Continental Airlines, Boeing and GE Aviation Announce Plans for “Sustainable” Biofuels Flight Demonstration

13.3.2008   (Continental Airlines)

HOUSTON,   Continental Airlines, Boeing, and GE Aviation today announced plans
to conduct a biofuels demonstration flight in the first half of 2009 in an effort
to identify sustainable fuel solutions for the aviation industry. Continental
is the first major U.S. carrier to announce plans to highlight technological advancements
in sustainable biofuels that can help to further reduce carbon emissions.

“Exploring sustainable biofuels is a logical and exciting new step in our environmental
commitment. For more than a decade, we have been focused on reducing fuel consumption
and carbon emissions, while providing industry-leading service to the places our
customers want to go,” said Mark Moran, Continental Airlines executive vice president
of operations. “Boeing and GE Aviation have been frontrunners in pioneering technology
that will benefit the aviation industry, customers, and the environment, and we
are pleased to benefit from their expertise in this venture.”

“Continental has been aggressively pursuing efforts to reduce carbon emissions
for years, and continues to focus attention on providing innovative solutions,”
said Ray Conner, executive vice president, sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“They clearly recognize the need for environmental improvement across the industry
and have embraced that challenge through fleet modernization and the economic
and social benefits that sustainable environmental technologies can provide to
their operations and to their passengers.”

“Continental is taking an important step in advancing the use of sustainable
biofuels in aviation,” said Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of GE Aviation.
“Working with our jet engine team at CFM International, GE has considerable experience
in evaluating biofuels in jet engines for aviation and in aeroderivative engines
for marine and industrial applications. GE and CFM are eager to get started in
supporting Continental’s exciting program.”

The biofuel flight will use a Boeing Next-Generation 737 equipped with CFM International
CFM56-7B engines. CFM is a 50/50 joint company of General Electric Company and
Snecma (SAFRAN Group). In the months leading up to the flight, Continental, Boeing
and GE will work together and with an undisclosed fuel provider to identify sustainable
fuel sources that don’t impact food crops, water resources or contribute to deforestation,
and which can be produced in sufficient quantities to support a pre-flight test
that includes laboratory and ground-based jet engine performance testing to
ensure compliance with stringent aviation fuel performance and safety requirements.

As part of a broader industry effort, Boeing and other industry thought leaders,
including airlines and engine manufacturers, are helping to guide the aviation
sector toward sustainable biofuels produced through advanced biomass conversion technologies
and processes that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their
Sustainable biofuels for aviation incorporate second-generation methodologies
relative to fuel source selection and processing, which are uniquely suited for
aerospace use. These biofuels can then be blended with kerosene fuel (Jet-A) to
reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Additional details, including the flight plan,
will be announced closer to the demonstration flight date.

and it goes on ……………….


The partners will be keen to demonstrate another type of biofuel than that used
on the Virgin flight – derived from the oil of babassu nuts and coconuts – and
although algae is seen as a future ‘biojetfuel-of-choice’, other potential sources
include jatropha, halophytes and switchgrass.

Whereas the Virgin flight had a 20/80 blend in one of its four engines, Continental
suggests that on its flight the mix may be as high as 50/50 in one of the 737’s
two engines.
Continental’s participation in the project, says the airline, is part of a company-wide
commitment to environmental responsibility that has seen a 35% reduction in GHG
emissions and fuel consumption per mainline revenue passenger mile flown over
the past 10 years.
See Also
Solena announces development of first large-scale US renewable jet fuel production

Thu 13 Mar 2008
Washington-based Solena Group, a leading global bio-energy company, is to develop
in partnership with Rentech Inc what it describes as the world’s first commercial
scale aviation grade biofuel production plant in California. The process is based
on 100% Bio-SynGas that is generated from biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW)
and then converted into renewable jet fuel.

The facility will use Solena’s Bio-SynGas as a replacement for synthesis gas
generated from coal or natural gas. Utilizing Solena’s gasification technology,
the facility will convert biomass and organic products derived from municipal
solid waste into clean, renewable synthesis gas (Bio-SynGas), which will then
be converted into renewable jet fuel through Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch process.
see full article ….