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

The IDB will finance for “renewable” jet fuel projects in Latin America and the
Caribbean and along with aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Embraer the IDB will
fund a sustainability analysis of producing jet fuel from Brazilian sugarcane. 
The study will evaluate environmental and market conditions for and will be independently
reviewed and advised by the WWF. It will include indirect land-use effects. Sugar-derived
jet biofuels were not included in the recent ASTM certification process

15.8.2011 (Green Air Online) 


The regional initiative launched in June by the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB) to provide finance for renewable jet fuel projects in Latin America and
the Caribbean has made its first grant. The IDB, along with aircraft manufacturers
Boeing and Embraer, is to fund a sustainability analysis of producing jet fuel
from Brazilian sugarcane.

The study will evaluate environmental and market conditions for the use of renewable
jet fuel produced by synthetic biofuel technology company Amyris.  It will be
led by ICONE, an agricultural research think-tank in Brazil, and will be independently reviewed and advised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
In 2009, Embraer and Amyris announced a sustainable jet fuel initiative that
aims to conduct a demonstration flight in 2012 of a GE-powered Embraer aircraft
belonging to Brazilian airline Azul using biofuel derived from sugarcane.

Scheduled for completion early next year, the ICONE study will include a complete
lifecycle analysis of the emissions associated with the Amyris ‘No Compromise’
jet fuel, including indirect land-use change and effects. In addition, it will
include benchmarking of cane-derived renewable jet fuel against major sustainability
standards, including the Bonsucro, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and
the Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard adopted by the IDB.

Sugar-derived jet biofuels were not included in the recent ASTM certification
process and so cannot be used on commercial flights but, according to Amyris CEO
John Melo, ASTM has now set up a task force to establish product specifications
for direct sugar-to-hydrocarbon renewable jet fuels such as those being developed
by Amyris.

“This study will help us replace fossil fuels with a renewable jet fuel that
surpasses both technical and sustainability criteria,” he said.

Embraer’s Director of Environmental Strategy and Technology, Guilherme de Almeida
Freire, commented: “Participation in this important study is one more step for
Embraer to support the development of sustainable biofuels for aviation. Brazil
is a rich source of biomass, and the maturation of this technology, based on sugarcane,
reinforces the importance that the nation gives to the sustainable growth of aviation.”

The leader of the IDB Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Initiative, Arnaldo Vieira
de Carvalho, said: “Emerging renewable jet fuel technologies have the potential
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, as sugarcane ethanol in Brazil
has already proven. This study will examine the overall potential for sustainable,
large-scale production of alternative jet fuels made from sugarcane.”

The IDB is employing grant resources from its Sustainable Energy and Climate
Change Fund to finance activities under its jet fuel initiative. Countries that
have already started developing sustainable jet fuels in the region, including
Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, will be among the first to benefit from the grants,
said the bank (see article).

“As renewable jet fuel production increases, it must be done in a transparent
and sustainable way,” said Kevin Ogorzalek, Program Officer at WWF.
We’re eager to contribute to this study as one part of a growing international
effort to reduce the fast-growing emissions from aviation and protect the critical
resources on which we all depend.”

Billy Glover, Boeing VP of Environment and Aviation Policy, said collaborative
research into the cane-to-jet pathway was important for diversifying aviation
fuel supplies and ensuring the sustainability of sources that could feed into
regional supply chains, such as in Brazil, was critical.

He added the project expanded on an existing collaboration between Boeing, Amyris
and the State Government of Queensland, Australia. In May 2010, an international
research project led by the University of Queensland and backed by Boeing, Amyris
and Virgin Blue, was launched to develop renewable jet fuel from algae. The Queensland
government contributed A$2 million (S2.1m) to the project through the host university’s
Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, with Boeing adding
A$450,000 and Amyris a further A$1 million.
So much for IATA saying the industry was looking for fuels not in competition
with food.
on the 2010 ICAO Environmental Report 2010 – Aviation and Climate Change

which says:
Aviation Raw Material Requirements

New biofuels for aviation will have to improve their GHG emissions balances throughout the entire life cycle and will have to guarantee
that a number of criteria related to indirect effects and basic environmental
issues are met. These include such factors as food security, land use, ecosystem
interaction, and soil and water uses. Specifically, biofuels made from second
generation feedstock crops should comply with the following main characteristics:

Do not interfere with the food sector.

● Are produced on land not used for food production, or marginal land.

● Do not damage scarce natural ecosystems and are produced so that soil and water
will not be contaminated or over-utilized.

● Do not require excessive agricultural inputs.

● Provide a net carbon footprint reduction compared to conventional jet fuel.

● Produce equal or higher energy content than jet fuel.

● Are not threatening to biodiversity.

● Provide socio-economic value to local communities.

The raw materials produced from agroenergetic crops for aviation biofuels must
be non food-feedstock items in order to guarantee that they do not compete with
the food production industry.