Solena partnership with BA to produce jet fuel from London municipal waste – delayed over 2 years?

In 2010 it was announced that Solena and BA would build a plant to produce jet fuel in London. Solena hoped the new aviation fuel would be produced from several types of waste materials destined for landfill. The airline said it plans to use the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet beginning in 2014. In 2010 they said the self-contained plant will likely be built in east London. It’s expected to convert 551,000 tons of waste into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel each year. However, the timetable has slipped. There is no planning application yet.  It seems they hope for “notice to proceed” in 2013.  One website said the project will start in 2nd quarter of 2014 and end 2nd quarter 2016.  Oxford Catalysts were selected to supply the modular Fischer-Tropsch technology . There has been no planning application yet at Rainham Marshes. The timetable seems to have slipped by at least 27 months.


There appears to have been a flurry of industry press reports in July announcing that Oxford Catalysts had been selected as the supplier of modular Fischer-Tropsch technology for the project. And other reports stating that the site and funding were in place (but no other
confirmation of where the site may be.)

RSPB did some checking that the relevant local authorities had heard
nothing about using Rainham Marshes earlier in the year………

Interesting that between November 2011 and July 2012 the project dates
had slipped by 27 months.

Very non-informative article about Solena/British Airways at
No indication even of a planning application for it. 3.7.2012
The link about the Solena /British Airways jet fuel plant (perhaps at Rainham Marshes) is at a link that no longer works – whatever it was has been removed.  from this page  Said Start Q2/14. Completion Q2/16.
It was only  updated on 27th July this year, but already removed.
If you look at the news page of SGI biopower – which is where the Solena press release would have been,   they do not seem to have had any news since May 2011.
If the Solena/BA project, it says in this report  (Feb 2011)  that they “hope to receive fuel derived from everyday waste, from 2015”.
But this (July 2011)  (detail has been removed) says:
“In California, Solena Fuels expects to put in its planning application with the City of Gilroy for construction of its first biojet facility sometime within the coming year. The company says it still has a lot of development work to do on details and consultations with the community before it asks for permission to build the 16 million gallon per year, $350 million facility.”
There has not been any planning application at Rainham (September 2012)
Seems there has been little about aviation and biofuels in recent months during 2012. The aviation industry seem to realise it is a non starter, and biofuels would be better used – if at all – for terrestrial uses.  Why should aviation get such a precious and hard won resource?


The Oxford Catalysts interim results announcement confirms :

In July, the Group announced that it had been selected by Solena Fuels
Corporation (“Solena”) to supply their GreenSky London waste-biomass
to jet fuel project, whose leading partner is British Airways.
GreenSky London has been established to create Europe’s first
commercial scale sustainable jet fuel facility. After a formal
evaluation of available technologies performed by Fluor Corporation on
behalf of Solena, the Group was selected by Solena as the sole
supplier of FT technology for GreenSky London. Successful
implementation of the GreenSky London project and receipt of the
notice to proceed (expected in 2013) will generate revenues to the
Group in excess of $30 million (during the construction phase to
2015), and additional ongoing revenues of more than $50 million over
the first fifteen years of the plant’s operation.

In addition, Solena has entered into a term sheet with the Group
(subject to conclusion of a detailed master license agreement) for the
supply of FT units to its future Biomass-to-Liquids (“BTL”) projects
with many of the world’s leading airlines and shipping companies,
including GreenSky California, Rome and Stockholm. Solena recently
announced that it is working with Lufthansa towards a long-term
bankable jet fuel offtake agreement for a commercial BTL plant to be
constructed in Berlin, Germany, at a site identified by Solena.
According to the Group’s agreement with Solena and currently expected
capacity of the plant, receipt of the order and successful
implementation of the Berlin project would generate revenues to
the Group similar in size to those expected from the GreenSky London
project. Whilst there is no firm date at this stage, construction is
expected to begin in a few years time.

 See earlier:

Is the Solena / British Airways plan for jetfuel from London domestic waste greenwash?

Damian Carrington, of the Guardian, discusses the potential benefits of the plant in East London that is to be built by 2015 by Solena, to turn London’s household waste into jet fuel. It will also produce some electricity.  British Airways is pushing ahead with a plant that aims to turn half a million tonnes of Londoner’s household rubbish into 50,000 tonnes a year of jet fuel. Damian says: ” I’ll let you decide if this is greenwash or not: here’s some of the details.” BA’s Jonathan Counsel says ”We accept we are a significant source of emissions, and growing,” he says. “Taking action is about earning our right to grow.” Boeing says the industry wants to get 1% biofuel into the global jet fuel supply by 2015,  which equates to 600m US gallons a year. And more if it can.  Why should this household waste go to aviation fuel, rather than energy for other uses?

by Damian Carrington

16 March 2012   (Guardian)

(Someone commented on this article that – as the location of the  plant is still unknown – “One of the construction mags indicated that it was “Rainham Marshes” and I gather there is already a convenient Veolia landfill site there on the Thames shore.” ??  including earlier news on Solena / BA.


Read more »

Aviation industry presses for biofuels support from governments

Under pressure to cut CO2 the aviation industry is urging policymakers to support the development of biofuels for aircraft but their use remains a novelty due to limited supply and high cost. Industry officials are urging governments to help lift supplies,  IATA hopes they airlines can in future use biofuels and so get an (utterly unrealistic) drop in CO2 emissions of 80%. IATA wants government policies to de-risk investment, and provide subsidies to support research, plant development and refining capacity. The industry wants to use 30% biofuels by 2030 and 50% by 2040. Aviation wants road vehicles to use electricity, so they can use the liquid oils.  UNEP realises that plant based biofuels may not reduce carbon emissions or even lead to an increase. T&E says aviation could be falling into the same trap as ground transportation in believing that biofuels are easy on the planet.  Biofuels, through their life cycle, may be more pernicious than traditional fuels.


Aviation industry presses for biofuels support

Published 10 July 2012, updated  22 August 2012 ( Euractiv )


Under pressure to cut carbon emissions, the aviation industry is urging policymakers to support the development of biofuels for aircraft in the same way they have done for road transport. EurActiv reports from the Farnborough Airshow.

Biofuels were cleared for aviation use in June 2011 so long as they are blended with traditional jet fuel, and their use remains a novelty due to limited supply and high cost.

Industry officials are urging governments to help lift supplies, much as policies in the EU and United States have created a flourishing market in plant-based oils for cars and lorries. The industry contends that sustainable fuels – when combined with aerodynamic design, efficient engines and improved air traffic handling – will reduce emissions even as passenger traffic grows.

Tony Tyler, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, says the oil derived from plants could reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by up to 80% in the decades ahead.

“They have already powered more than 1,500 commercial flights,” he told the trade group’s recent annual meeting in Beijing. “But to increase utilisation, costs need to come down and the supply needs to increase. That will only happen with government policies to de-risk investment, including setting global standards.”

The Air Transport Action Group, or ATAG, reports that biofuels are expected to account for less than 1% of the industry’s fuel supplies this year, rising to 30% by 2030 and 50% a decade later. The Geneva-based industry organisation, which promotes environmental sustainability, has urged governments to support research, plant development and refining capacity to achieve those targets.

Policies turned upside down

Others in the industry say government policies such as those in the European Union that support biofuels on the ground may be turned upside down.

Alan H. Epstein, vice president for technology and the environment at aircraft engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, says when it comes to curtailing emissions, it makes better sense to have more electric cars and lorries than vehicles burning plant oil.

“The fundamental point is airplanes don’t have an option,” Epstein told EurActiv in an interview in Brussels.

“As Europe becomes greener for power generation, it makes more sense to think about electrification [for transportation],” he said. “In Europe, the automobile trips are shorter, the cars are smaller, so electrification may make even more sense than it does larger parts of North America.”

The industry is so convinced of the merits of biofuels that it used the recent sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro to stage a media event. Raymond Benjamin, who heads the International Civil Aviation Organisation, landed in the Brazilian city on 19 June after having flown from his base in Montréal on airliners using biofuels.

“I am proud to have been able to serve as a symbolic passenger on this ‘Flightpath to a Sustainable Future’,” Benjamin said, adding that bio-fuelled aircraft “are one of the many steps aviation is now taking in that direction.”

A not so soft landing

But not everyone agrees that Benjamin’s flight was sustainable or even a model for the future.

The United Nations Environment Programme warned in a recent report that even though burning plant-based fuels can produce significantly lower levels of carbon emissions, production and land clearing to make way for new crops “may reduce carbon-savings or even lead to an increase.”

Bill Hemmings, who monitors aviation policy in Brussels for the green NGO Transport and Environment, agrees.

Hemmings believes the aviation industry could be falling into the same trap as ground transportation in believing that biofuels are easy on the planet. Greenhouse gases emitted during production, he said, added to concerns over the impact of clearing land and tapping water and other resources needed to sustain fuel plants – especially in developing and emerging nations – may eventually make biofuels more pernicious than traditional fuels.

Such concerns about both direct and indirect impacts from plant cultivation have led Transport and Environment and other environmentalists to press the European Commission to rethink its mandate for 10% biofuel use in ground transport by 2020. (see article below).

“This huge industry is being built, not on a house of cards, but without a solid foundation and that foundation will shift seismically if indirect land-use change is properly addressed,” Hemmings said in an interview. “So why go and build another aviation mountain which is going to have the foundation shaken once this is sorted out.”

He also disagrees with Tyler and others calling for more government support of biofuels in aviation, noting that the industry already gets big subsidies – such as tax exemptions for aviation fuels – that could fund development of alternatives fuels.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, is also wary of the aviation industry’s call for public support of biofuels when the full impact of production, refining and delivery has not been weighed.

“Our position is that for the moment, we don’t see how the big amounts of biofuels needed for aviation can be produced sustainably,” Stoczkiewicz told EurActiv.


Under pressure

Still, aviation officials say they have to do something, both to meet passenger demand and reduce carbon emissions in an industry that accounts for the biggest growth in greenhouse gases. They say the price for that shift is high – today’s aviation biofuels cost as much as 10 times more than conventional fuels.

Despite the current economic situation, air traffic is expected to double or even triple by 2020 worldwide. The EU wants to cut both carbon dioxide emissions – through itscontroversial Emissions Trading System – as well as improvements in air traffic management. Globally, international airline associations, airports, navigation service providers and manufacturers have agreed to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year and halve emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels.

Concerns about energy supply and price vulnerability are other motivators – for instance, the 2011 revolution in Libya sent oil prices soaring despite weakened global demand. An EU-US-backed oil embargo on Iran also could disrupt supplies.

Airlines are already taking steps to cut weight and improve efficiency. Each generation of aircraft being produced by leading manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing are more aerodynamic, lighter and more durable. On the ground, efforts to cut taxi time and delays at the gate save fuel and reduce emissions.

Meanwhile, industry figures show that new engine technology that is just coming onto the market is 16% more efficient than those in use today.

But Hemmings says all this is expensive and by calling for more attention to aviation biofuels, the industry is buying time.

“Everyone is led to believe that there is a tonne of biofuels that will save the world just around the corner, and why go to all this dreadful trouble of [having] to do something else like emissions trading and produce more fuel-efficient aircraft,” he said.

“So a lot of it seems to be about that, and that gets up my nose, it’s fair enough to say.”


More efficient engines, aircraft and air traffic management can lower aviation fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions, Randy TinsethBoeing’s vice president for marketing, said in Brussels on 6 July. But over the long run, “We have to have biofuels to achieve reductions.”

Following a pan-American flight using a streamlined air traffic management system and on board aircraft partly powered by biofuels, Airbus President Frabrice Brégier said: “To make this a day-to-day commercial reality, it requires now a political will to foster incentives to scale up the use of sustainable biofuels and accelerate modernisation of the air-traffic control management system. We need a clear endorsement by governments and all aviation stakeholders to venture beyond today’s limitations.”

Timothy Spence

European Union

International organisations

Industry and trade associations

Business and industry





Exclusive: EU to limit use of crop-based biofuels – draft law


Sep 10, 2012

(Reuters) – The European Union will impose a limit on the use of crop-based biofuels over fears they are less climate-friendly than initially thought and compete with food production, draft EU legislation seen by Reuters showed.

The draft rules, which will need the approval of EU governments and lawmakers, represent a major shift in Europe’s much-criticized biofuel policy and a tacit admission by policymakers that the EU’s 2020 biofuel target was flawed from the outset.

The plans also include a promise to end all public subsidies for crop-based biofuels after the current legislation expires in 2020, effectively ensuring the decline of a European sector now estimated to be worth 17 billion euros ($21.7 billion) a year.

“The (European) Commission is of the view that in the period after 2020, biofuels should only be subsidized if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings… and are not produced from crops used for food and feed,” the draft said.

A Commission spokeswoman said the EU executive would not comment on the details of leaked proposals.

The policy u-turn comes after EU scientific studies cast doubt on the emissions savings from by crop-based fuels, and following a poor harvest in key grain growing regions that pushed up prices and revived fears of food shortages.

Under the proposals, the use of biofuels made from crops such as rapeseed and wheat would be limited to 5 percent of total energy consumption in the EU transport sector in 2020.

Crop-based fuel consumption currently accounts for about 4.5 percent of total EU transport fuel demand, according to the latest national figures for 2011, ensuring that there will be little room to increase current production volumes.

Such a limit will throw into doubt the EU’s binding target to source 10 percent of road transport fuels from renewable sources by the end of the decade, the vast majority of which was expected to come from crop-based biofuels.

In an attempt to make up the shortfall, the European Commission wants to increase the share of advanced non-land using biofuels made from household waste and algae in the EU’s 10 percent target.

“It is appropriate to encourage greater production of such advanced biofuels as these are currently not commercially available in large quantities, in part due to competition for public subsidies with now established food crop based biofuels,” the draft legislation said.

The Commission has proposed that the use of such advanced fuels should be quadruple-counted within the EU’s 10 percent target, in an attempt to at least meet it on paper.

But with commercial production volumes expected to remain low up to 2020, it is doubtful whether the goal can be met.


The proposals are contained in long-awaited EU plans to address the indirect land use change (ILUC) impact of biofuels, a subject that has split officials, biofuel producers and scientists, delaying legislative proposal for almost two years.

ILUC is a theory that states that by diverting food crops into fuel tanks, biofuel production increases overall global demand for agricultural land. If farmers meet that extra demand by cutting down rainforest and draining peatland, it results in millions of tonnes of additional carbon emissions.

The draft law includes new ILUC emissions values for the three major crop types used to produce biofuels: cereals, sugars and oilseeds. These values must be included when calculating emissions savings from biofuels under an EU fuel quality law designed to encourage fuel suppliers to cut emissions from road transport fuels by 6 percent by 2020.

While low values for ethanol made from cereals and sugars are expected to have little market impact, a much higher value for oilseeds is likely to exclude most biodiesel made from rapeseed, soybeans and palm oil from counting towards the fuel suppliers’ targets.

The Commission says its proposal will protect existing investments until 2020, but biodiesel producers fear that by removing any incentive for fuel companies to use biodiesel, it will put the future of the entire sector in doubt.

“Three years after the EU made biofuels a central plank of its policy to promote renewable energies in transport, the Commission’s current proposal threatens an industry that arose as a response to its policies, supports 50,000 jobs and would have provided the next generation of biofuel technologies,” said Jean-Philippe Puig, CEO of Sofiproteol, which owns the EU’s largest biodiesel producer.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the proposal to limit the use of crop-based fuels, but said the plans should have gone further.

“The good news is that this proposal, if adopted, would stop further expansion of current types of unsustainable biofuels, which is an important step. But the bad news is that it fails to do anything about the current volumes of these fuels,” said Nusa Urbancic, clean fuels campaigner for green transport lobby T&E.

If confirmed, the rules are expected to boost European consumption of ethanol, which currently accounts for just over 20 percent of the EU biofuel market, compared with biodiesel’s 78 percent share.

But with diesel cars accounting for about 60 percent of Europe’s fleet and rising, it is unlikely that increased ethanol consumption will be able to completely offset the likely decline in biodiesel consumption.

The International Council on Clean Transportation has predicted that any emissions savings from the EU’s biofuel policy are likely to come from ethanol, while crop-based biodiesel has a worse carbon footprint than normal diesel. ($1 = 0.7821 euros)

(Editing by Rex Merrifield and James Jukwey)





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Canada (of the tar sands) greenwash: 10% used cooking oil used to fly its athletes to Olympics

Canadian Olympic team members travelled from Montreal on an Air Canada Airbus A330. 20% of the fuel used to power the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered engines contained a 50/50 blend of conventional jet kerosene mixed with recycled cooking oil supplied by Dutch company SkyNRG. Last month, Air Canada conducted its first biofuel flight between Toronto and Mexico City as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights. The airlines hopes this tiny biofuel contribution will slightly reduce their athletes’ carbon footprint. Air Canada is also using conventional ways to cut fuel use, like single engine taxiing, reduced thrust take offs, and continuous descent. This is the same Canada that pulled out of the Kyoto protocol, due to its massive carbon emissions from shale oil.


Canadian athletes power their way to the London Olympics on jet biofuel

27.7.2012 (GreenAir online)

Canadian team members bound for the London 2012 Olympic Games have travelled from Montreal on an Air Canada biofuel-powered flight of an Airbus A330. Twenty per cent of the fuel used to power the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered engines contained a 50/50 blend of conventional jet kerosene mixed with recycled cooking oil supplied by Dutch company SkyNRG. [This is nonsense, as there is nowhere like enough used cooking oil to make any sort of significant difference to aviation – most used cooking oil is already taken for terrestrial uses. Used cooking oil is likely to be a genuinely sustainable fuel.  There just is not enough of it, to get the aviation industry out of its difficulties.  It is  for token gesture flights only, for PR purposes].

Last month, Air Canada conducted its first biofuel flight between Toronto and Mexico City (link )as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights that took the ICAO Secretary-General to the Rio+20 sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro. The organisers of the London Games, which formally open today, have promised them to be the most sustainable ever.

“As the Official Airline of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams, Air Canada is proud to be flying Canadian athletes to London. Just as our athletes strive for excellence in their athletic performance, Air Canada strives for excellence in its environmental performance,” said the airline’s Senior Vice President Operations, Dave Legge, before the departure of Tuesday’s (July 24) flight AC864. “Today, we will be flying some of Canada’s best athletes in the best environmental way – using biofuel to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Commenting on the world’s first transatlantic biofuel flight using an A330, Airbus Vice President Environmental Affairs Andrea Debbané said: “Like the sports star on board, we too have goals. More than 90% of Airbus Research and Technology is directed at setting new records in environmental performance, including speeding up sustainable alternative fuel production and keeping the world connected.”

Air Canada is implementing other techniques and measures to reduce its environmental impact, including engine washing to increase efficiency, minimising APU use on the ground, single-engine taxiing, reduced thrust take-offs, optimised climbs and cruise speed and altitude, and constant descents.



Air Canada Is The Latest Airline To Conduct Biofuel Flight

6/19/2012 ( Huffington Post)

Air Canada Biofuel

Air Canada is the latest airline to hop on the green travel bandwagon by conducting its first flight with sustainable fuel.

Flight AC991 took off from Toronto en route to Mexico City Monday, and,according to a press release, the flight will generate 40 percent fewer emissions thanks to the fuel and other fuel-saving measures. It’s part of an environmental demonstration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to coincide with the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

“Air Canada fully accepts its responsibility to reduce its footprint and our first flight using biofuel tangibly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the environment,” said Duncan Dee, executive vice president and chief operating officer, in the press release. “Since 1990 our airline has become 30 per cent more fuel efficient and we are determined to increase these gains through cutting-edge measures.”

The flight was powered by a 50-50 blend of regular jet fuel and that derived from used cooking oil. The blend was produced by SkyNRG, which has served other major carriers.

When Thomson Airways launched its biofuel flights in October 2011, they were powered by fuel from Dutch-based SkyNRG. KLM and Finnair did the same last summer.

Also in October, Virgin Atlantic announced it would be developing a low-carbon aviation fuel with New Zealand-based LanzaTech. And, in November, Qantas revealed its agreements with two manufacturers of alternative airplane fuels to develop algae-based and water-based jet fuels.




Canada wins legal battle to pull out of Kyoto Protocol

 26 July 2012

The conservative Canadian government has won its case in the Canadian Federal Court over its decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol.

Canada first announced its plans to withdraw from the international greenhouse gas emission reduction commitment at the United Nations’ climate summit in South Africa last December.

The decision has been contested by a Quebec politician Daniel Turp, who argued that the government needed the approval of the Canadian Parliament first.

But the Canadian Federal Court has ruled that the government has a “royal prerogative” to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol without consultation.

The Parliament should have passed a law to force the government to consult on the ratification or withdrawal from treaties, said the Court.

For further information:

Related stories:
Green groups criticise Canada’s decision to drop out of Kyoto Protocol (14-Dec)




Canada May Miss $6.7 Billion Carbon Offset Bill By Exiting Kyoto Protocol

By Jeremy van Loon – 
Dec 2, 2011
Canada, the country furthest from meeting its commitment to cut carbon emissions under theKyoto Protocol, may save as much as $6.7 billion by exiting the global climate change agreement and not paying for offset credits.

The country’s greenhouse-gas emissions are almost a third higher than 1990 levels, and it has a 6 percent CO2 reduction target for the end of 2012. If it couldn’t meet its goal, Canada would have to buy carbon credits, under the rules of the legally binding treaty.

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil-sands producer

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil-sands producer, runs this facility north of Fort McMurray. Kevin Cooley/Bloomberg Markets via Bloomberg

Canada, which has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, would be the first of 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to annul its emission-reduction obligations. While Environment Minister Peter Kent declined to confirm Nov. 28 that Canada is preparing to pull out of Kyoto, which may ease the burden for oil-sands producers and coal-burning utilities, he said the government wouldn’t make further commitments to it.

“Canada is the only country in the world saying it won’t honor Kyoto,” said Keith Stewart, an energy and climate policy analyst for Greenpeace in Toronto. Under a previous Liberal government, Canada was one of the first countries to sign Kyoto in 1998. The current Conservative government made a non-binding commitment at 2009 United Nations talks in Copenhagen to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, in line with a pledge by the U.S., its biggest trading partner.

The biggest polluters in the nation of 34 million say they’ll cut emissions without a treaty. “Kyoto no longer works,” said Rick George, chief executive officer of Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest oil producer. “Whatever happens with Kyoto won’t change our direction” of reducing the environmental impact of oil production, he said.

Impact From Technology

For Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., technology improvements will have a bigger impact on Canada’s greenhouse gas output than an international climate-change treaty, said Jack Mintz, director of the school of public policy at the University of Calgary.

“Technology is the only way we’re going to make significant progress,” Mintz said in an interview. “A lot of companies are already anticipating that the federal government will look at new regulations. Kyoto hasn’t been a strong treaty.”

Canada would likely avoid penalties if it exits the treaty before the end of the year, said Matt Horne, climate change policy director at the Pembina Institute, a Canadian think-tank focused on sustainable energy. Kyoto’s first commitment period from 2008 until 2012 requires reductions only from so-called Annex I countries, the world’s wealthiest and most developed. It doesn’t include developing nations including India and China, the world’s biggest CO2 emitter.

Reputation Tarnished

“Penalties apply in the second commitment period,” said Horne. “More importantly though, Canada’s international reputation will be tarnished.”

The $6.7 billion cost of complying with Kyoto compares with an estimated C$75.9 billion ($74.8 billion) in combined budget deficits projected through the fiscal year ending March 2015. By rejecting the accord, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is putting the country’s economy at risk, Elizabeth May, leader of Canada’s Green Party, said in an interview.

“We’re condemning ourselves to rising costs from extreme weather events as well as opportunity costs like the failure to have a renewable-energy industry,” she said. “The world would be grateful for Canada to be constructive instead of the government consistently repudiating Kyoto.”

Durban Talks

Canadian delegates, including Kent, are in Durban, South Africa for United Nations climate talks. Negotiators are struggling to agree to a successor to Kyoto, which expires at the end of 2012 and is also opposed by Japan and Russia.

Negotiators from host South Africa urged Canada on Dec. 1 to reconsider its position about not entering another commitment period, highlighting the risks to the developing world with rising temperatures and sea levels.

“Our government believes that the previous Liberal government signing on to Kyoto was one of the biggest blunders they made,” Kent said Nov. 28. “Kyoto is the past, Copenhagen and Cancun are the future,” he said, referring to the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

Canada will have likely emitted about 890 million tons of CO2 above its Kyoto target by the end of the first commitment period next year, based on annual emissions data compiled by Bloomberg. Carbon Emission Reduction credits, or CER, cost 5.62 euros ($7.55) a ton on Nov. 30, according to Bloomberg data.

No Policy

Unlike countries such as Germany, Canada has implemented no policy to reach its targets and will find it difficult to reach even the Copenhagen Accord goals, said Greenpeace’s Stewart.

Already 60 percent of the country’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power plants, which emit fewer gases than coal or natural gas, while the government’s plan to become an energy superpower by exporting crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands means the country faces “steep” increases in emissions in the coming years, Stewart said.

Emissions of carbon from oil sands production has risen to about 6.5 percent of Canada’s total from about 1 percent in 1990, according to the Pembina Institute. That figure will likely double by 2020 as companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Suncor and Royal Dutch Shell Plc expand operations to refine bitumen with annual investments of C$20 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at

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New $40 million funding annoucement for development of US military & aviation biofuels from DOE

The USA’s Department of Energy is to provide $40 million in funding for new producers of biofuels for the military and for aviation. They want to fund innovative sources of fuel and pilot and demonstration production of these fuels. “Novel and highly innovative technologies are strongly encouraged” from a wide variety of non-food lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks and algae, from sources within the USA. Use of excess oil production of food-grade oil does not constitute an acceptable feedstock. The aim is not environmental, but to reduce trade imbalances, and improve fuel security. It is estimated that the US transfers approximately $340 billion each year (nearly $1 billion per day) to foreign nations to purchase crude oil and refined products.  

19.6.2012  (Biofuels Digest)

DOE releases its latest $40 million funding opportunity, for aviation and military biofuels; lignocellulosic and algal feedstock components.

In Washington, the DOE released details of a long-awaited funding opportunity announcement for advanced biofuels for aviation and military applications, titled “Innovative Pilot and demonstration-scale production of advanced biofuels.”

According to the DOE, “the intent of this FOA  [?Funding Opportunity Announcement?] is to identify, evaluate, and select innovative pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefineries that can produce hydrocarbon fuels that meet military specifications for JP-5 (jet fuel primarily for the Navy), JP-8 (jet fuel primarily for the Air Force), or F-76 (diesel).”


Concept Paper Submission Deadline: 7/16/2012 5:00 PM ET
Full Application Submission Deadline: 8/13/2012 5:00 PM ET

Integrated biorefineries proposed for this funding opportunity may employ various combinations of feedstocks and conversion technologies to produce a variety of products, but the primary focus must be on producing biofuels.  Novel and highly innovative technologies are strongly encouraged.

Topic Area 1 is focused on lignocellulosic feedstocks or adnaced technology processes for conversion of CO2 (rather than direct conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks), while Topic 2 focuses on algal feedstocks.


The FOA stems from the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding ) signed by the Department of Defense (DoD), USDA, and DOE, for the three agencies to jointly support the design, construction, and operation of integrated biorefineries (IBRs) that produce hydrocarbon-based biofuels from a wide variety of lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks and algae.

In support of this MOU, DOE seeks to use its annual appropriated budget authority to fund innovative IBRs that are: (1) capable of producing hydrocarbon-based advanced biofuels that meet military specifications (2) in geographically diverse locations, with (3) no significant impact on the supply of agricultural commodities for the production of food.

US Energy Security

According to the FOA, “Our dependence on foreign sources of crude oil undermines foreign policy objectives and creates enormous trade imbalances. It is estimated that the United States transfers approximately $340 billion each year1 (nearly $1 billion per day) to foreign nations to purchase crude oil and refined products.  Advanced, biomass-derived transportation fuels that use a domestic, renewable feedstock can provide a secure alternative that reduces the risk associated with our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum.”

Projected Impact

It is anticipated that technologies developed as a result of this funding opportunity will also help to stabilize the cost of transportation for the American consumer, at or near $3 per gallon of gasoline, while improving the environmental impact of transportation fuel use, reducing dependence upon imported petroleum, and increasing U.S. employment in the production of fuels and chemical products from renewable resources.


For the purpose of this FOA, a pilot-scale integrated biorefinery is defined as a facility with a throughput of no less than one (1) dry tonne of feedstock per day.  A demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery is defined as a facility with a throughput of no less than fifty (50) dry tonnes of feedstock per day. See Section I.C.3 for additional clarification of pilot or demonstration scale as pertains to algae-based technologies.


The proposed integrated biorefinery project must be located within the United States and use a feedstock from a domestic source.  In lieu of constructing a new facility, the applicant may propose the use of an existing pilot-scale or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery as appropriate to the Topic Area.


Only those applicants willing and able to diligently pursue taking the integrated technology to the commercial scale and have a sound business and technology strategy to deploy and/or license and market the technology commercially should apply.

Acceptable Lignocellulosic Feedstocks

(A) materials, pre-commercial thinnings, or invasive species from National Forest System land and public lands that are byproducts of preventive treatments that are removed to reduce hazardous fuels;  to reduce or contain disease or insect infestation; or to restore ecosystem health; would not otherwise be used for higher-value products.

(B) organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis from non-Federal land or land belonging to an Indian or Indian tribe that is held in trust by the United States including – renewable plant material, including organic material grown for the purposes of being converted to energy; waste material, including crop residue (including cobs, stover, bagasse and other residues); other vegetative waste material (including wood waste and wood residues);  food waste and yard waste.

Food feedstocks not included

No plant based material that is generally intended for use as food may be used as a feedstock under this FOA. Hence, sugars derived from sugarcane or beets and oils derived from soy, canola, sunflower, peanut, and other such food sources normally recovered using conventional food processing methods are not eligible as feedstocks under this FOA. Use of excess oil production of food-grade oil also does not constitute an acceptable feedstock. Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) is also excluded.

Sorghum grain may be an acceptable feedstock if it meets GHG emissions reductinos requirements.

Post-sortation MSW meets the requirements – for the biomass fraction only.

Acceptable Algal Feedstock

Algae may have a broader role under this FOA than other acceptable feedstocks because they can also act as biocatalysts, accumulate lipids or starch-based carbohydrates, or excrete fuels or fuel intermediates. Therefore, the production of algae using a variety of available cultivation strategies (e.g. open ponds, open oceans, and closed bioreactors supporting phototrophic and/or heterotrophic growth) is allowable under Topic Area 2 only.

For the purpose of this FOA, algal biomass can be grown with either CO2 as the main carbon source (photoautotrophic growth), or with other clean carbohydrate sugars or lignocellulosic-derived carbohydrates (heterotrophic growth), or with both types of carbon sources (mixotrophic growth).

Acceptable algal types, for purposes of this FOA, are defined as cyanobacteria, microalgae, and macroalgae.

For applications proposing heterotrophic algae and proposing to initially use a clean carbohydrate sugar feedstocks stream, the applicant must propose a credible path to the use of lignocellulosic sugars.

For applications proposing use of CO2 as source of carbon for fuels and proposing to initially use a fossil based CO2 stream, the applicant must indicate a significant reduction in GHG as compared to petroleum derived fuels, using an acceptable methodology (see GREET as example) and  propose a credible path to the use of renewable CO2.

Aquatic plants (including but not limited to duckweed and eelgrass) are considered lignocellulosic feedstocks, not algae.

Algal throughput

The minimum throughput for pilot-scale algal based integrated biorefineries, is one (1) dry tonne per day of CO2, or other main carbon source, or mixture of CO2 and an additional carbon source. For demonstration-scale, algal based integrated biorefineries, the minimum throughput is fifty (50) dry tonnes of CO2 per day. See Appendix G for a more detailed discussion of the heterotrophic case.

Acceptable Biofuels

he targeted fuels must be suitable for military operational use and, as such, must be either currently approved or likely to be approved in the future as JP-5, JP-8, or F-76 equivalents.  Ethanol from sugarcane, starch, algae, or lignocellulosic feedstocks is specifically excluded from consideration under this FOA

Biodiesel is excluded; however, the hydro-processing of biodiesel to produce a renewable diesel or a renewable jet fuel, for example, would be an acceptable process/technology under the FOA so long as the resulting fuel was otherwise an “acceptable biofuel”.

Estimated funding

Approximately $20,000,000 is expected to be available for new awards in FY2012 with up to an additional $20,000,000 in FY2013, subject to Congressional appropriations for this program.  DOE anticipates obligating all funds to the projects no later than September 30, 2013.

Maximum and Minimum Award Size

Ceiling of $20 million in DOE cost share; floor of $1 million.

Expected Number of Awards

DOE anticipates making approximately 2-4 awards, with up to 2-3 additional awards in FY2013, subject to Congressional appropriations for this program, under this announcement, depending on the Topic Area and size of awards; an average award of $5-$7 million is anticipated.

Read more »

Boeing, Air China and PetroChina aim for 2nd 50% jatropha biofuel flight test in autumn

Boeing in cooperation with Air China and PetroChina, will press ahead with a 2nd test flight that will be partly powered by jatropha. The flight will be in the last quarter of 2012, and be a trans-Pacific trip, far longer than the one-hour test flight that was conducted in China last October. That flight used 50% jatropha based fuel. China wants to produce more jet fuel from jatropha, which it claims can be produced from large areas of “barren land” where it might grow.  The aim of the biofuel flight is to prove that a China-produced biofuel works, and to ensure “regulators and airlines around the world are comfortable using it for commercial flights.” 



Boeing, PetroChina aim for second biofuel flight test

File photo of an Air China Boeing 747-400 passenger jet, filled with mixture of biofuel and aviation kerosene, on its first test flight at Beijing Captital International Airport in Beijing, October 28, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily


Jun 12, 2012

(Reuters) – Boeing Co., in cooperation with Air Chinaand PetroChina, will press ahead with a second test flight that will be partly powered by plant oil, company executives said this week.

The test, scheduled for the third quarter of this year, is likely to involve a trans-Pacific trip, far longer than the one-hour test flight that was conducted in China last October, said Stephen Emmert, Boeing’s regional director of the biofuel strategy team for China and North America.

The project aims to prove that a China-produced biofuel works, and to ensure “regulators and airlines around the world are comfortable using it for commercial flights,” he said.

The planned test, like last year’s, will involve use of a biofuel produced by PetroChina  from locally grown jatropha, a thorny green shrub. Jatropha based fuel, produced with oil extracted from seeds, could have particular appeal in China, where there are huge swathes of barren land that could be turned to growing the plant.

“China has a need (for cleaner fuels) like the rest of the world that is very real,” said Marc Allen, head of Boeing’s  China operations, speaking on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association meeting in Beijing this week.

“They have (economic) scale that many parts of the world cannot match. And they have fast growing technological capability that will allow them to be on the forefront on these initiatives.”



Is jatropha a real solution, or does it create more problems?   

Report from Friends of the Earth (Netherlands) and Friends of the Earth (Indonesia) earlier this year found growing of jatropha for Lufthansa, in Java, was causing a lot of problems:


New FoE report on jatropha cultivation for aviation biokerosene in Java


16.2.2012A new report by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, and Friends of the Earth Indonesia investigates the situation in Java, where jatropha and other crops are being grown to produce biokerosene for Lufthansa’s “Burn Fair” programme.  The report finds that Javanese farmers and workers have converted some of their land from food to fuel crops, in return for ridiculously low payments. They have had a fall in income, conflict and frustration. Indonesian farmers feel the lifeblood of Indonesia will be tapped for the benefit of wealthier people in Europe and elsewhere. Biofuel crops are putting pressure on land for food. The report says this growing of biofuels for aviation fuel is putting a double pressure on the poor in the global south: both in climate change and food prices.





Earlier news on this:


Air China test-flies 50% jatropha biofuel-powered Boeing 747


An Air China Boeing 747-400 took off from the Beijing airport, flew for 2 hours, and landed back at Beijing. It used 50% jatropha.  This is one of a series of research projects launched last year by the US and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers. The fuel was developed by Boeing, Honeywell UOP, Chinese oil company PetroChina and Air China. They say a commercial biofuel should be available in three to five years. BEIJING  29.10.2011  (Business Week)

A jumbo jet powered by fuel made from oily nuts has made a two-hour test flight
in Beijing as part of a U.S.-Chinese renewable energy partnership.

The fuel for Friday’s flight is one of a series of research projects launched
last year by the United States and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers.

The fuel was developed by Boeing Co., Honewell UOP, Chinese oil company PetroChina
Ltd. and Air China Ltd.

On Friday morning, an Air China Boeing 747-400 took off from the Beijing airport
and flew as officials watched. It landed at the same field.

The companies say such biofuel could be commercially available in three to five


Boeing, Chinese companies test-fly biofuel-powered plane

29.10.2011 (Seattle Times)

A Boeing jumbo jet powered by fuel made from oily nuts made a two-hour test flight
Friday as part of a U.S.-Chinese renewable energy partnership partnership…

By The Associated Press

BEIJING — A Boeing jumbo jet powered by fuel made from oily nuts made a two-hour
test flight Friday as part of a U.S.-Chinese renewable energy partnership.

The fuel, based on the oily nuts of the jatropha tree, is one of a series of
research projects launched last year by the United States and China, the world’s
two biggest oil consumers. The two governments say they want the research to reduce
pollution and spur the growth of new industries.

The fuel was developed by Boeing, Honeywell UOP, Chinese oil company PetroChina
and Air China. They say a commercial biofuel should be available in three to five

Government and company officials watched as an Air China Boeing 747-400 powered
by a mix of half biofuel and half standard aviation fuel took off from the Beijing
airport and flew for two hours before landing at the same field.

“This is a very important step. It is a milestone for the Chinese airline industry,”
said He Li, an Air China vice president. “It will help us a lot to reduce carbon
emissions and provide us more choices for aviation fuel.”

Boeing said earlier that the goal of the research is to develop biofuel that
can be used in commercial jetliners with no engine modifications. The company
said last year four test flights with biofuel had been flown in the United States.




Boeing to test China jatropha biofuel in Chinese airliner in summer 2011


18.10.2010(Chicago Breaking business)

By Dow Jones Newswires-Wall Street Journal


Boeing Co., in cooperation with Air China Ltd. and others, plans to test a commercial-jet
biofuel in China produced from a locally grown plant by the middle of 2011-part
of an effort to commercialize cleaner fuels world-wide and bolster China’s potential
as a biofuel provider.

Boeing first tested a biofuel on a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 jet in early 2008
in London.   It has since conducted similar tests a few more times, each time experimenting

with different types of biofuels on different engines. The China demonstration flight, expected to be conducted by May or June next year, would be Boeing’s sixth such demonstration flight using a biofuel, said a Boeing executive, Al Bryant, in an interview Monday with The Wall Street

The biofuel to be used in the scheduled test flight is one based on jatropha, a thorny wild green shrub that grows well on a wide range of terrains in hot climates such as Latin America and Africa.  It is expected to be supplied by Chinese oil company PetroChina Co., which grows jatropha in southern China for aviation use, said Bryant, vice president
of research and technology at Boeing’s China operations.

“It’s harvested here and processed here, and we test it with an airplane operated
by a Chinese airline and is going to be flown here in China,”
 the executive said. “This flight is going to demonstrate that China has the ability to create a new biofuel industry here in China.”

Analysts say development of biofuels based on feedstocks such as jatropha looks
promising, but commercial mass production, as well as getting regulatory approvals
for the new jet fuel, still will likely take several years, if not more.     Boeing argues the prohibitively expensive cost will come down.

Some pessimists also had pointed out that biofuel would freeze before a jetliner
reached cruising altitude, or that it would require punishingly costly modifications
to the aircraft engines to make it work.

Boeing says its two years of demonstration flights counter those claims. By injecting
similar additives used in petroleum-based fuel, the freezing point of biofuels
has been rendered a nonissue, and engine modifications have proven unnecessary,
Boeing says.

“We’re focused on plant-based sustainable ‘drop-in’ biofuels so that you can
fly to Chengdu, fill up with a biofuel, and fly to Australia somewhere and fill
up with a petroleum-based fuel, and you don’t have to clean the tank or drain
it or anything,” Bryant said, referring to a major city in southwest China.   “No
modifications to the airplane engines would be necessary. It is a drop-in solution.”

Moreover, with fears that the days of petroleum are numbered, the global aviation
industry is more inclined to pursue long-term diversification of its raw materials.
Breakthroughs have also come more quickly than people anticipated.

“If we can do that  – commercialize biofuels for aviation –   that gives our customers
an alternative supply of fuel, and hopefully we could smooth out some of the spikes
in jet fuel prices and allow airline operators to be more financially stable,”
Bryant said.

Boeing envisions a future, he said, where the entire global aviation industry
would be supplied with plant-based biofuels that don’t compete with food for land
and water, so that a rapid adoption of biofuels by the aviation industry doesn’t
drive up food prices.   That future could come as early as 2025, Bryant said.

To realize that vision, Bryant said the industry needs to make a lot of technological
breakthroughs. But one secret weapon, he said, is biofuels based on algae, which have higher levels of energy density.  Boeing is conducting some of its
research-and-development efforts in China in part because the country, Bryant
said, has done some “leading-edge” research in the field.

To accelerate the research and development of such algae-based aviation biofuels,
Boeing earlier this year opened a joint research laboratory in Qingdao with a
Chinese government research institute and is looking at expanding the effort to
other labs.

“You can serve the entire aviation industry’s fuel needs by planting soybeans
in an area the size of continental Europe. Or you could plant algae and get the
same impact in an area the size of the country of Belgium,” Bryant said.






China to launch first aviation biofuel flight this year


Edit this entry.26.5.2010  (Reuters)China will launch its first flight using aviation biofuel this year after signing
an agreement with U.S. aviation giant Boeing in Beijing on Wednesday
At a ceremony after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meeting, Boeing
agreed to collaborate on the launch with carrier Air China (0753.HK) and oil major PetroChina (0857.HK), which will provide the jatropha-based fuel feedstock for the project.

Al Bryant, vice-president of Boeing’s research and technology department in China, told reporters the new fuel was expected to be commercially viable within three to five years.

“We believe in three to five years we should see a portion of fuel in commercial
aviation (using biofuel), but a lot has to be done,” he said.

“We’ve proven it can be flown and it is a matter of scaling it up to make it
commercially viable.”

Four test biofuel flights have already been conducted in the United States, and
Bryant said China was now the focus of development because “they have made the
decision to move faster”.

Aviation is responsible for about 2 percent of total global greenhouse emissions,
and the entire industry aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 through the use
of alternative fuels.

China aims to replace at least 15% of total diesel and gasoline consumption with
biofuel by 2020.

It has a number of pilot ethanol fuel projects in the farming belts of central
and northeast China, but it has been wary of traditional processing methods because
of concerns about food security and the impact on grain prices.

After banning the use of corn and edible oil in 2006 and suspending all new licenses
for bioethanol projects in 2007, China is focusing on new-generation variants
processed from agricultural waste, cellulosic materials or hardy but inedible
oil-bearing plants like jatropha.

“The United States relied on corn to produce biofuel but relying on crops has
been criticised, and second-generation biofuels are more significant for China,”
said Zhang Guobao, head of the country’s National Energy Administration.



Read more »

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

Here’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..


Renewable Jet Fuel Flight Scheduled During Rio+20 Environment Conference in Brazil

Amyris’s Sugarcane-Derived Jet Fuel Ready to be Used in Azul’s EMBRAER 195 Powered by GE’s CF34 Engines


SAO PAULO, Brazil,

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Azul Airlines joined Amyris, Embraer and GE in announcing today that Amyris’s innovative renewable jet fuel sourced from Brazilian sugarcane has successfully passed all required testing and will be used during a demonstration flight on an Azul E195 aircraft powered by GE’s CF34-10E engines. The “Azul+Verde” (a Greener Blue) flight will take place in Brazil on Tuesday, June 19th, during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Amyris’s renewable jet fuel has been designed to be compliant with Jet A/A-1 fuel specifications and provide equivalent performance versus conventional petroleum-derived fuel in a range of metrics, including fit-for-purpose properties and greenhouse gas emission reduction potential. The feedstock for the renewable jet fuel is sugarcane, a highly desirable biomass that can be produced sustainably in large-scale quantities in Brazil and other tropical countries.

The companies will provide additional information about the flight plans shortly, following authorization from Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).


Here is their  brazen publicity blurb …….

About Azul Airlines

Azul Brazilian Airlines has changed the landscape of Brazilian commercial aviation. With over 10% domestic market share, Azul is the third largest airline in Brazil, connecting 48 destinations, 47 cities, with over 400 daily flights. In addition to 52 Brazilian cities served by the company’s aircraft, Azul serves 8 additional points via convenient bus connections. Azul currently operates a fleet of 54 aircraft including 42 jets (32 Embraer 195 and 10 Embraer 190s) and 12 turboprops (7 ATR 72-600 and 5 ATR 72-200). To date, Azul has served more than 19 million customers. Its mission: to stimulate air travel and boost the Brazilian economy using a simple formula: low prices and high quality service. The company’s success has drawn recognition not only within Brazil, but internationally: In 2011, Azul was voted the ‘Best Airline in Brazil’ by both Travel and Tourism and Flight Revue magazines; Awarded title of ‘Best Low-Cost Airline in Latin America’ by Skytrax; was recognized as ‘One of The World’s 30 Hottest Brands’ by Advertising Age in New York. Learn more at

About Amyris

Amyris is an integrated renewable products company focused on providing sustainable alternatives to a broad range of petroleum-sourced products. Amyris uses its industrial synthetic biology platform to convert plant sugars into a variety of hydrocarbon molecules – flexible building blocks that can be used in a wide range of products. Amyris is commercializing these products both as No Compromise® renewable ingredients in cosmetics, flavors and fragrances, polymers, lubricants and consumer products, and also as No Compromise renewable diesel and jet fuel. Amyris Brasil Ltda., a subsidiary of Amyris, oversees the establishment and expansion of Amyris’s production in Brazil. More information about Amyris is available at

The Amyris, Inc. logo is available at

About Embraer

Embraer S.A. is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jets up to 120 seats, and one of Brazil’s leading exporters. Headquartered in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, it has offices, industrial operations and customer service facilities in Brazil, China, France, Portugal, Singapore, and the U.S. Embraer designs, develops, manufactures and sells aircraft and systems for the commercial aviation, executive aviation, and defense and security segments. It also provides after sales support and services to customers worldwide. For more information, please visit

About GE

GE works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet, turboprop and turboshaft engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit





. see also

Aviation biofuel hype in the Guardian – by a lobbyist for agribusiness and biofuel

Date added: May 17, 2012

Ben Caldecott works for an organisation that is owned by a large company that makes it money from the sugar industry, hence the bias in his article.

Ben Caldecott, who is – surprisingly and depressingly – a trustee of the Green Alliance, has written in the Guardian of his support for biofuels as the future for aviation. This appears to be a re-hash of an article he did almost three years ago, and does not appear to take on board the serious reservations there are now about the environmental, climate and social impacts of biofuels. He proposes that air travel will need to expand for business and pleasure, and biofuels will solve the aviation industry’s problem. He says, without ever mentioning which biofuel he is considering, and where they will come from, that key airports like Heathrow, Dubai, New York and Hong Kong will need to be using fuel contining an increasing amount of biofuel. It turns out that he works for an organisation that has just been taken over by a big agribusiness and biofuels company. And the Committee on Climate Change expects at the most 10% aviation biofuel by 2050.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Aviation biofuel hype in the Guardian – by a lobbyist for agribusiness and biofuel

Ben Caldecott, who is – surprisingly and depressingly – a trustee of the Green Alliance, has written in the Guardian of his support for biofuels as the future for aviation.  This appears to be a re-hash of an article he did almost three years ago, and does not appear to take on board the serious reservations there are now about the environmental, climate and social impacts of biofuels. He proposes that air travel will need to expand for business and pleasure, and biofuels will solve the aviation industry’s problem. He says, without ever mentioning which biofuel he is considering, and where they will come from, that key airports like Heathrow,  Dubai, New York and Hong Kong will need to be using fuel contining an increasing amount of biofuel. It turns out that he works for an organisation that has just been taken over by a big agribusiness and biofuels company.  And the Committee on Climate Change expects at the most 10% aviation biofuel by 2050.



Ben Caldecott

works with Climate Change Capital (a commercial organisation) that has just been taken over by a large agribusiness company. Hence his unjustified enthusiasm for biofuelled air travel.

and The Smith School in Oxford
as well as being a Trustee of the Green Alliance





“Only biofuels will cut plane emissions”

We need something that can deliver emission reductions from existing fleets of planes – and the solution already exists

by Ben Caldecott

Guardian 16.5.2012

As a small, maritime trading nation Britain has always been some distance from big international markets. Our ability to visit far-off places and people, and their access to us, has always been at the heart of our ability to punch above our weight in the world, whether that’s commercially, culturally or diplomatically.

In the past we were dependent on ships, now we are reliant on commercial airlines, as well as the Channel Tunnel and secure data networks. This infrastructure is critical for our future, particularly as we look to major economies like India, China and Brazil for export opportunities. But it is also vital for sustaining our outward facing society and culture; one that’s confident engaging with the world and welcoming of its diversity.

Rail and video-conferencing will help, but air travel will remain absolutely essential and more people are going to fly, especially to and from a networked, diverse, outward-facing island nation like our own.

We should embrace this, but we must also recognise that flying more will also have negative consequences, in particular greenhouse gas emissions. The positive progress on including aviation in Europe’s carbon trading scheme this week is welcome, but neither that nor more efficient aircraft will deal with the industry’s climate problem. As I will argue, only biofuels can do that. Aviation currently accounts for a relatively small proportion of global carbon emissions: 6% of UK, 4% of European Union and 2% of world. This will change fast though, with global aviation expected to grow at 5% a year for at least the next 15 years. If so, by 2050 aviation emissions will account for up to 20% of global emissions, making tackling global warming significantly harder.

Though new airport capacity in the UK is essential, plans for it must convincingly address this important pollution challenge.

Including aviation in the Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme is a step in the right direction, but at current carbon prices it will not spur the innovations needed to cut pollution. Some say the aviation sector has a good track record of improving the fuel efficiency of new aircraft, achieving an average annual improvement of about 1.5%. But these emissions savings will be completely overwhelmed by growing global demand for aviation.

So we desperately need something that can deliver a step-change in emission reductions from existing fleets, particularly as planes built today will be in service for many years to come. The only option is to replace existing jet fuel (kerosene) with an alternative that can deliver deep emission reductions and be used to current aircraft. Fortunately, this technology exists: sustainable bio jet fuels. Made from advanced feedstocks and able to provide significant life-cycle emission reductions and meet other stringent sustainability standards, these fuels can be produced today and have already received certification for use in commercial jet aircraft. They can also be produced now at costs not far above the high and volatile price of jet fuel, with Bloomberg predicting that they could potentially reach price parity with kerosene in 2016.

There is an opportunity for the UK to align its need to develop new airport capacity with the development of sustainable bio jet fuels at scale. We should work to ensure that any new airport provide airlines with the best biofuels available.

Airport operators should have to provide airlines with a blend of jet fuel that has a significant and rising proportion of sustainable bio jet fuel. This would significantly reduce emissions from flights. The mandate should start at an achievable level, say where the blend would have to be 15% less polluting than jet fuel today based on the strictest sustainability standards. It could then ratchet up to reach a point where the blend was 60% less polluting within a reasonable time-frame.

Airlines would benefit from a genuine and cost-effective emission reduction strategy, which might even attract environmentally conscious flyers. Not many hubs would need to follow the UK before the majority of international flights used sustainable bio jet fuel blends, perhaps only New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore need change, in addition to London.

An ambitious blending mandate would send exactly the signal required to accelerate the development of sustainable bio jet fuels. Airport operators would be required to demonstrate they had a plan to meet the incoming mandate and would sign supply contracts with developers, which would spur innovation and investment. The UK government could also ensure that our leading biotech, aviation and university sectors work in unison to create solutions, through targeted research programmes and tax relief for collaborative work.

The luddite wing of the environmental movement (see below)  will think such proposals sacrilegious – their only solution is to stop flying. But the reality is that there will be and should be more international travel, particularly to and from the UK. The challenge is to make this as least polluting as is possible, while also minimising local airport impacts. By aligning the debate about airport capacity sensibly with environmental objectives, we can make a significant dent in aviation emissions globally as well as guarantee sufficient airport capacity to keep UK plc open for both business and pleasure.


• Ben Caldecott is head of policy at Climate Change Capital and co-author of ‘Green Skies Thinking: Promoting the development and commercialisation of sustainable bio-jet fuels




There are a lot of comments under the article, at the address above.

Many sensible.

Here is one of them

“Bunge Limited (“Bunge”), a leading global agribusiness and food company, and Climate Change Capital Limited (“CCC”), a U.K.-regulated sustainable asset manager and advisor, today announced that Bunge has completed its previously announced acquisition of 100% of Climate Change Capital Group Limited (“CCCG”), the parent company of CCC.”

“Headquartered in London, Bunge’s sugar trading and marketing arm sources sugar and ethanol through our origination network in Brazil, Thailand and other geographies and markets it to customers around the world.”

“Bunge also produces oilseed-based biodiesel at joint venture facilities in the Americas and Europe, and has investments in a small number of corn ethanol plants in the United States.”



 Comments from Airport Watchmembers:

Ben Caldecott did a report on aviation and biofuels, making just this argument, in 2009 while at Policy Exchange,where he used to work:


Contrary to what Ben says, it was not only the “luddite wing of the environmental movement” who disagreed however. The Government’s climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, privately (personal converstion) described the report as barmy and recently published advice on biomass which argued that the most efficient use for biomass fuels is in buildings, followed by static installations with CCS, allowing the double benefit of CO2 being captured afterwards and stored. Putting it in planes came a long way down the list in terms of sensible uses. Given likely constraints on availability once sustainability criteria are applied, it seems very unlikely that much of it will make its way into aircraft engines.






Meeting the UK aviation target – options for reducing emissions to 2050


Committee on Climate Change  – December 2009



Use of biofuels in aviation


Concerns about land availability and sustainability mean that it is not prudent to assume that biofuels in 2050 could account for more than 10% of global aviation fuel:


–  It is likely that use of aviation biofuels will be both technically feasible and economically viable.


–  However, there will be other sectors which will compete with aviation for scarce biomass feedstock (e.g. road transport sector for use in HGVs, household sector biomass for cooking and heating, power generation for co-firing with CCS technology).


– And it is very unclear whether sufficient land and water will be available for growth of biofuels feedstocks given the need to grow food for a global population projected to increase from the current 6.7 billion to around 9.1 billion in 2050.


– Biofuel technologies that would not require agricultural land for growth of feedstocks (e.g. biofuels from algae, or biofuels grown with water from low-carbon desalination) may develop to change this picture but must be considered speculative today.


–  Given these concerns, it is not prudent today to plan for high levels of biofuels penetration. We have assumed 10% penetration in our Likely scenario




Page 21

Reflecting these considerations, our scenarios for biofuels penetration in aviation in 2050 range from 10% (Likely) to 30% (Speculative). Given uncertainty about whether the higher figures are compatible with sustainability, it is not prudent to base current policy on the assumption of a penetration rate above 10%. It is possible that over time more optimistic assumptions may become justified but these should only be used as a base for policy if and when there is clear evidence that all sustainability concerns have been addressed.




the concluding paragraph of  “Review of the potential for biofuels in aviation”

Final report For CCC   August 2009,%20Review%20of%20the%20potential%20for%20biofuels%20in%20aviation.pdf

In the more likely scenarios where conventional crops are not used, 10% of jet is not reached until 2026 even in the highest scenario (High BTL, new crops only, SH scenario). In the other scenarios, this is pushed out as far as 2035. This is limited by the availability of new oil crops, and the BTL plant build rate. The speed at which new oil crops will become available for HRJ production depends both on their successful development (breeding, agronomy etc), and on the rate of uptake by farmers and agro-industry, who must adapt to new practices and markets. In addition to this, there was relatively poor availability of data on new oil crop status and potential, and so this could be better assessed with further work or further information put into the public domain. Another key uncertainty is the availability of the new oils produced for HRJ production: we have assumed that only half of new crop production is available for plants producing HRJ, with the rest being used for plants only producing HVO or other uses. Considerably more detailed analysis of vegetable oil markets would be needed to assess how much production would be driven by HRJ demand alone.

For comparison, current biofuels production for road transport is around 1.6EJ

163, which is equivalent to 17% of current jet demand, or 13% of 2020 jet demand.

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UNCTAD Warning to Global Aviation: Biofuels Will Worsen Food Price Pressures

In a clear early-warning to the global aviation and transportation industry, the UN Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) has asserted that growing usage of biofuels is already contributing to higher food prices, and indicated that the problem could get worse in future. A new UNCTAD report launched in Doha says “mounting financial speculation in commodities and the increasing diversion of agricultural land to biofuel crops has changed the forces underpinning commodity prices, pushing them through a sustained period of increase”. It particularly warns the aviation industry, which is aiming to shift into biofuels in their attempt to reduce emissions, and says the industry has  downplayed the long-term impact on land-usage and food prices. 



26 Apr, 2012 (Travel Impact Newswire, in Thailand)


In a clear early-warning to the global aviation and transportation industry, the UN Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) has asserted that growing usage of biofuels is already contributing to higher food prices, and indicated that the problem could get worse in future.

The Commodities and Development Report 2012 (UCDR), a new UNCTAD publication launched on April 23 at the UNCTAD XIII quadrennial conference in Doha, Qatar, says “mounting financial speculation in commodities and the increasing diversion of agricultural land to biofuel crops has changed the forces underpinning commodity prices, pushing them through a sustained period of increase.” It says that “a sustained rise in prices for raw natural resources and basic agricultural goods is defying long-standing patterns and appears to be hurting poor nations through rising food and fuel costs more than it is helping them through higher revenues for their commodities exports.”

The report sounds an early-warning alert to the aviation sector specifically and the transportation industry in general. Both are shifting to alternative fuels, with biofuels seen as an important part of the mix. However, the aviation sector’s publicity blitz on biofuels has positioned the shift as part of an effort to alleviate global warming. It has downplayed the long-term impact on land-usage and food prices.

The UNCTAD report changes that scenario, making it clear that the shift will not be risk-free and that short-term gain could lead to long-term pain.

It says, “UNCTAD identifies biofuels as a third new twist in the current commodities boom. In the 2003-2004 harvest year, world maize farmers devoted 5 per cent of their crops to producing ethanol, which is marketed as an alternative to fossil fuels and mixed with gasoline. By the 2010-2011 harvest year, the proportion of world maize production converted to ethanol had tripled to 15%.

Generous subsidy programmes in the USA, Europe, and Brazil played a role in convincing farmers to use maize and sugar crops to produce biofuels instead of food. UNCTAD estimates that competition from biofuels contributed an estimated 15 to 20 per cent to cereal export prices. More fundamentally, biofuels link cereal markets with energy markets, weakening the influence of demand and supply signals on cereal prices.”

According to the report, this shift in energy usage, although being public touted as an opportunity to create new jobs in alternative fuels, is actually bolstering the bottom-lines of commodity speculators and investors.

It says: “One driving force of the change is the massive influx of financial capital that has flowed into commodity futures markets since 2003, the report says. Financial investors differ from producers or traders in that they are not concerned with the physical delivery of products, but rather in buying delivery contracts and later selling them for higher prices, thus repeating speculative profits. As these financial investors have pulled their money out of troubled bond and equity markets, the number of commodity futures contracts traded worldwide has exploded, climbing from approximately 500 million in 2003 to more than 2.5 billion in 2011. Similarly, the worldwide value of commodity derivatives, including both futures and options, rose from just over US$1 trillion in 2003, to more than $8 trillion in 2007, before subsiding to $3 trillion in 2009 and 2010.

“UNCTAD contends that this “financialization” of commodities futures has fundamentally changed the conduct and outcomes of commodities markets in general, for example by changing a producer’s price expectations and reducing his ability to hedge against risk.”

Hence, the report says, “what should be a boon for poor nations, especially the globe’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs) — whose economies often depend heavily on commodity exports – is on balance a negative development because many of these countries are net importers of oil and staple foods, the study says. Since the food crisis of 2008, prices for basic nourishment have been both volatile and high, the report says – and poor families are acutely vulnerable, as they typically spend 50 per cent or more of their incomes on food.

Among the UCDR’s recommendations:

• Steps should be taken to invest in national and regional food reserves to help food-insecure countries;

• The recent shift to “finance-driven globalization,” as it applies to commodities, should be reconsidered, especially in comparison to the standard development model in which profits from commodities exports are used to increase domestic investment that can help diversify and expand the capacities of developing-country economies;

• That fiscal and taxation policies be adjusted so that they help developing countries reap stable, long-term economic benefits from commodities exports; and

• That measures be taken nationally and internationally to improve the situations of small farmers and other small commodity producers in poor countries.

It says: “Thus far, the 2003-2011 commodities price boom has unfolded differently than previous booms. Historically, commodity price cycles involved a short, rapid price increase, followed by a steep decrease, and then a long period of stagnation before the next spike. This boom-bust cycle has frustrated the economic prospects of countries whose development strategies rely on exporting their natural resources or farm products. By contrast, in the current boom, these commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDC) have benefited from relatively sustained price increases since 2003, with only a brief retreat in 2009.”

The report downplays the impact on climbing commodities prices of growing Chinese demand. China has undertaken rapid industrial development over the last two decades, a process that has required large volumes of imported raw materials such as oil, metals, and rubber, as well as food to feed its factory workers. This demand is often cited as the main factor driving the price boom across all commodity products. UNCTAD finds that Chinese demand has indeed dominated the markets for metals such as copper, nickel, and in particular iron ore, for which it accounted for 63 per cent of world imports. But China’s share of world imports of oil (7 per cent) and food commodities (all less than 2 per cent), although significant, is not so high as to drive price movements.

From a development perspective, the report details how the unique characteristics of the current boom have affected CDDCs. A direct effect of high and volatile food prices is reduced food security among the poorest populations. The 2008 food-price crisis pushed an additional 119 million people worldwide into hunger. Many CDDCs are net food importers, so high food prices result in trade deficits for their governments. Food prices have remained volatile ever since, which dissuades farmers from investing in new equipment or land and overwhelms the insurance and hedging facilities available to them.

Many CDDCs also are disproportionately dependent on oil imports. Thus, despite the additional revenues they received from exports of other commodities, these revenues were often outweighed by the increased cost of oil imports. As a result, the countries’ trade balances have suffered despite the boom. For households in developing countries, the rising costs of fuel and food imports are a serious threat, as food represents 50 per cent or more of an average household’s total expenditures – much more for the poorest households.

Apart from paying for increased oil and food import costs, CDDC governments have mainly invested their export windfalls in international capital markets, a startling deviation from the previous export-led development model. During the rapid industrial development of many East Asian and Southeast Asian economies, for example, governments reinvested earnings from exports of oil or agricultural products in industrial or infrastructure projects, or in domestic capital markets. These investments helped diversify their economies, improving their productive capacities and increasing their available capital.

Instead of these domestic investments, CDDC governments have used export earnings to repay foreign debt and to build their foreign exchange reserves. These foreign capital transactions are important for demonstrating solvency and economic stability to foreign investors, but they do not contribute to the productive and capital sectors of CDDCs’ domestic economies.

According to UNCTAD, this trend in which developing countries invest their export earnings in international capital markets is a symptom of a larger shift to a “finance-drive globalization” model. If such a shift has occurred, it has major implications for countries that follow export-led development strategies.

Among other things, the report recommends that the “international governance architecture” as it relates to commodities be studied and reconsidered and that more research be carried out on possible policy and technical solutions to the challenges faced by CDDCs.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery flight USA to Tokyo with 10% used cooking oil and chicken fat

All Nippon Airways, in Japan, have used 10% biofuel (it does not say whether in one or more engines) mainly from SkyNRG used cooking oil,  in its Boeing  787 Dreamliner. The plane flew from Washington to Tokyo. ANA says there were significant  carbon savings – though two thirds of the carbon savings claimed come from the Dreamliner itself, rather than the fuel. There are known supply problems with used cooking oil, and there is not enough of it to be more than a token gesture for the aviation industry, on publicity flights. Boeing say the Dreamliner can carry 201 – 250 passengers on routes of up to 14,200 to 15,200 km; and 250 to 290 passengers on routes of up to14,800 to 15,750 km.  Boeing claim it produces 20% less CO2 than a similarly-sized current commercial aircraft.

(Boeing says the biofuel is mainly used cooking oil – with a bit of chicken fat)


Boeing 787 delivery flight to ANA marks first use of biofuels on the new Dreamliner and also first across the Pacific

17 April 2012  (GreenAir online)

Biofuel from used cooking oil has been used to power in part the delivery flight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner joining the All Nippon Airways (ANA) fleet from Boeing’s Delivery Center in Everett, Washington (south of Vancouver), to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Not only is it the first use of biofuels on Boeing’s new mid-size, twin-engined aircraft capable of flying long-range routes but it is the first time a biofuel blend has been used on a transpacific flight. Boeing said the flight emitted an estimated 30% less emissions of CO2 when compared to similarly-sized current commercial aircraft as a result of a 10% blend of biofuel and an approximate 20% saving from the technology and efficiency advancements offered by the Dreamliner.

“Our historic flight using sustainable biofuels across the Pacific Ocean highlights how innovative technology can be used to support our industry’s goal of carbon-neutral growth beyond 2020,” said Osamu Shinobe, Senior Executive Vice President of ANA, the launch customer for the 787.

The biofuel was supplied by Dutch company SkyNRG.

According to Boeing, the 20% improvement in the fuel efficiency of the 787 is down to four key technologies: new GE and Rolls-Royce engines, increased use of lightweight composite materials that make up half of the primary structure, more efficient systems applications and modern aerodynamics.

Boeing says the Dreamliner is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes and will allow airlines to open new, non-stop routes. The manufacturer argues that it provides an environmental advantage as it connects passengers more directly with their destinations rather than having to transfer through hub airports and eliminates the need for additional takeoffs and landings.

The airliner will travel at a similar speed as today’s fastest wide bodies and offer airlines more cargo revenue capacity. The 787-8 version will carry 210 to 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 km), while the 787-9 will carry 250 to 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km).

Boeing also promises an improved interior environment, including higher humidity levels.

“The 787 is the most environmentally progressive jetliner flying today, combining fuel efficiency and comfort with reduced carbon emissions,” said Billy Glover, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy.


Boeing – Environment

ANA – CSR and Environment


The ANA press release at  says


Chicken fat as aviation fuel:


NASA tested some chicken fat (and beef tallow) fuel in April 2011



Chicken Fat Biofuel Could Power Navy’s Green Strike Force

December 2011

The $12 million contract, announced yesterday, covers 450,000 gallons of biofuel, some of which will be rendered into synthetic fuel from nonfood grade animal products courtesy of Tyson Foods, Inc. through a partnership called Dynamic Fuels LLC. Dynamic Fuels can use a wide variety of nonfood feedstocks including rendered chicken fat and other inedible animal fats. Inedible beef tallow and used cooking oil currently dominate the mix.

Source: Clean Technica (





chicken fat to jet fuel

Written by Jeffrey Ball –

Wall Street Journal   December 2010


Agricultural giant Tyson Foods Inc. and fuel developer Syntroleum Corp say they’ve begun in recent weeks to make diesel and jet fuel from chicken fat, beef tallow and a range of greases and oils at a plant they’ve built in Geismar, La., south of Baton Rouge. The raw materials are leftovers from Tyson’s meat-processing plants and other food-processing factories and restaurants.

The Louisiana refinery has the capacity to produce 75 million gallons of fat-based fuel annually—making it tiny by oil-industry standards but among the bigger alternative-fuel plants in the U.S.  [Aviation annually uses about 70 billion gallons on fuel.  link   So this fat would produce 0.1% of global aviation fuel].

Buyers include oil companies mandated by federal law to mix renewable fuel into their conventional diesel, the companies say, though they wouldn’t identify the purchasers, citing confidentiality agreements. The U.S. Air Force confirmed that it has contracted to buy about 40,000 gallons for testing the fuel for potential use in planes.

More at




More on chicken fat as biofuel:

… extract …

The nation’s biggest meat corporations have taken notice. Tyson Foods announced in November it has established a renewable energy division that will be up and running during 2007. Competitors Perdue Farms Inc. and Smithfield Foods Inc. are making similar moves. As meatpackers enter the field, they bring massive amounts of fuel stock that could make biodiesel cheaper and more plentiful.

The shift to animal fat as a fuel stock could be key to making the budding biodiesel industry a reliable fuel source for U.S. trucking fleets, said Vernon Eidman, a professor of economics at the University of Minnesota who has extensively studied the biofuels industry. Eidman estimates that within five years, the U.S. will produce 1 billion gallons of biodiesel, and half of it will be made from animal fat. By that time soybean-based biodiesel will account for about 20 percent of the total, he said.

For fuel refiners, the allure of animal fat is clear. Soybean oil costs 33 cents a pound while chicken fat costs 19 cents. Soybean oil is in the blend because it adds necessary lubrication for engine parts.

For companies like Tyson, the attraction is simple. Being the nation’s biggest meat company, Tyson is also the biggest producer of leftover fat from chicken, cattle and hogs. Tyson is keeping the specifics of its renewable fuels division under tight wraps. But Tyson Vice President Jeff Webster told a recent investment conference the potential is clear. Tyson produces about 2.3 billion pounds of chicken fat annually from its poultry plants. That’s about 300 million gallons that could be converted to fuel.

Biofuel in Action Around the World

The United States produces almost 5,000,000,000 kilograms of fat from chickens, cows and pigs each year, so it is not surprising that enterprising scientists would look for ways to use this ‘waste’ product.

Read more »

Qantas trials used cooking oil from SkyNRG (Netherlands) in biofuels flight

Qantas will use recycled American cooking oil to help power a biofuel trial flight tomorrow (13th April).  The aircraft will use a mix of biofuel and conventional jet fuel for the Sydney-Adelaide return service. Produced by Dutch firm SkyNRG, the fuel has been used by several other airlines. Qantas claims its “life cycle” carbon footprint is around 60% smaller than that of conventional jet fuel. It is part of a long-term plan to reduce a fuel bill that totalled A$3.6 billion last year. Last year they were enthusiastic about algal biofuel, but there is no mention of that now.



By Grant Bradley

Apr 12, 2012  (New Zealand Herald)

Qantas has a long-term plan to reduce its fuel bill. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Qantas will use recycled American cooking oil to help power a biofuel trial flight tomorrow.

The aircraft will use a mix of biofuel and conventional jet fuel for the Sydney-Adelaide return service. Produced by Dutch firm SkyNRG, the fuel has been used by several other airlines.

Qantas says its “life cycle” carbon footprint is around 60 per cent smaller than that of conventional jet fuel. It is part of a long-term plan to reduce a fuel bill that totalled A$3.6 billion last year.

The airline said the goal of the flights was to raise awareness about the potential for sustainable aviation fuel in Australia.

Spokesman Tom Woodward said that while other airlines had run biofuel flights, debate about alternative aviation fuel in Australia had been limited.

The production of biofuels for aviation was now well advanced, he said.

“What we want to do is take the next step and see how we can produce it in Australia.

“To some extent we’ve been cautious about not wanting to do a flight for the sake of it. We want to build some momentum over here.”

Bookings for the 90-minute to two-hour flight were solid, he said.

Fuel was the biggest operational cost for Qantas and like other airlines it faced carbon emission charging.

Dutch airline KLM, Chile’s LAN and Finnair have trialled SkyNRG fuels which come from a variety of feedstocks besides used cooking oil.

At the end of 2008 Air New Zealand successfully ran a trial in which it powered a Boeing 747 with a 50:50 blend of imported jatropha biofuel and traditional jet fuel and is looking for local alternatives. Last December it signed an agreement with Australian firm Licella to examine the development and commercialisation of a process to convert woody biomass into biofuel.



Qantas launches biofuel powered commercial flight

Big News

14th April, 2012

SYDNEY – Qantas Airways Friday launched its first commercial flight using a blend of recycled cooking oil and aviation fuel, in what the airline hopes will be the first step towards a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia.

A biofuel powered Qantas A330 took to the skies as the airline announced a new $500,000 government-backed effort to study the feasibility of an Australian biofuel industry.

Shell Australia will partner Qantas in the $500,000 Emerging Renewables Program grant with the aim of studying long-term viability of biofuel feedstock and the production of low carbon aviation fuels.

“Australia has the skills, resources and infrastructure to take the lead in this emerging sector,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said at a press conference ahead of the Sydney-Adelaide flight.

Like other airlines, Qantas has been hit hard by high fuel prices over the past two years. Fuel accounts for the largest expense of an airline. To offset the high aviation fuel cost, Qantas has already raised ticket prices twice this year.

In February, the Australian carrier announced plans to slash at least 500 jobs and cut costs after an 83% slump in first-half net profits.

Lufthansa last year became the first airline to establish biofuel powered schedules flights four times daily between Frankfurt and Hamburg aboard an Airbus A321. In Lufthansa’s case the 50% biofuel partly includes animal fats.

The use of 50:50 blend of aviation fuel with recycled cooking oil, sourced from US company SkyNRG, is Qantas’ latest bid to hold down the fuel bills while also cutting emissions.

Last year last year announced a joint venture with Solazyme, a US based company, to study algae based biofuels.  Several other airlines are pursuing various biofuel options. One such is an attempt to make eucalyptus based biofuel by Virgin Australia and Airbus.

Though biofuel remains significantly more expensive than conventional jet fuel, Joyce said a shift has become a necessity given the economic and environmental costs of petroleum-based fuels.

“We need to get ready for a future that is not based on traditional jet fuel or frankly we don’t have a future,” he said.

Qantas shift to biofuel is in part dictated by Australia’s move to enforce carbon emission tax from July 1. Europe already imposes a controversial carbon tax on airlines, while New Zealand has a carbon tax that applies to flights within that country.

“From July, Qantas will be the only airline in the world to face liabilities in three jurisdictions, so our sense of urgency is justified,” said Joyce.

Qantas study has found that the certified biofuel it has opted for has a “life cycle” carbon footprint that is about 60 per cent less than that of conventional jet fuel.






At the end of 2011 they were talking about algal biofuel ………..


Qantas, Solazyme and Solena to launch Australian biofuels flights in 2012

Qantas has announced that Australia’s first commercial flight powered by “sustainable” fuel will be in early 2012. Qantas has signed agreements with Solazyme (in the USA), which is working with algae-based aviation fuels, and Solena (in the USA), which is experimenting with waste-based fuels. Qantas hopes to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% each year. Solarzyme’s fuel is called Solajet, and they aim to scale its production up to commercial levels.


Qantas, Solazyme to launch biofuels flights in 2012

November 14, 2011 (Biofuel Digest)

In Australia, Qantas announced that the country’s first commercial flight powered
by sustainable fuel will be carried out in early 2012.

This year, Qantas has signed agreements with two leading manufacturers of sustainable
aircraft fuel. Solazyme is working with algae-based aviation fuels and Solena
is experimenting with water-based [sic – they probably mean waste based] fuels.

The airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, stated that only the production of sustainable
aviation fuel on a commercial basis could deliver a generational step in emissions
reduction. Qantas is committed to improving fuel efficiency by 1.5 per cent each




Solazyme, Qantas sign aviation biofuels development partnership

Thomas Saidak

February 11, 2011 (Biofuel Digest)

In California, Solazyme announced that it has begun a collaboration with Qantas,
to pursue the potential for commercial production of Solazyme’s microbial derived
aviation fuel, Solajet, in Australia. This represents the first collaboration
in the Asia-Pacific region to explore the use of Solajet in commercial aviation.
There is currently a six billion liter a year demand for aviation fuel in Australia.
Qantas is also working with another US company, Solena, to determine the feasibility
of using MSW for production of biojet fuel.

More on the story.

Last month, we wrote: “At a series of public and private meetings this week on
the Rodeo Drive of algae, North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, California, Qantas
confirmed that it is in advanced talks with an unnamed algal biofuels producer
(“with strong ties to Australia”) that are expected to result in a letter of intent
for an offtake agreement for algal jet fuel, with the potential that Qantas may
take a financial stake in the venture.

Qantas’ Peter Broschofsky, who is coordinating the initiative for Qantas as well
as chairing the environment committee of the International Air Transport Association
(IATA), also confirmed that the company, hopes to complete  feasibility work on
its first biofuels project within six months. Qantas signed LOI with Solena earlier
this year, and launched what was described at the time as a 12-month investigation
of the potential to develop a 19 million gallon waste-to-jet fuel plant in Australia.

Possible Qantas equity stake?

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is reported to be “putting on the pressure, for the team
to get on with it,” and Broschofsky said that Qantas has not ruled out taking
an investment stake in a biofuels enterprise, though he suggested that any decisions
would be taken after completion of feasibility work. He said that there continued
to be some uneasiness at the Qantas board level on the wisdom of entering the
biofuels sphere as an equity partner.

“Three or four years ago at IATA,” Broschofsky said, “biofuels weren’t even on
the radar; it was in the “too hard” category. But $180 per gallon fuel at the
wing (in 2008) got everyone’s attention – it was a real crisis.” He described
how Boeing galvanized the industry behind the development of the Bio-SPK jet fuel
specification, which most observers are predicting will be approved in the first
half of 2011 and possibly late in the first quarter.

“Watch the flood,” Broschofsky predicted, “after the fuel is certified, interest
will be at a fever pitch, and we want to get in ahead.” He detailed how it was
Boeing’s interest that brought Qantas into the biofuels arena, and Qantas in turn
galvanized broader support within IATA.

Read more »