China’s CAAC has granted Sinopec a license allowing aviation biofuel to be made from rapeseed, palm oil & soybean oil
China’s oil refiner, Sinopec, has been given a license allowing commercial use of its aviation biofuel by airlines. There was a biofuel test flight in 2013 using fuel made from from hydrotreated palm oil and recycled cooking oil. Sinopec said it can now produce bio-jet fuel from a wide range of raw material feedstock, including rapeseed oil, palm oil and soybean oil ( which competes with human and animal food). Sinopec started research on aviation biofuel in 2009, and its application for commercial use was accepted by CAAC in early 2012. Sinopec can produce 3,000 tonnes of the fuel per year, from rape seed, cotton seed and waste cooking oil. The company is considering joining with private enterprise in planting, collecting and processing these source oils, as well as getting waste cooking oil from McDonald’s. Sinopec claims their biofuels generate 45% less CO2 than conventional fuels. China is the world’s largest oil importer and 58.1% of its 2013 came from imports.China is now the 2nd largest consumer of aviation fuel, consuming nearly 20 million tonnes per year. Its jet fuel demand is estimated to be expanding by 10% every year, while the global average is less than 5%. The production costs of aviation biofuel remain at least 2 – 3 times those of crude oil.
China approves aviation biofuel for commercial use
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has granted Sinopec, China’s top oil refiner, a license allowing commercial use of its aviation biofuel in an effort to cut carbon emissions.
The license, the first of its kind to Sinopec, allows the company’s No.1 aviation biofuel to be used by airlines.
CAAC Flight Criteria Department director Xu Chaoqun said the development is a significant breakthrough for the country’s research, production and application of aviation biofuel.
Sinopec started research on aviation biofuel in 2009 and CAAC accepted its application for commercial use in early 2012.
Sinopec can produce 3,000 tonnes of biofuel oil a year from materials such as plant seeds and recycled cooking oil. The regulator noted Sinopec will work to diversify biofuel sources, lower production costs and push forward commercial application of the fuel.
Biofuel is gaining popularity in China. Last April, China Eastern Airlines operated a test flight in Shanghai powered by No.1 aviation biofuel and the fuel went through several rounds of additional strict tests before it received approval. In addition, Air China became the nation’s first carrier to test a flight partly powered by biofuel, the result of a collaboration between PetroChina and Honeywell UOP’s green jet fuel in October 2011.
Industry analysts said the commercial viability of biofuel for use in jets still faces tough challenges because the treatment process of producing biofuel will push the cost up higher than regular fuel refinery.
China’s aviation biofuel goes into commercial use
- February 12, 2014 (China.org)
China started commercial use of aviation biofuel on Wednesday, in a bid to ease fuel pressure and cut carbon emissions.
China’s top oil refiner, Sinopec, was given a license allowing commercial use of its aviation biofuel, said the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The license, the first of its kind, permits Sinopec’s No. 1 Aviation Biofuel to be used by airlines, some of which have showed willingness to cooperate with the refiner.
Xu Chaoqun, deputy head of CAAC’s Flight Criteria Department, said the development is a significant breakthrough for research, production and use of aviation biofuel.
The development also makes China the fourth country in the world to produce aviation biofuel, after the United States, France and Finland.
Sinopec started research on aviation biofuel in 2009, and its application for commercial use was accepted by CAAC in early 2012.
Last April, a test flight in Shanghai powered by the biofuel was a success, and the fuel went through several rounds of more strict tests before it was given the green light.
Sinopec can produce 3,000 tonnes of such oil a year, from materials like rape seed, cotton seed and wasted cooking oil.
The refiner is also considering joining with private enterprise in planting, collecting and processing materials, after working with McDonald’s to collect cooking oil.
“Aviation biofuel is one of the major trends in global aviation,” said Xu. “With our research on aviation biofuel, we have built a set of technological standards, and will have a bigger say in international carbon emission reduction.” ‘ Research showed that carbon dioxide generated by biofuel is 45 percent or less than that produced by conventional fuel.
The International Air Transport Association forecast that 30 percent of aviation fuel will be biofuel by 2020, and a few western airlines have been testing commercial flights with biofuel since 2008.
China is the world’s largest oil importer and 58.1 percent of its 2013 supply relied on imports.
With an annual consumption of nearly 20 million tonnes, China has become the second largest aviation fuel consumer and demand is estimated to be expanding by 10 percent every year, while the global average is less than 5 percent.
By contrast, the country has abundant biofuel-refining resources: vast areas of oil-rich plants and a huge amount of wasted cooking oil.
However, analysts said there may be a long way to go until large-scale application of aviation biofuel due to costs.
Xu Hui, vice director of Sinopec’s Science and Technology Department, said the production costs of aviation biofuel are two to three times those of crude oil.
He said some three tonnes of wasted cooking oil can generate one tonne of biofuel, and collecting cooking waste suitable for refining is expensive.
Refiners and airlines have to split the cost, and the final price will be determined by the market based on emission-cutting efforts and an application scale, according to Xu with Sinopec.
“The most important thing for now is to diversify biofuel sources and upgrade technology,” said CAAC’s Xu.