Biofuels News

Below are links to stories about aviation biofuels.

Aircraft to run on aviation biofuel in 3-5 years

The aviation indudustry body, the Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) says that within 3 - 5 years, the first drops of sustainable aviation biofuels could be entering the tanks of aircraft. In order to inform industry employees and members of the flying public about this "new age in flight", the group this week launches a new publication, The Beginner's Guide to Aviation Biofuels. (All sounds great till you consider the details). (Commodity online)

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Bioenergy Makes Heavy Demands On Scarce Water Supplies

The ‘water footprint’ of bioenergy, i.e. the amount of water required to cultivate crops for biomass, is much greater than for other forms of energy. Jatropha, which is increasingly used for biomass production, has a water footprint of 20,000 litres of water on average for one litre of biodiesel, compared to 14,000 litres of water to produce one litre of biodiesel from rapeseed or soya. Research is quantifying water use. (Science Daily)

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Grassohol offers solution to biofuel conundrum

Scientists in Wales are developing a new transport fuel made from grass in an attempt to avoid the problems associated with existing biofuels. The £1 million 'Grassohol' research project aims to produce commercially and economically viable ethanol from perennial ryegrass - the most commonly sown grass in the UK which is normally used for grazing or silage. They hope it contribute to renewable energy targets. (Transport Briefing)

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Biofuels Digest Special Report on Aviation Biofuels: Military Aviation

The US military is the world’s largest consumer of fuel at a rate of more than 340,000 barrels per day and $13.6 billion per year. The United States Air Force has set a goal of producing 50% of its fuels by alternative means by 2016. Current biodiesel fuels are 25% lower in energy density than JP-8 and exhibit unacceptable cold- flow features at the lower extreme of the required JP-8 operating temperature range (minus 50 degrees F).

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Aviation biofuel proves itself in tests, but is there enough?

Boeing, Virgin Atlantic, New Zealand Air, Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines, along with GE Aircraft Engines, have conducted four tests using a mixture of biofuel and regular jet fuel over the past 15 months. The planes involved included wide-body 747s and single-aisle 737s. The biofuels included blends of babassu, sustainably grown coconut oil, jatropha, algae and camelina. But how quickly can biofuels be produced to fuel planes. (McClatchy)

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Biofuels Digest Special Report on Aviation Biofuels: Airlines

Biofuels Digest goes through a range of airlines, and where they have got to on biofuels. BA said it would test 4 alternative fuels for a trial in a Rolls Royce test bed early next year. Japan Air Lines conducted a one-hour 747-300 flight test using a B50 blend of camelina, jatropha and algae based biofuel in 1 engine in January. Lufthansa said that it would convert up to 10% of its fuel usage to biofuels by 2020 - and Air France-KLM want to use algae oil.

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White House extends aviation biofuel program

The US federal government has extended a research program to develop biofuels for use in commercial aircraft, by 5 years. The US Agriculture Secretary and the Transportation Secretary made the announcement, and said this would create jobs and economic opportunity in rural America, as well as lessen America's reliance on foreign oil. They want aviation biofuels for civilian aviation as well as for the military. The “Farm to Fly” initiative wants production of drop-in aviation biofuels to reach 1 billion gallons per year by 2018. The White House has promoted the aviation and other biofuel programs as a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil and grow domestic biofuel companies. The Farm to Fuel plan is to use food crops - not only non-edible feedstocks, such as algae, because these are progressing too slowly and are not produced in large quantities. There seems to be little mention of concerns about food impacts of producing biofuels from food crops.

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Doubts cast on biofuel benefits (road transport)

The push to use biofuels in place of petrol has done little to aid the development of the UK’s biofuel industry and may have produced more greenhouse gas than it has saved, according to a report. British biofuels are generally regarded as more environmentally sound than imports. UK’s use of biofuels may have increased emissions from road transport because growing crops for fuel means extra land must be pressed into service to grow food. (FT)

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Coming in for a landing, airlines say bio-fuels cut pollution

The airline industry is looking to start using bio-fuels within the next few years and hopes for certification by as early as 2010. Boeing’s Bill Glover expected bio-fuels to achieve "commercial availability in 3 - 5 years, although critics have said this will raise food prices. Executives said they were aiming to use second- generation bio-fuels, including some derived from algae, so as to not drain food and water resources. (New Europe)

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Biofuels and airlines

Biofuels could be used to fly commercial airlines within the next decade as a viable alternative to kerosene, although costs and concerns over environmental impact remain big barriers. To be commercially viable the fuel has to be environmentally sustainable and not compete with food resources, it has to be a drop-in replacement for traditional jet fuel, and it needs to be cost competitive with existing fuel supplies and be readily available. (Reuters)

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