreement for 15 million gallons of cost-competitive, commercial-scale, sustainable aviation biofuel to be used on flights departing LAX in 2014
AltAir Fuels’ renewable jet fuel expected to achieve at least a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis

CHICAGO, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines today executed a definitive purchase agreement with AltAir Fuels for cost-competitive, sustainable, advanced biofuels at commercial scale, representing a historic milestone for aviation. With United’s strategic partnership, AltAir Fuels will retrofit part of an existing petroleum refinery to become a 30 million gallon, advanced biofuel refinery near Los Angeles, Calif. AltAir will produce low-carbon, renewable jet fuel and other renewable products.

……. and it goes on  ……. and on …… with no information whatsoever about the the feedstock for the fuels, what it will be (other than “non-edible oils and agricultural wastes” ) or where they will come from – and what other use they will have be diverted from.

………

About AltAir Fuels

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, AltAir Fuels (www.altairfuels.com) develops and operates projects for the production of low carbon fuels and chemicals derived from sustainable feedstocks. Its first project, a 30 million gallon per year facility is located near Los Angeles in southern California and will produce renewable jet and diesel fuel as well as other green intermediate chemicals. Jesta Group is the lead investor in AltAir.

Jesta Group is a diversified company with significant holdings in all classes of real estate and hospitality as well as in other important sectors of the economy, notably in the fields of manufacturing, technology and aviation. Jesta Group’s principal offices are located in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Montreal and Los Angeles, having operations in 26 countries. Jesta Group’s President, Jason Aintabi, serves as Chairman of the board of AltAir.

 

http://ir.unitedcontinentalholdings.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=83680&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1826859&highlight

 

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Earlier

United Airlines (Continental) biofuel flight on 7th Nov and Alaska Airlines on 9th Nov

6.11.2011The United flight is a Boeing 737-800 from Houston to Chicago, using 40% Solarzyme fuel, with allegedly “sustainable” of unknown composition. The Alaska Airlines’ 1st commercial  biofuel flight is Seattle to Washington. Alaska & its sister, Horizon Air, plan to fly 75 “selected” flights over the next few weeks using 20% fuel made from used cooking oil (a gimmick, as there is so little of the stuff) made by Dynamic Fuels. The fuel companies are in a race to scale up profitably.  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4678 .and

 

US Senate Airmed Services Committee votes that US military cannot use biofuel, due to price

May 27th, 2012

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted on May 24 to prohibit the US military from buying biofuel. This is only because it is more expensive than conventional fuels.  There had been much hope by the American biofuels industry that the US military would be an early adopting large customer, and get them going. The committee’s majority also voted to stop the Department of Defense from building its own biofuel refinery. However, United Airlines, Boeing, and UOP (part of Honeywell) have joined with the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust to form MASBI, the the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative, They plan to “unlock the Midwest’s economic potential for advanced biofuels ” etc etc. probably from crops. No mention of not competing with food etc, just creating jobs. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1995

United, Boeing and UOP Join Big Push for Biofuels

 

 

 

Read more »

China Eastern Airlines carries out test flight using palm oil – and is considering more

China Eastern Airlines has conducted a first test flight of a biofuel blend sourced and produced in China. The fuel was produced from used cooking oil and palm oil though one source says the fuel for this flight was just palm oil, as its processing  is cheaper than processing used cooking oil.  The use of palm oil as jet fuel has serious environmental problems, due to the loss of tropical rainforest to produce palm oil plantations, which leads to high carbon emissions. The destruction of rainforest causes substantial biodiversity loss. The use of palm oil for jet fuel also conflicts with food use of palm oil. Palm oil is an inappropriate fuel for aviation, and more responsible airlines have not used it. For any biofuel to be environmentally sustainable they would need to be produced from feedstocks that have no impact on biodiversity, land and water use – as well as having lower lifetime carbon emissions. The airline says, in one report, that  it will begin to fly commercial services on 100% biofuels. Until now biofuels have been used in combination with traditional jet fuel from fossil sources.   China Eastern has not yet released a timetable of when the commercial services will begin.

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“China Eastern extends its environmental responsibilities [sic] with biofuel test flight and fuel-saving Sharklet wing-tips”

Thu 23 May 2013 (GreenAir online)

China Eastern Airlines has conducted a first test flight of a biofuel blend sourced and produced in China.

The airline carried out the 85-minute flight from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport using an Airbus A320 aircraft following a series of ground-based engine performance tests of the CAAC-certified fuel. The hybrid China Jet Biofuel-1 product, made up of used cooking oil and palm oil, was developed jointly by China Eastern, China Petroleum Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and China Aviation Oil Holding Company, with Sinopec producing and supplying the blended fuel.

The airline has also just taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel-saving wing-tip devices, becoming China’s first carrier to do so. It says it is committed to being a domestic industry leader in environmental protection. [sic]

The biofuel test flight crew, selected from the airline’s most experienced personnel, carried out biofuel temperature measurements during the cruise phase, impact of the biofuel at altitude and pre-flight and post-flight checks of the engine probes and ports. Other data were recorded during the flight to assess quality, safety and fuel economy, reports the airline.

“This is a breakthrough as well as a milestone for Chinese civil aviation in terms of our own development of aviation biofuel production,” China Eastern Airlines’ Michelle Lipan told GreenAir. “As a trend-setting air carrier in China, we are committed to fulfilling our social responsibilities in terms of environmental protection and sustainable development.” [An unbelievable comment, from an airline burning palm oil as fuel. Stunning greenwash. AirportWatch comment].

The airline, one of China’s largest, became the first Airbus operator in 1985 and now operates a fleet of over 230 Airbus aircraft. The Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre has delivered 126 new aircraft since June 2009 and plans to deliver 46 more this year. Delivered and entering commercial service last week, the China Eastern Sharklet-fitted A320 was also the first such aircraft assembled by the Centre. The airline says it is planning 97 more aircraft to be fitted with the devices, which Airbus says can save operators up to four per cent fuel burn on longer range sectors.

Next year, China Eastern will begin its trans-Pacific fleet renewal programme, replacing four-engined Airbus A340 aircraft with twin-engined Boeing 777s, which it estimates will save around one ton of fuel per hour.

The airline is also undertaking other environmental efforts and last year became a Chinese civil aviation pioneer of Less Paper Cockpits, and Level-1 Electronic Flight Bags have been introduced into its A330 fleet. China Eastern has also started using natural and biodegradable materials in its cabin catering.

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1693

Links:
China Eastern Airlines
Airbus – Winglets

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Chinese airline to start biofuel-powered commerical flights

Move comes after China Eastern Airlines conducts successful trial of Sinopac-produced fuel made from palm oil and recycled cooking oil

By BusinessGreen staff

25 Apr 2013

China Eastern Airlines has said it plans to introduce biofuel-powered commercial flights, after yesterday completing its first successful trial of green aviation fuel.

An Airbus A320 landed at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport yesterday morning after completing an 85-minute flight using a biofuel made from a blend of palm oil and recycled cooking oil produced by Sinopec.

State media reported that Captain Liu Zhimin, who piloted Wednesday’s flight, performed several extreme manoeuvres but found no significant difference between the biofuel and standard aviation fuel.

China Daily also said the compannow plans to introduce biofuel to commercial flights, although the timetable for the roll-out remains unclear.

“We have developed two kinds of biofuel, palm oil and waste cooking oil, and the fuel we used during this flight was palm oil,” Huang Zhongwen, deputy director of publicity for Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co, told China Daily.

“We have the capability of turning waste cooking oil into jet fuel, although the cost will be higher than producing ordinary fuel.”

The trial by China Eastern Airlines, the country’s second largest carrier by passenger numbers, follows a 2011 Air China demonstration of fuel produced from domestically grown energy crop jatropha.

Several other major carriers, including KLM, Lufthansa, BA and United, have also conducted experiments with greener fuels from various feedstocks to counter rising oil prices and tackle the sector’s emissions.

And earlier this month, the White House extended a programme to support the production of one billion gallons (3.8 billion litres) of aviation biofuels by 2018.

Fuels made from products such as cooking oil, waste or algae are considered more sustainable as they do not compete with food production, although question marks remain over palm oil, which in some cases has been linked to rainforest destruction.

Experts maintain that if aviation biofuels are to prove environmentally sustainable they will ultimately need to be produced from feedstocks that have a limited impact on land and water use.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2264028/chinese-airline-to-start-biofuelpowered-commerical-flights

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China conducts its first successful bio-fueled airline flight

Published: April 24, 2013 at 7:33 PM

SHANGHAI, (UPI) — China says is has successfully conducted its first airline flight powered by self-developed biofuel made mainly from palm oil and recycled cooking oil.

An Airbus A320 operated by China Eastern Airlines landed at Shanghai Wednesday after an 85-minute journey using aviation biofuel produced by Sinopec, the country’s top oil refiner, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

China is the fourth country, after the United States, France and Finland, to produce bio-jet-fuel.

The biofuel produced sufficient power during the test flight and “was no different from traditional fuels,” Capt. Liu Zhimin and co-pilot Zhou Xiaoqing said.

If it passes reviews by the Flight Criteria Department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Sinopec will be granted the country’s first permit of its kind for commercial use of biofuel, officials said.

Company spokesman Lyu Dapeng acknowledged the cost of refining aviation biofuel is currently higher than that for conventional fuels, but said alternative fuel will become mainstream.

The International Air Transport Association has forecast 30 percent of aviation fuel will be biofuel by 2020, Xinhua reported.

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Technology/2013/04/24/China-conducts-its-first-successful-bio-fueled-airline-flight/UPI-64331366846421/

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China Eastern Airlines has announced that it will begin to fly commercial services on 100% biofuels. Until now biofuels have been used for flights in combination with traditional jet fuel from fossil sources.   China Eastern has not yet released a timetable of when the commercial services will begin.

http://sustain.publicsectortravel.org.uk/2013/05/02/china-eastern-to-operate-flights-on-100-biofuels/

 

Read more »

Heathrow and Gatwick submit their responses on Aviation & Climate Change to Airports Commission

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have submitted their responses to the Aviation Commission’s discussion paper on Aviation and Climate Change. Both base their aspirations of high growth rates over coming decades on evidence from the industry body “Sustainable Aviation”.  Not surprisingly, both airports’ submissions are attempts to justify the unjustifiable: to claim that emitting huge amounts more carbon dioxide can be achieved with no net emissions, by various probable and improbable means.  They hope improvements in efficiency by airlines and air traffic control, as well as improved aircraft design, will cut their emissions. They place unrealistic hopes in “sustainable” biofuels, with Gatwick’s submission saying “…by 2050, sustainable fuels could offer between 15 and 24% reduction in CO2 emissions attributable to UK aviation.” Gatwick also wants considerable Government support (ie public expense) to develop biofuels for the industry. And both depend to an enormous extent on international agreements through ICAO, and systems for carbon trading that do not currently exist.

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Heathrow: UK aviation can grow and meet climate change targets

15 May, 2013  (Heathrow)

The Heathrow response to the Airport Commission’s discussion paper on Aviation & Climate Change is at  Heathrow response
Aircraft Blue Sky 2
Heathrow says:

Growing the UK’s airport hub capacity is consistent with meeting UK climate change targets, according to Heathrow’s response to the ‘Aviation and Climate Change’ discussion paper published by the Airports Commission.

The response, submitted today, cites projections by Sustainable Aviation1, [see below for their Roadmap graphic]  the UK aviation cross-industry association, that new aircraft and engine technology, operational efficiencies and sustainable biofuels will allow the UK to more than double air traffic by 2050 without a substantial increase in gross emissions [very optimistic on biofuels which, in reality, are not likely to be available in large amounts] consistent with the UK’s long term legally set climate change targets. Together these developments have already improved fuel efficiency by over 70 per cent in the last 40 years2.  [In reality, the older planes were more fuel efficient. Then the new jets took over, which were fuel inefficient; and the new improvements are only getting back now to where they were 40 years ago ….]

If international carbon trading is added to these factors, Sustainable Aviation forecasts that emissions over time would actually be reduced, achieving the global industry’s commitment to halve 2005 carbon emissions by 20502 [ ie. depending on carbon trading with other sectors to negate aviation carbon emissions. Not real cuts. by the industry – just hoping to buy permits from other sectors which actually make carbon cuts.]

Heathrow’s submission adds that constraining growth at a hub airport is an inefficient and ineffective way of reducing carbon emissions for three reasons:

  • Without additional UK hub capacity, passengers will still travel, but in less carbon efficient ways, so carbon will not be cut. UK long-haul passengers will have to transfer through EU hubs, adding an additional landing and take-off to each journey – the most carbon-intensive part of a flight. International passengers travelling to the UK may need to detour via a European hub, adding extra miles to long-haul routes. The Airports Commission concludes that by 2030, the carbon emissions from increased transfer trips would exceed any carbon savings made by those that would choose not to travel3. In addition, the UK would lose the economic benefits of direct connections.
  • All sectors need to play a role in reducing carbon emissions. Aviation delivers more than twice the economic value per tonne of carbon compared to other sectors [very unscientific figure – how could such a general claim be justified? how exactly were the figures derived? work done by Frontier Economics  on 2009 data]  so there is greater value-for-money in reducing carbon emissions in other non-transport areas4.
  • The unique long-haul routes from the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow, deliver over twice the economic value per carbon tonne from trade and tourism compared to those from other UK airports4.

 

The existing transport infrastructure around Heathrow also provides additional carbon emissions benefits compared to other UK hub options.

The submission shows that, even if development of Stansted or a new Thames Estuary airport included significant investment in new transport infrastructure, Heathrow would still have 4.5million more people within a 60minute public transport catchment area than either airport. This means passengers and staff would create a significantly smaller carbon footprint when travelling to and from Heathrow.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability Director, says: ‘Our submission argues that it is possible to grow the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow, without exceeding the UK’s long term climate change targets. This is thanks to exciting advances made by the aviation industry across technology, operational procedures and sustainable fuels which have changed the impact of this industry for the better and will continue to do so in the future.’

Notes to editors

1Sustainable Aviation 2050 C02 Roadmap, 2012.
http://www.sustainableaviation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/SA-CO2-Road-Map-full-report-280212.pdf

2IATA, A global approach to reducing aviation emissions.http://www.iata.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Documents/Global_Approach_Reducing_Emissions_251109web.pdf

3Airports Commission, Discussion Paper 03: Aviation and Climate Change, April 2013.https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/186683/aviation-and-climate-change-paper.pdf

4The impact on the UK economy of reducing carbon emissions in Aviation, by Frontier Economics, 2011. Commissioned by Heathrow Airport. www.heathrowairport.com/mediacentre

 

http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Heathrow-UK-aviation-can-grow-and-meet-climate-change-targets-554.aspx


The Heathrow response to the Airport Commission’s discussion paper on Aviation & Climate Change is at  Heathrow response


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[Heathrow comments, under the effects of climate change, that ….. “that the material consideration is the risk of sea level rise for any potential future airport option at a coastal or estuary location and we suggest that this is an issue which the Commission might take into account.”

There will have to be a horrific level of climate change to cause that degree of sea level rise. Can aviation really justify its continued growth when the climate, and the sea level has already risen that much? ]

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Gatwick Airport’s response to the Commission’s Aviation & Climate Change discussion paper

…..   Gatwick has also separately submitted its response to the Airports Commission on Aviation and Climate Change – an area of key importance and focus for the airport. While there is much work to be done by the whole industry to manage climate change issues, innovation is already taking place in areas such as aircraft technology, which is reducing C02 levels. Within its submission, Gatwick has reiterated its commitment to its sustainability programme ‘Decade of Change’ and highlighted the use of biofuels as a key focus for the Airports Commission to consider for the future.

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/

London Gatwick’s full submission is at Aviation and Climate Change

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Gatwick airport, like Heathrow, places huge faith in biofuels to solve their future carbon problems. The Gatwick submission says (page 8)

We also believe that the DfT forecast for penetration of biofuels is too low. We endorse and the support the figure outlined in the Sustainable Aviation CO2 road map. We fully expect that penetration will be greater than 2.5% by 2050 particularly if the Government provides more support in this area in line with the approach outlined in SA’s CO2 road map.

Accordingly, we believe that by 2050, sustainable fuels could offer between 15 and 24% reduction in CO2 emissions attributable to UK aviation. This assumption is based on a 25-40% penetration of sustainable fuels into the global aviation fuel market, coupled with a 60% life-cycle CO2 saving per litre of fossil kerosene displaced.

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The sort of reasoning that Gatwick and Heathrow use to justify large aviation expansion in future can be seen from these graphics:

Sustainable Aviation road map

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From the Gatwick submission:

Gatwick airport climate submission May 2013

Another comment that reveals the tone of the response is (page 11):

“Behavioural change is not an approach supported by Gatwick. We believe the long term solution to managing the industry’s carbon emissions lies in delivering alternative low CO2 fuels in conjunction with other technological advancements. This will allow aviation to grow and meet demands from passengers in a sustainable manner ensuring the economic prosperity of the UK. ”

 

and

“…….the most compelling opportunity for the UK to exert an influence over CO2 emissions from aviation is not by constraining demand for UK aviation, but rather through investment in advanced technologies which can be deployed globally, earning export revenues for the UK while contributing to a more environmentally efficient industry world-wide. This would then allow for sustainable growth in the UK aviation sector ensuring UK connectivity and protecting the valuable contribution the industry makes to the economy.”

 

and

“The industry has already demonstrated significant carbon savings. Analysis by IATA (IATA, 2010) has shown that global commercial airline fuel efficiency has improved by over 30% in the past two decades, saving over 400 million tonnes of CO2 per annum at current activity levels, relative to the fleet efficiency in 1990. In contrast, total annual emissions of CO2 attributable to UK aviation correspond to less than one tenth of this figure. In line with
IPCC (sic) we believe that aviation can grow by around 60% and still achieve the Governments (sic) carbon emissions reduction targets.”

“However in order to achieve this sustainable growth, there need to be continued technological advances and developments and there will need to be significantly more support from Government to develop alternative fuels and a workable solution to carbon trading. These measures combined with the operational savings achievable from airspace changes and efficiencies in ground operations, will deliver the headroom which enables the industry to grow, whilst achieving the governments (sic) emission targets.”

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Norwegian aviation industry hopes for large volumes of biojet fuel from timber and logging residues

A report on possible production of aviation biofuel from Norwegian forests has been published. Conducted by Rambøll,  it was commissioned by Norwegian airport operator Avinor, along with airlines SAS and Norwegian, and the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries.  The report concludes that cost-competitive, large-scale production of aviation biofuels might be viable in Norway between 2020 and 2025. There is, of course, an immense resource of timber in Norway, and of logging residues. The report considers two processes – either Fischer-Tropsch + gasification, or the refining of bio-alcohols to Jet A-1 fuel.  Norway wants to cut its aviation emissions by 10-15% by 2020-25, which would need some 190-250 million litres of biojet fuel.  To produce that amount, there would need to be around 8-10 production plants with an annual output of 50 million litres each. To be profitable the plants would need to have added sales income from biodiesel and bionaphtha byproducts. There are a large number of economic and technological uncertainties about whether this scheme could ever happen, and if it would be financially viable. 

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Norwegian aviation industry sees potential in local production of sustainable jet fuels from forest biomass

Norwegian aviation industry sees potential in local production of sustainable jet fuels from forest biomass | Avinor,SAS,Norwegian,Ramboll 

(photo: Viken Skog)

Avinor – download report

Summary report in English 

 


Tue 7 May 2013 (GreenAir online)

A report commissioned by Norwegian airport operator Avinor, along with airlines SAS and Norwegian, and the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries, concludes that cost-competitive, large-scale production of sustainable aviation biofuels could be viable in the country between 2020 and 2025.

The assessment of land-based and marine feedstock in Norway shows that forest biomass is the most important feedstock on a near-term basis, with micro and macroalgae resources most probably not available in large volumes before 2025.

The report, conducted by Rambøll, considers two processes most suitable within the timeframe for a Norwegian value chain:  Fischer-Tropsch (FT) thermochemical processing and gasification of forest biomass, and the refining of bio-alcohols to Jet A-1 fuel (ATJ).

To reach the Norwegian aviation industry’s own 10-15% GHG-reduction targets by 2020-25, 190-250 million litres of renewable Jet A-1 are needed, an amount equal to biomass with an energy content of 6-8 TWh. [ TWh is a terawatt hour, with one terawatt being 1012   watts or 109  kilowatts – ie a billion kilowatts].  

Norwegian timber harvesting volumes towards 2020-25 will most likely remain on today’s level, with a 7 TWh increased harvesting potential, mainly from logging residues. If all of this should be processed, says the report, an amount of 230 million litres of Jet A-1 could be produced, depending on the processing technology utilised.

To produce this amount it would require around 8-10 production plants with an output of 50 million litres each, or fewer if larger ones employed. A feasibility study for suitable plant locations has been performed including the cost of logistics.

The price of FT-based Jet A-1 can be competitive with conventional Jet A-1 by 2025, finds independent consultancy Rambøll, provided there is crucial sales income from biodiesel and bionaphtha byproducts.

The estimated production costs in 2012 are 11 NOK/litre ($1.89/litre) for renewable Jet A-1, which is 5 NOK/litre ($0.86) higher than the present market price for fossil Jet A-1. The production cost is estimated to be 7 NOK/litre ($1.20) in 2025, broadly comparable with fossil Jet A-1 market forecasts. The income from the byproducts is estimated at 141 million NOK ($24.2m), based on today’s prices, which results in the lower production costs.

Given the economic and technological uncertainty related to sustainable biofuel production, cautions the report, it is necessary to carry out further calculations to estimate the profitability more precisely for a specific production plant.

ATJ, yet to be certified from commercial aviation use, is seen as a more expensive fuel, with current production costs around 27 NOK/litre, and Rambøll says there is not sufficient information about the quantities of byproducts from the process to estimate their sales income. Due to the immature technology and limited available process data, the level of uncertainty is high.

Life-cycle assessments have been calculated on both processes and Rambøll’s results conclude with an 81% climate reduction with FT fuels, compared to a 65% reduction from ATJ fuels, both within the EU 60% reduction sustainability criteria from new biofuel production plants after 2017.

“The technology and resources are available and flights using biofuel as an additive are commonplace, but there are still a number of problems related to production costs and climate impact which have to be resolved,” said Avinor CEO Dag Falk-Petersen. “Even so, the potential for biofuel production from Norwegian forests is so big that Avinor wants to play an active role in finding effective, sustainable solutions.”

Avinor said it was prepared to invest up to NOK 100 million ($17m) over a 10-year period into various projects and studies to help realise biofuel production. It has just signed a Letter of Intent with Viken Skog, a cooperative of Norwegian forest owners, to invest in an innovation centre that is tasked with looking into biofuel production opportunities.

The airport operator said it also envisages a number of incentives for airlines, including discounts, for airlines that want to start using biofuels.

“We have been in dialogue with a number of suppliers since the early 2000s and taken part in a large number of initiatives,” said Rickard Gustafson, CEO at SAS. “We are ready to use biofuels but the price has to be commercially acceptable and sustainability criteria have to be met so that we can reduce the overall GHG emissions of the air travel industry significantly.”

Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “The most important thing airlines can do to reduce emissions is to invest in more environmentally-friendly aircraft and to fill our tanks with biofuels. The problem at this time is that biofuel is difficult to get and very expensive. That means the industry’s biggest challenge is to find sustainable, cost-effective solutions which make environmentally-friendly fuels a viable alternative to fossil fuels.”

The Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries (NHO Luftfart) stressed other sources of influence were needed to realise biofuel opportunities.

“The Norwegian air travel industry needs to encourage industry and the authorities to help with the pioneering work needed to reduce GHG emissions from air travel,” said Torbjørn Lothe. “The airlines also want long-term deals for the purchase of biofuels if the price is competitive. Together, such factors open up major industrial opportunities for the Norwegian forestry industry.”

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1688

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NRDC says if airlines use biofuels they must commit only to those certified to internationally recognised standards

The Americal NRDC (the National Resources Defense Council) has produced a survey on the biofuel use of airlines so far. The NRDC argues that the aviation industry has a responsibility to use biofuels that are certified as sustainable (because the sector’s buying power has the potential to reshape the supply chain) and avoid the use of poorly sourced biofuels that drive deforestation and food insecurity. NRDC asked 22 airlines to respond to its questionnaire and got responses from just 12, which the group describes in a report on its findings as “discouraging”. Of those 12, only two airlines have committed to using Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuel (RSB) certification in their sourcing efforts. Of the perhaps 1 million gallons of biofuel used, or more,  research estimated that fewer than 30,000 gallons were deemed sustainable.  ie. perhaps 3%.  NRDC calls on airlines to publicly commit to source only 100% certified sustainable biofuel by 2015.

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Airlines must commit to using biofuels that have been certified to internationally recognised standards, says NRDC report

21 March 2013   (GreenAir online)

Although the entry of airlines into the biofuel marketplace is a significant step in the right direction, the sustainability of this development is of critical importance, says the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The US environmental group argues that the aviation industry has a responsibility to use biofuels that are certified as sustainable because the sector’s buying power has the potential to reshape the supply chain and avoid the use of poorly sourced biofuels that drive deforestation and food insecurity.

To assess airlines’ commitment to sustainability, the NRDC has just released its inaugural survey that provides analysis focused on airlines that have used, or say they are planning to use, biofuels in their operations.

Despite the sector’s pledge of support and recognition of the internationally recognised Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) standard, NRDC concludes that airlines must now commit to applying RSB certification, or another equivalent standard, in their aviation biofuel sourcing.

NRDC asked 22 airlines to respond to its questionnaire and received responses from just 12, which the group describes in a report on its findings as “discouraging”. Of those 12, 11 participate in the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), which is a member of RSB. However, the findings show only two airlines have committed to using RSB certification in their sourcing efforts. NRDC calls on airlines to publicly commit to source only 100% certified sustainable biofuel by 2015, or as soon as they initiate biofuel purchases if later than 2015.

“Making this commitment would build on the airlines’ positive work to date in studying and using sustainable biofuels,” says the report. “A robust requirement around certification is a necessary next step. The RSB certification standard is global, robust and appropriate for aviation biofuels, and we recommend the principle use of RSB certification. We strongly encourage all airlines intending to use biofuels to join the RSB and become directly engaged members.”

NRDC says that as large-volume buyers, airlines’ engagement would send important market signals that sustainability is critical and needed strong standards and verification. “Failure to engage with suppliers today and send clear signals risks exposure for all parties in the future once these supplies begin to scale.”

The majority of airlines surveyed were monitoring and researching the greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle emissions of biofuels and indirect land use change (ILUC), says NRDC, but fewer than half had publicly disclosed the GHG performance, volumes or sustainability of the biofuels they use. The report therefore calls for greater transparency, which would serve the dual purpose of building confidence with important stakeholders and sending a clear and consistent message to potential suppliers in the marketplace who were watching to see if airlines were fully committed to sourcing certified biofuels.

Attempts by the survey to compile a picture of the total volumes of aviation biofuels that have been used so far proved largely unsuccessful but NRDC’s background research indicates that the figure is between 600,000 and 2 million gallons across the industry. Follow-up research estimated that fewer than 30,000 gallons were deemed sustainable.

NRDC says the market for aviation biofuel is rising and will continue to grow significantly in the next decade. It cites the ambitious targets set by the US Department of Defense, the EU aim of using 600 million gallons of aviation biofuel a year by 2020 and China’s goal of 7.5 billion gallons by the same year (see chart below). “Even one-tenth of this projected growth would represent dramatic development for the aviation biofuels industry,” says the report.

As the development of aviation biofuels was still in its infancy, the airlines have not been named in the survey but NRDC says it is the first step in an ongoing effort to measure, monitor and communicate on the use of both sustainable biofuels and sustainability certification by airlines. “As the marketplace develops, we intend to publish airline names and their progress towards sourcing certified sustainable biofuels,” it says.

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Link:
NRDC ‘Aviation Biofuel Sustainability Survey’

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Published aviation biofuel targets in tonnes per annum from China, Europe and the United States (source: NRDC)

 

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1672

 

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Much more news on aviation and biofuels at Biofuels News

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New report from the Oakland Institute sounds alarm on aviation’s biofuel ambitions

A new report from the Oakland Institute, in California, cautions against the aviation industry’s goal to reduce its emissions by using biofuels in future. The report warns that this would bring an unprecedented expansion into biofuel production, more than likely in poorer countries, and involve the acceleration of land acquisitions already threatening the lives and livelihoods of people in developing countries. The report finds that both the potential environmental impact and toll on human lives has not been adequately factored into assessments and could cause new environmental and human disasters. This must not be allowed to happen though lack of foresight. Currently, biofuel is too scarce and expensive for serious commercial use in planes. To meet current aviation needs–let alone future increases in demand — it would take 270 million hectares of jatropha, produced on an area roughly the equivalent of one-third of Australia. The new report also looks at the drawbacks of used cooking as a source of commercial aviation fuel, and finds that even diverting all the used cooking oil in the US would keep American planes in the air for less than three days. It is not a serious future option. 


 

A serious report questioning aviation biofuels and especially the motives behind the airlines’ push for them.

A New Report, Eco-Skies, Sounds Alarm on Aviation Emissions Goals

Fuel from French fries and land grabs for biofuel are not the solution

“Eco-Skies: The Global Rush for Aviation Biofuel”

ecoskies_cover

 

18.3.2013 (Oakland Institute, California)

A new report from the Oakland Institute, Eco-Skies: The Global Rush for Aviation Biofuel, cautions against the ambitious goals of the aviation industry to reduce emissions by 2050.

The report finds that the pursuit of this goal will bring an unprecedented expansion into biofuel production, more than likely in poorer countries, and will involve the acceleration of land acquisitions already threatening the lives and livelihoods of people in developing countries.

On the surface, the idea of a strategy that relies heavily on renewable and ostensibly environmentally-friendly biofuel sounds like a positive step for the airline industry. If only it were based in fact and there was evidence to indicate future success. This new report finds that both the potential environmental impact and toll on human lives has not been adequately factored into assessments of this new goal. On the contrary, the pursuit of biofuels for the aviation industry’s fuel needs raises serious questions about the type of new environmental and human disasters this path could lead to.

A huge amount of fuel is needed to fly planes. Currently, biofuel is too scarce and expensive for serious commercial use. Lukas Ross, OI Fellow and author of the report, acknowledges that airlines are caught between economic constraints and environmental problems with fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. Airlines would like to see biofuels as the answer to both challenges, but, Ross says, “given the mind-boggling land requirements needed to meet the industry’s CO2 target, aviation biofuel has a price tag that neither people nor the planet should have to pay.”

To meet current aviation needs–let alone future increases in demand–it would take 270 million hectares of jatropha, produced on an area roughly the equivalent of one-third of Australia, or 25 times the amount expected to exist in 2015.

Even a quarter of the required area equals a Texas-size chunk of land that would no longer be available to grow food. Considering the sheer quantities of biofuel required compared to the amounts that currently exist, it is impossible to look into the future and guarantee that the drive to procure commercial quantities will not result in unsustainable, food security-threatening land grabs.

Perhaps to alleviate these fears, the airline industry founded the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), and signed a nonbinding pledge to only pursue biofuels in a way that protects biodiversity, does not compete with food, and ensures significant life cycle GHG reductions.

Although the pledge sounds good on paper, there are already reasonable questions about the social and environmental costs of the biofueled flights that have already flown (1,500 as of May 2012), and even more pointed questions about the possible costs if aviation biofuels are ever fully commercialized.

The new report also looks at the drawbacks of used cooking oil conversion as a source of commercial aviation fuel. The idea that planes can be powered with the same oil that McDonald’s uses to make its fries makes sustainability something novel and convenient that requires nothing in the way of lifestyle change.

The truth is that in 2010 the US produced 1,403.6 million pounds of used cooking oil– converting every drop into aviation biofuel would still only produce about 185 million gallons. Given that in 2012 the US alone consumed roughly 21 billion gallons of jet fuel, this means that diverting all the used cooking oil in the US would keep American planes in the air for less than three days.

Such an enormous gap between potential demand and available supply means that no airline can seriously contemplate used cooking oil as a path to sustainability.

“The airline industry, hungry for price stability and a green image, is in danger of creating an unprecedented demand for biofuel that could have catastrophic consequences for land rights, food security, and GHG emissions,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. “The production of biofuels is now the largest single purpose of land deals in the developing world. As low-income countries are encouraged to embrace commercial agriculture as a path out of poverty, a host of problems have erupted. Our research has exposed how poorly conceived economic development plans have led to greater food insecurity, forced displacement, and environmental damage.”

Eco-Skies thus gives analysts in the airline industry a warning to look closely at the data before the developing world is shouldering the human and environmental cost of poorly conceived solutions, yet once again.

Download the report (http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/eco-skies)

 

Download File:

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2013/03/18-1?print

The Oakland Institute is a policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in both national and international forums.

 


 

 

Table of biofuel flights up to May 2012from

http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OI_Report_Eco-Skies.pdf   page 6

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For more on biofuels and aviation see News   Stories showing the use of biofuels by airlines, test and commercial flights.  Aviation Biofuels News
 and also

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KLM to make one flight per week New York to Amsterdam for 6 months using 25% used cooking oil

KLM has announced that one of its weekly Boeing 777 flights from New York to Amsterdam – for 6 months – will now be made using 25% biofuel made from old cooking oil.  [Not clear if that is in one engine or both]. The first such flight was last Thursday on Flight KL642 flight from JFK to Schiphol. The fuel is provided by SkyNRG and the project has been supported by (what does that mean?) a raft of KLM partners, including Schiphol Group, Delta Air Lines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the companies in the KLM’s Corporate BioFuel Program. KLM has started marketing its new biofuel flights to corporate customers, so companies like Accenture, Heineken, Nike, and Philips who use the KLM  biofuel flights can say they have lower reported carbon emissions. There are only very limited supplies of used cooking oil, which is the only form of biofuel that can so far be regarded as environmentally sustainable. The industry’s hopes that it may be able to obtain huge amounts of so called “sustainable” fuels from algae are still years away.

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KLM debuts weekly transatlantic biofuel-powered flight

Dutch airline confirms weekly flights from New York to Amsterdam will use sustainable biofuels

By BusinessGreen staff

11 Mar 2013

plane-thinkstock-web

The fast-evolving market for aviation biofuels has reached another important milestone, after Dutch airline KLM announced one of its weekly flights from New York to Amsterdam will now be made using a sustainable biofuel made from old cooking oil.

The company announced late last week that Thursday’s Flight KL642 flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to Schiphol was made using biofuel, and confirmed the weekly flight will now continue to use the biofuel.

The fuel is to be provided by aviation biofuel specialist SkyNRG and the project has been supported by a raft of KLM partners, including Schiphol Group, Delta Air Lines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the companies in the airline’s Corporate BioFuel Program.

The news was welcomed by the Dutch Minister of Ecomomic Affairs, Henk Kamp, who hailed the project as evidence of KLM’s position as a “frontrunner in making air transportation more sustainable”.

KLM’s managing director, Camiel Eurlings, said the project was part of a wide-ranging initiative to deliver further carbon emissions reductions. “We are striving to achieve the ‘optimal flight’ together with research institutes, suppliers, airports, and air traffic control,” he said. “We are combining new and existing technologies, processes, and efficiency initiatives to achieve this.”

Significantly, KLM has started marketing its new biofuel flights to corporate customers. The company last year launched a service that allows corporate accounts such as Accenture, Heineken, Nike, and Philips who use the airline to fly using sustainable biofuel for a proportion of their flights, [They say 25% of the used cooking oil. But is that in one engine, or both engines?] effectively cutting their own reported emissions.

The flight is the latest development in an industry-wide push to develop lower carbon fuels that will allow the aviation sector to reduce its fast-increasing carbon footprint.

Airlines such as KLM, Delta, BA and Virgin Atlantic are all investing heavily in a wide range of projects to develop jet biofuels made from waste or algae.

Concerns have been raised as to whether sufficient quantities of biofuel can be developed to support the global industry, but researchers are confident algae-based biofuels in particular could one day deliver large quantities of low carbon fuel.

The research comes in response to mounting pressure from policy-makers and customers to aviation to curb its carbon impact, most notably in the form of the EU’s move to place a levy on airlines carbon emissions

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2253838/klm-debuts-weekly-transatlantic-biofuelpowered-flight

 

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Cooking Oil-Based Biofuel Powers Transatlantic KLM Flights

Mar 12th, 2013  (Day News)
KLM Boeing 777
…. Royal Dutch Airlines’ KLM has announced that regular flights between New York and Amsterdam would be flying on a mix of cooking oil-based biofuel and jet fuel.
…. The special mix of 25% used cooking oil and 75% jet fuel would be used once a week on a Boeing 777. The program is part of a test to be conducted over 25 roundtrip flights across the Atlantic. Every Thursday for the next six months, a regularly scheduled transatlantic flight will be using the 25%-75% mix.
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Flying on Biofuel

KLM has been working with cooking oil since 2009. On November 23, 2009, it flew the first demonstration flight with passengers. During the flight, the plane had one engine running on a 50% biofuel mix with camelina oil. This was followed on June 9, 2011 with a flight from Amsterdam to Paris with 171 paying passengers. This was the first ever commercial flight with a biofuel powered plane. The biofuel used was recycled cooking oil.

The KLM transatlantic flights are a part of the continuing testing that KLM is doing. They aim to have a 1% mix of sustainable biofuel for all planes by 2015.

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Higher Costs for Now

Like most technologies, the initial phase will be expensive as cooking oil is not cheap. The used oil is from Louisiana, where it is refined, and trucked to New York. The cost of the fuel is about $10 per gallon, which is more than three times the cost of jet fuel. Most of the cost goes to refining and preparing the used oil for use with jet engines. With wider use, it is expected that the cost of used oil for jet engines should become cheaper in the long term.

As far as the pilots are concerned, they find no difference in the performance between using the biofuel mix and using regular jet fuel.

Restaurants and other food establishments in New York City produce between 40 million to 50 millions gallons of used oil a year. However, the oil is used as fuel for diesel trucks or for home heating fuel.

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http://www.daynews.com/latest-news/2013/03/cooking-oil-based-biofuel-powers-transatlantic-klm-flights-16044

 


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There is a lot of news over recent months and years on aviation biofuels.
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On KLM and biofuels see:

KLM promises MilieuDefensie (Netherlands) not to buy jatropha from Waterland International

Date added: April 12, 2012

Lufthansa and KLM have flown trial flights, with KLM using – as far as we can make out -used cooking oil fuel, and Lufthansa using fuel made of 80% camelina and 15% jatropha. MilieuDefensie (Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands) has been able to get a written undertaking from KLM not to do future business with a company called Waterland, which produces jatropha. The KLM undertaking does not rule out other jatropha or other unsustainable biofuels in future, however. MilieuDefensie is asking people to write to Lufthansa, to get them to also stop using jatropha fuel. In September 2011, Jatenergy Limited announced it had sold 200 tonnes of crude jatropha oil at US $1,000 per tonne from its joint venture operations with Waterland. The oil had been refined into biojet fuel for Lufthansa by Neste Oil.   Click here to view full story…

 

200 more biofuel flights by KLM using cooking oil – while Lufthansa using Indonesian jatropha

Date added: February 24, 2012

Friends of the Earth International say the German airline Lufthansa has recently been using biokerosene made from jatropha, an inedible plant. The airline claims that flying on biokerosene is good for the environment despite numerous studies claiming the opposite. The jatropha used for Lufthansa’s test flights is grown in Indonesia by small scale farmers. The jatropha plants are often being grown at the cost of food production – jatropha competes with food crops such as maize for land – and the farmers are making a loss on the sale of the plants, so are struggling to survive. FoEI is asking people to write to Lufthansa and ask them to stop using biokerosene to fly their planes. KLM is continuing with part biofuelled flights, 4 per week, using some biofuel from used cooking oil, between Schiphol and Paris.   Click here to view full story…

 

Finnair flies commercial flight Amsterdam to Helsinki on 50% cooking oil

Date added: July 21, 2011Finnair has joined KLM and Lufthansa to use blended sustainable jet biofuel on a commercial scheduled flight.    Both engines of an Airbus A319 were fuelled with a mix of 50% biofuel derived from used cooking oil and 50% conventional jet fuel. The 1,500km journey between Amsterdam and Helsinki was the longest scheduled flight so far to use biofuel. Finnair plans to carry out a series of 4 such flights over the coming weeks. The fuel is from SkyNRG.      Click here to view full story…

 

KLM operates first scheduled flight on 50% biokerosene from used cooking oil in both engines

Date added: June 30, 2011

KLM has became the first airline to operate a commercial flight carrying 171 passengers on 50% biokerosene. A Boeing 737-800 flew from Schiphol to Paris.  KLM says they would be operating more than 200 flights to Paris on biokerosene in September. The fuel was supplied by Dynamic Fuels via SkyNRG, the consortium co-founded by KLM in 2009. “KLM is open to using different raw materials …. as long as they meet a range of sustainability criteria”.   Click here to view full story…

 

 

KLM to launch commercial flights in September Amsterdam – Paris on biofuel (? used cooking oil ?)

Date added: June 23, 2011

KLM says it will fly more than 200 flights between Amsterdam and Paris on biokerosene made from used cooking oil.   It does not say what percent of the fuel the used oil will be. KLM then says it will use other fuels too, as long as they meet their sustainability criteria and include substantial CO2 reductions.  In practice there is nowhere near enough used cooking oil available, most of which is already used as biodiesel for land vehicles, and other uses.    Click here to view full story…

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