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Information about biofuels and bioenergy and aviation.

Contents

Issues

Events

2012

2011

2010

2008

News

2012

  • EPA switches course on new feedstocks in fuel standard, 6 March 2012 by Amanda Peterka for Governors' Biofuels Coalition: "On the heels of opposition from the environmental community, U.S. EPA today withdrew a rule that would have added four new feedstocks to the Renewable Fuel Standard."
    • "The direct final rule, proposed in early January, would have allowed advanced biofuels made from camelina oil, energy cane, giant reed and napiergrass to qualify under the yearly obligations set by the standard. It also would have opened the standard to biomass-based jet fuel and certain renewable gasolines made from crop residues and yard, food and municipal solid wastes."
    • "But in a notice posted today in the Federal Register, the agency said it is withdrawing the rule after receiving 'adverse comment.' EPA had proposed the initial rule without taking public comment, describing it as a 'noncontroversial' action." [4]

2011

  • Airbus urges EU to scrap biodiesel incentives for road transport, 16 February 2012 by EurActive: "The EU should bin incentives for road-transport biodiesel or provide equal ones for the production of biokerosene used in airplanes, a senior Airbus executive has told EurActiv."
    • "'We are asking for a level playing field or the scrapping of incentives that cover the biodiesel industry,'said Paul Nash, the Airbus head of environment and new energies."
    • "Biodiesel, which is primarily used in road transport, may eventually be deemed one of the ‘worst performing biofuels’ with leaked EU data putting its emissions on a par with those from tar sands, when ILUC effects are counted."
    • "Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency also ruled palm oil-based biodiesel inadmissible for its Renewable Fuel Standard Program, because it did not meet the minimum 20% lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reduction threshold needed to qualify. Such valuations have in turn fuelled complaints about the incentives that road-based biodiesels proportionately receive in Europe, as a result of the EU’s target to power 10% of its transport system with renewable energies by 2020."
    • “'All of the incentives today in Europe are focused on the production of biodiesel and there are no incentives in terms of aviation,' Nash told EurActiv, referring to the increasing competition for biofuels between the two transport sectors."
    • "Industry insiders argue airlines should be given priority access to sustainable biofuels as aviation will continue to rely on liquid fuels for decades. Road transport, by contrast, has already started its transition to electricity, something that airlines simply cannot do." [5]
  • Lufthansa says biofuel trials successful, but should they continue?, 17 January 2012 by Renewable Energy Magazine: “After a six-month practical trial involving biosynthetic fuel, Lufthansa has announced the first positive results. According to initial calculations, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 1,471 tonnes. However, environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth are critical, saying the trials were just ‘a convenient smokescreen for aviation expansion’ and that biofuels cause food shortages.”
    • “In all, Lufthansa operated 1,187 biofuel flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt (Germany) under the burnFAIR project. The planes ran partially on biosynthetic kerosene, with one of their engines being powered by a 50-50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene, which the airline says is just as reliable as conventional jet fuel but has fewer environmental effects.”
    • “Biofuel, Lufthansa calculates, emits about 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than conventional fossil fuels. Biosynthetic kerosene is also free of sulphur and aromatic compounds. Furthermore, Lufthansa reveals that thanks to the higher energy density of biofuel, it has been possible to reduce the fuel consumption by more than one per cent.”
    • “'Our burnFAIR project went off smoothly and to our fullest satisfaction. As expected, biofuel proved its worth in daily flight operations,’ confirms Joachim Buse, Vice President Aviation Biofuel at Lufthansa."
    • "[I]n a recent statement, Joachim Buse revealed that the next issue is to ensure a viable supply of sustainable raw materials. ‘Lufthansa will only continue the practical trial if we are able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations. As a next step, we will focus on the suitability, availability, sustainability and certification of raw materials,’ he said.”
    • “While Lufthansa says it may continue trialling biofuels if a suitable volume of sustainable, certified feedstock can be obtained, Robbie Blake, biofuels campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, believes all biofuel trials by the aviation sector should be halted. ‘Lufthansa’s bio-fuelled flights should remain grounded permanently – flying with biofuel is unsustainable, full stop. There simply isn’t enough biofuel out there without diverting land and food from hungry communities, and causing worse climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions,’ he warns.”
    • "However, other parties believe sustainable biofuels are possible. The Bioenergy and Water Nexus report jointly produced by UNEP, the Oeko-Institut and the International Energy Agency Task 43, for example, finds that while ‘bioenergy development needs to be carefully planned to avoid it adding to existing pressures’ and that ‘in some cases, these considerations may argue against bioenergy development', ‘well-planned bioenergy development can help human development’." [6]
  • U.S. Biofuel Camelina Production Set to Soar, 5 December 2011 by OilPrice.com: "Biofuel sources currently under development include algae, jatropha and camelina. Of the three, camelina is increasingly emerging as the frontrunner in attracting initial investment worldwide, as global demand for aviation fuel for passenger flights is now more than 40 billion gallons annually."
    • "Camelina has a number of advantages over its competitors, including using far less water, thus allowing it to be grown on marginal land, thereby not taking food acreage out of production."
    • "Furthermore camelina has a relatively short growing season of 80 to 100 days, requires no special equipment to harvest, and the silage remaining after processing can be fed to livestock and poultry, with the added side benefit of increasing their omega-3 production."
    • "Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given camelina production a major shot in the arm by selecting 40 counties in Montana for a pilot program of federally backed camelina crop insurance."
    • "Among the customers lining up for camelina JP-8 aviation fuel will be the U.S. armed forces, which have spent the last two years extensively testing camelina’s suitability, with the U.S. Air Force earlier this certifying camelina biofuel for use in its fleet of Globemaster transport aircraft."[7]
  • Navy’s Big Biofuel Bet: 450,000 Gallons at 4 Times the Price of Oil, 5 December 2011 by Wired.com: "The Navy just signed deals to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels — arguably the biggest purchase of its kind in U.S. government history....But at approximately $15 per gallon — nearly four times the price of traditional fuel — the new fuels won’t come cheap."
    • "The $12-million purchase, expected for months, will all be used this summer off the coast of Hawaii. There, supersonic F/A-18 jets will launch from the deck of an aircraft carrier, powered by fuels fermented from algae. A 9,000-ton destroyer and a cruiser will join it on a voyage across the Pacific, using fuel made from fats and greases."
    • "If it works, the Green Fleet will not only be poised for a full alt-fuel deployment in 2016. Mabus will be much closer to his promise of obtaining half of the Navy’s fuel from alternative sources by 2020. And the often-struggling biofuels industry will be a lot closer to proving its viability."
    • "Mabus notes that this 450,000-gallon buy — while comparatively large for military biofuels — is still tiny compared to the amount of fuel the Navy and the commercial airline industries consume. He’s promised that as the Navy buys more fuel, economies of scale will kick in, and prices will drop. But an MIT study of alternative jet fuels, conducted in association with the Navy, found that even under optimal conditions — with dozens of refineries up and running — the price of bio jet fuel would still be twice as high as the cost of the traditionally made stuff. (That study examined vegetable oil as a biofuel feedstock, and the Navy is a using different process this time around; but many of the same issues still apply, regardless.)"[8]
  • Biofuel Expansion Picks Up Pace, 8 November 2011 by RenewableEnergyWorld.com: "The first transatlantic flight powered by biofuel, a Gulfstream G450 corporate jet that travelled from New Jersey to Paris in June of this year, used a 50-50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based jet fuel."
    • "The flight was estimated to have saved approximately 5.5 tons of net carbon dioxide emissions compared to the same flight powered by fossil fuel, and was hailed as a promising step toward helping the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint."
    • "Global biofuel production is also taking flight, climbing by 17 percent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program."
    • "Breaking down Worldwatch Institute figures reveals that the world produced some 86 billion litres of ethanol in 2010, 18 percent more than in 2009 while global biodiesel production rose to 19 billion litres in 2010, a 12 percent increase from 2009."
    • "Sugarcane-derived ethanol supplies 41.5 percent of the energy (48 percent of the volume) for light-duty transportation fuels in Brazil."
    • "The report further stated that the EU remained the centre of biodiesel production, accounting for 53% of global output in 2010. Growth slowed there dramatically, however, falling from 19 percent in 2009 to just two percent in 2010."[9]
  • China Makes Its First Biofuel-Powered Flight, 1 November 2011 by Forbes: "China joined the green jet age on Friday when an Air China 747 circled Beijing on a demonstration flight powered by a plant-based biofuel made by Honeywell UOP."
    • "One of the 747-400’s engines ran on a 50-50 blend of Honeywell’s Green Jet Fuel and standard petroleum aviation fuel."
    • "The biofuel was derived from jatropha, an inedible plant grown by PetroChina, a state-owned oil company, on a plantation in southwest China and refined by Honeywell."
    • "Honeywell is working with PetroChina, Air China and Boeing to create an aviation biofuels infrastructure in China."
    • "In June, a Gulfstream G450 owned by Honeywell made the first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight when it flew from New Jersey to Paris using a 50-50 blend of Green Jet Fuel in one of its engine."[10]
  • U.S. gives $136 million for advanced biofuels research, 28 September 2011 by Reuters: "U.S. university researchers will get $136 million to develop advanced biofuels, including to develop jet fuel, by using tall grasses, woody plants and energy cane, the U.S. government said on Wednesday."
    • "Nearly two-thirds of the money will go toward aviation biofuels projects in the Pacific Northwest, including efforts to develop a regional source of bio-jet fuel for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."
    • "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who announced the awards in Seattle, said the project will help promote growth in rural America."
    • "The projects would focus on using woody crops to produce bio-gasoline and renewable aviation fuel, convert idle sawmills into bioenergy development centers and develop new feedstocks and techniques for sustainable forest production to create a regional source of renewable aviation fuel, and use switchgrass and woody biomass to produce low-cost sugars for conversion to butanol as well as use forest and mill residues and dedicated energy crops to produce biodiesel fuel, heat and power."[11]
  • US, Australia sign key aviation biofuels accord, 19 September 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "In San Francisco, the U.S. FAA and Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism have reached a Memorandum of Understanding to continue research and development of clean, sustainable alternative aviation fuels."
    • "The MOU calls for Australia and the United States to exchange information about policies, programs, projects, research results, and publications, and to conduct joint studies in areas such as fuel sources and environmental impacts."
    • "The memorandum also facilitates analysis of fuel source supply chains. The signing nations agree to cover the associated costs."
    • "Unlike other government to government agreements that emerge from time to time, this agreement sprung out of the private sector, primarily driven by the CAAFI private-public partnership in the US , and Austrade and the US Studies Center at the University of Sydney, for Australia."[12]
  • Singapore Airlines Joins Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, 19 September 2011 by Stuff.co.nz: "Singapore Airlines has taken another step towards greener skies by joining the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG)."
    • "Established in 2008, SAFUG is a working group that aims to accelerate the development and commercialisation of lower-carbon renewable aviation fuels, derived from environmentally and socially sustainable sources."
    • "Singapore Airlines maintains a young and modern fleet of fuel-efficient aircraft. The average age of its passenger fleet, as of 1 September 2011, is six years and four months."
    • "The airline is also an early adopter of technology, having been the first airline to operate the fuel-efficient Airbus A380, for example, and having placed orders for the latest-generation Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft."
    • "Some of Singapore Airlines' other environmentally friendly initiatives include Maintenance programmes for both airframes and engines that ensure operational efficiency and enhanced fuel efficiency and use of weight-saving initiatives such as lightweight crockery, galley service equipment, cargo containers and other aircraft modifications."[13]
  • White House launches biofuels initiative linked to jobs creation, 15 September 2011 by Air Transport World: "The US Departments of Agriculture and Energy and the Navy will invest up to $510 million over the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power commercial and military transportation."
    • "The biofuels initiative is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and Rural Council, organizations that aim to enable greater cross-agency collaboration to strengthen rural America."
    • "The White House said there was a lack of manufacturing capability for next-generation drop-in biofuels in the US. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus have developed a plan to jointly construct or retrofit several drop-in biofuel plants and refineries."
    • "The White House said the joint plan calls for the three departments to invest a total of up to $510 million, requiring a substantial cost share from private industry of at least a one to one match."[14]
  • Sugar Cane-to-Jet Fuel Pathway Analyzed for Sustainability, 8 August 2011 by Environment News Service: "Two publicly traded aircraft manufacturers and the Inter-American Development Bank will jointly fund a sustainability analysis of renewable jet fuel sourced from Brazilian sugar cane."
    • "Shouldering the funding with the bank are The Boeing Company and Embraer S.A., the world's largest manufacturer of commercial jets up to 120 seats."
    • "For the first time, the study will evaluate environmental and market conditions associated with the use of renewable jet fuel produced by Amyris Brasil S.A., a majority-owned Brazilian company, a subsidiary of California-based Amyris."
    • "The global conservation organization World Wildlife Fund will serve as an independent reviewer and advisor for the analysis."
    • "Scheduled for completion in early 2012, the study will include a complete life cycle analysis of the emissions associated with Amyris's renewable jet fuel, including indirect land use change and effects."[15]
  • US Air Force: We want to use biofuels, 19 July 2011 by AFP: "The US Air Force is ready to switch to biofuels to help power its warplanes but the price of alternative fuels remains too high, military officials said Tuesday."
    • "Anxious to reduce its reliance on oil, the Air Force has approved the use of synthetic fuels for nearly all its aircraft and expects to get the green light for biofuels by the end of 2012, Undersecretary Erin Conaton said."
    • "'But in order to do that, we need industry to be able to produce in the quantities we need at a cost-competitive price.'"
    • "Biofuels cost a prohibitive $35 a gallon, about 10 times the price of conventional jet fuel, or JP-8."
    • "US officials see the country's dependence on foreign oil as a national security risk and an increasing financial burden."
    • "To promote energy 'security,' the Air Force has set a goal to have half of its domestic fuel needs drawn from alternative sources by 2016."
    • "Following the Air Force's lead, the Navy and Army are also working to promote the use of alternative fuels in ships, ground vehicles and bases, with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus arguing that the military can help generate enough demand to lower the price of biofuels."[16]
  • Not everyone cheering Lufthansa biofuel test, 15 July 2011 by The Local: "Lufthansa is testing biosynthetic fuels on Airbus A321 flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt and, if the trial is successful, hopes to expand use of the fuel across its fleet."
    • "The airline aims to reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions fleet-wide, although some environmentalists are skeptical."
    • "'The use of biofuel in the aviation sector to reduce CO2 emissions is an ecological sham,' said Werner Reh, of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)."
    • "In a statement, Reh complained that plans such as Lufthansa’s will just result in the mass expansion of crop cultivation necessary to create the biofuel mixture, leading to 'worldwide destruction of forests, loss of biodiversity and competition for food.'"
    • "The airline estimates it will save 1,500 tons of C02 during its tests which will cost €6.5 million ($9.1 million), about a third of which is being funded by the German government."[17]
  • Commercial airlines get OK to use biofuels, 11 July 2011 by SFGate: "After decades of waiting, commercial airlines have been given the go-ahead to use fuel made from algae, wood chips and other plants with obscure names."
    • "On July 1, ASTM International, an American organization that sets worldwide technical standards for airlines and other industries, gave approval for carriers to mix fuel made from organic waste and nonfood plants with kerosene, which is conventionally used to power planes."
    • "Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide, according to the International Air Transport Association. In 2012, carriers with European routes will have to participate in the European Union's cap-and-trade system for CO{-2} and will have to buy additional permits if they exceed limits set by the European Commission."
    • "The trick for airlines, plane makers and fuel suppliers will be figuring out which brew works best and producing it in large enough quantities so that costs begin to fall."[18]
  • Lufthansa to become first airline to run regular biofuel flights, 8 July 2011 by The Guardian: "Lufthansa will next Friday become the first airline to run regular commercial flights powered partially with biofuel."
    • "Airlines have flown many demonstration biofuel flights, but Lufthansa's LH013 11:15am Hamburg to Frankfurt flight will start the first passenger service to run on a blend of biofuel and conventional fuel."
    • "The company will use the novel fuel mix for six months on eight of its 28 daily 50-minute flights between the two German cities – a distance of 244 miles each way. The German airline says the 1,200 flights will save 1,500 tonnes of CO2."
    • "Biofuels could help airlines reduce carbon emissions. However critics say that biofuels take up land for growing food and raise prices. Worse, if they promote deforestation, they can actually raise emissions."
    • "One engine of the 200-seater Airbus A321 will be fed with a 50-50 mix of biofuel and conventional kerosene-based fuel, the other engine will run on kerosene alone. That will allow Lufthansa to compare the engines' performances under exactly the same conditions. It was not necessary to modify either engine."[19]
  • Airlines in EU biofuels pact to cut pollution, 23 June 2011 by Reuters: "European airlines, biofuel producers and the EU Commission signed up on Wednesday to produce 2 million tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020 even as debate rages over how green such fuels actually are."
    • "Involved in the project signed on Wednesday are planemaker Airbus, airlines Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa and biofuel producers including Neste Oil."
    • "Aware of the debate surrounding first-generation biofuels, participants at the Paris air show were keen to show a focus on what they feel are more sustainable crops."
    • "Lufthansa says jatropha is its crop of choice and plans to trial a biofuel mix on flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg for six months once certification has been received."
    • "U.S. firm Honeywell, which used biofuel produced by its UOP unit to fly a business jet from North America to Europe, said it uses camelina."
    • "British Airways, meanwhile, is looking at deriving fuel from waste and hopes to power its fleet using the fuel from 2015."[20]
  • U.S. military creating market for affordable, homegrown biofuel, 22 June 2011 by BendBulletin.com: "For the first time in the 58 years of Thunderbird air shows, Maj. Aaron Jelinek's, of the Air Force Thunderbirds, flight last month was fueled by a 50-50 blend of conventional jet fuel and biofuels."
    • "Biofuels have buzz in the military because the Air Force and the Navy are taking a lead role in creating a U.S. market for them."
    • "The Department of Defense has called for biofuels that don’t displace food, don’t use up fresh water, yield less greenhouse-gas pollution than conventional fuels and cost the same."
    • "National security is the main reason to move off oil dependence, according to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus."
    • "The main thing the Navy brings is a market, Mabus said. But the price, he added, 'is going to have to be pretty competitive with fossil fuels.'"
    • "The Navy predicts that it will have enough biofuels for an aircraft carrier strike group that will be deployed over the horizon on a 50-50 biofuel blend in 2016."[21]
  • Can Biofuels Make Flying Clean and Cheap?, 20 June 2011 by GOOD: "Over the weekend, the first two transatlantic flights to be powered in part by biofuels made it safely to Paris."
    • "The two planes were headed for the Paris Air Show, which is spotlighting alternative energy this year."
    • "Last week, the international standards association that oversees jet fuels provisionally approved specifications for the type of fuel used in this weekend’s flights, and if those standards become permanent, airlines could start using them in commercial flights."
    • "The Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, has predicted that by 2014, biofuels will be available in enough quantity for airlines to make a regular practice of blending them with jet fuels."
    • "But blowing that much fuel—even biofuel—to get somewhere still counts as an indulgence, and biofuels won’t change that calculus."
    • "Airlines like biofuel blends like the one that powered this weekend’s flight because they can run through the pipelines and engines already in use, saving airlines from the burden of investing in new infrastructure and allowing them to keep ticket prices down."[22]
  • Industry study says Northwest ideal for production of biofuels, 25 May 2011 by HeraldNet: "The Northwest has the ideal resources for producing biofuels for aviation, according to a study released Wednesday by a group including the Boeing Co. and Alaska Airlines."
    • "Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest concluded a 10-month study and released it Wednesday. The study looks at all phases of aviation biofuels development, including production, refining, transport and use by airlines."
    • "The group said favorable public policy and financial incentives will be needed to get a strong biofuel industry going in the region."
    • "Having a homegrown, sustainable fuel source should help stabilize fuel costs for the aviation industry."
    • "Billy Glover, vice president of environment and aviation policy for Boeing, outlined the fuel sources the group identified in the region. Those include algae, solid waste, forest residues and oil seeds such as camelina, which grows in fairly dry soil."
    • "Members of Washington's Congressional delegation introduced legislation that would create an even larger market for biofuels: the U.S. military. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with Rep. Jay Inslee, are sponsoring a bill that would increase the length of time in contract between the military and biofuel producers."
  • Legendary Air Force Thunderbirds Give Camelina Jet Biofuel a Workout, 23 May 2011 by Clean Technica: "The U.S. Air Force took camelina under its wing a couple of years ago and tested it out on the A-10C Thunderbolt II, and it must have done pretty well because for the first time ever a camelina based jet fuel has been used by the Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s official aerial demonstration team."
    • "The decision to use camelina for the Thunderbirds is significant because it underscores the U.S. military’s evolving mission of bringing new sustainable technology to the civilian world."
    • "The Thunderbirds are headquartered at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, suitably enough, because the facility has emerged as an early leader in the U.S. military’s shift away from fossil fuels. Nellis AFB installed its first solar panels back in 2007."
    • "The Air Force has become one of the top purchasers of alternative energy in the U.S., and it is developing a portable solar power system that can be shipped overseas in a standard container."[23]
  • MIT study: Biofuels not necessarily greenest choice, 12 May 2011 by Cnet News: "Biomass used to make biofuels must be carefully sourced, or the biofuels they produce may be no greener than conventional jet fuel."
    • "For the nearly four-year study, researchers conducted a life cycle analysis on 14 diesel and jet fuel sources made from feedstocks, and identified the key factors that make a difference in whether a biofuel is truly an environmental improvement over conventional jet fuel."
    • "Biofuels made from jatropha oil, for example, can have a low carbon footprint because the byproduct husks, shells, and meal from jatropha plants can be used for fertilizer, animal feed, and electricity generation."
    • "But the study found that many biofuel carbon footprints are based on where and how it's grown."
    • "The study suggested that easy-to-grow algae or salicornia, neither of which requires nutrient-rich soil, might be more effective biomass options for biofuels than crops requiring acres and acres of farmland."[24]
  • Jatropha biofuel success could drive air travel go green, 12 April 2011 by IBTraveler.com: "Media reports say that biofuel produced from seeds of Jatropha, a non-edible plant, can be sucessfully used for fueling aircrafts."
    • "According to Business Matchmaking, Inc., many airlines, including Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Continental, Brazil's TAM Airlines and most recently the Mexican carrier Interjet, in cooperation with European manufacturer Airbus, successfully tested the oil produced from Jatropha seeds as a potential substitute for traditional jet fuel."
    • "Mexico is one of the few countries pursuing the production of bio-fuel from Jatropha for a couple of years now. As the weed widely became known for producing oil that could be used to fuel jet planes, the Mexican government wanted farmers to grow entire fields of it to turn into biodiesel."
    • "The United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization has established the goal of reducing aviation-related carbon-dioxide emissions and the use of renewable fuels."[25]
  • Biofuel Takes Off With Jatropha Demonstration in Mexico, 4 April 2011 by Clean Techies: "The aviation industry has a significant impact (2%) on the global carbon footprint and it’s looking for ways to mitigate it with alternative fuels."
    • "One of the latest news from this industry is that Honeywell successfully powered an Interjet Airbus A320-214 during a flight between Mexico City and Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas with its Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced using the company’s UOP process technology."
    • "The UOP process converted Mexican-sourced jatropha into fuel."
    • "The process is based on hydroprocessing technology commonly used in today’s refineries to produce transportation fuels. In this process, hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from natural oils produced from sustainable feedstocks, including camelina, jatropha and algae."
    • "When used within as much as a 50 percent blend with petroleum-derived jet fuel, the blended fuel is a drop-in replacement that meets all of the critical specifications for flight, including a freeze point at -47 degrees Celsius and a flash point at 38 degrees Celsius."[26]
  • Boeing Releases Study On Jatropha Sustainable For Aviation Fuel, 3 April 2011 by AvStop.com: "Boeing released research conducted by Yale University's School of Environmental Studies showing significant potential for sustainable aviation fuel based on jatropha-curcas, an oil-producing, non-edible plant."
    • "The study shows that, if cultivated properly, jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic benefits in Latin America and greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60 percent when compared to petroleum-based jet fuel."
    • "A key study finding identifies prior land-use as the most important factor driving greenhouse gas benefits of a jatropha jet fuel. If Jatropha is planted on land previously covered in forest, shrubs or native grasses, benefits may disappear altogether. If the crop is planted on land that was already cleared or degraded, then additional carbon is stored and emissions reductions can exceed the 60 percent baseline."
    • "A second important finding is that early jatropha projects suffered from a lack of developed seed strains, which led to poor crop yields. Advancing jatropha seed technology through private and government research is critical and many Latin American countries are now engaged in supporting such technology development."[27]
  • Biofuel From Algae Could Compete With Oil, Report Says, 16 March 2011 by Mother Nature Network: "Biofuels made from algae can be produced in a way that make this energy source cost-competitive with crude oil by increasing the amount of energy algae stores as fat, according to early research from VG Energy, an alternative energy and agricultural biotech company."
    • "The resulting biodiesel and algae-based jet fuels could be produced at a cost of $94 per barrel, well below the current crude oil price of above $100 a barrel."
    • "It’s all based on a technique developed by Viral Genetics researcher Dr. Karen Newell-Rogers."
    • Newell-Rogers has been developing molecular techniques “to disrupt tumor metabolism to prevent them from burning fat reserves, making them more susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation.” The same switch could force the algae to store energy as fat, which could then be extracted as algal oil."
    • "The technique increased production of extractable lipid, or fat, by at least 300 percent when applied in the lab. The fat was stored outside the cell walls, making it easier to extract without first killing the algae."[28]
  • Lufthansa biofuel flights postponed by certification delay, 18 February 2011 by FlightGlobal.com: "Lufthansa has been forced to postpone its planned commercial biofuel flights by at least a month because the fuel will not be certified in time by regulators."
    • "Certifying body ASTM International was expected to certify hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuel for use in commercial aviation in the first quarter of this year, but is now unlikely to provide the necessary authorisation until at least the middle of the second quarter."
    • "Lufthansa has signed an agreement with Finnish oil refining company Neste Oil for the supply of jet fuel derived from vegetable oil using Neste's NExBTL biomass-to-liquid technology."[29]
  • EU wants 60 pct transport carbon cut by 2050-draft, 16 February 2011 by Reuters: "The European Union's executive Commission will call for a 60 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050."
    • "The proposed transport targets are based on an existing EU goal to cut the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 percent by the middle of the century."
    • "Aviation would depend on synthetic kerosene, produced from solid biomass using a process called Fischer-Tropsch, or else biodiesel made from vegetable oils."
    • "In one possible complication for the targets, the EU's "sustainability criteria" are meant to limit the use of biofuels which have unwanted side effects, such as competing with food production, or else leading to the destruction of tropical forests where these are re-planted with energy crops."[30]
  • More Palm Oil Questions: Finnair Halts Biofuel Introduction, As Malaysia's Forests Fall For Farming , 1 February 2011 by Treehugger.com: "State-owned airline Finnair has announced that it will not begin using aviation biofuel on some of its routes this year as previously planned."
    • "The announcement comes on the same day that a new assessment of the damage caused by palm oil plantation expansion in Malaysia paints a grim future for tropical peat forests."
    • "Finnair had planned to begin using kerosene produced by Neste Oil from palm oil in 2011."
    • "The environmental director of Finnair explained the decision to not using the aviation biofuel:'The price of the fuel and its sustainability measured against all criteria is not at the level that we would have gone into it at this point.'"
    • "'An ideal situation would be for us to get biological kerosene produced from local raw materials, because there is no sense in hauling raw materials from the other side of the world. We would have wanted to start commercial flights with biofuel now, but products that are currently available have not met our sustainability criteria.'"[31]
  • Biofuels of No Benefit to Military -- RAND, 26 January 2011 by ClimateWire/New York Times: "A new analysis presented to Congress yesterday paints a stark picture for the Defense Department's current efforts to secure renewable fuels."
    • "Fuels made from plant waste or algae will not be achievable in large or cheap enough quantities to make sense for military applications in the next decade, concluded the report penned by the RAND Corporation."
    • "'The use of alternative fuels offers the armed services no direct military benefit,' it added, urging the military and Congress to rethink dedicating defense appropriations to alternative fuels research."
    • "The work assessed the current status of the alternative fuels market and concluded that the only fossil fuel substitutes that could be attainable in the foreseeable future would be those produced through the Fischer-Tropsch process, a method with a hefty carbon footprint that produces synthetic diesel from coal, natural gas or coal-biomass blends."
    • "The Navy, which has been on the front lines of biofuel research, blasted the findings."[32]
    • Download a summary of the report, Alternative Fuels for Military Applications (PDF file)
  • Plant seeds could produce jet fuel, 21 January 2011 by The National: "After conducting a preliminary, year-long study, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in the United Arab Emirates has concluded that the salicornia plant holds enough promise to move ahead on a project designed to extract fuel from the plant's seeds."
    • "Producing the jet fuel from the plant will be no problem, said Darrin Morgan, director of sustainable biofuel strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes."
    • "'The challenge is how to grow large amounts of biomass and have positive effects on social and economic development and environmental impacts.'"
    • "Mr Morgan said that in contrast to other sources of biofuel, such as corn, salicornia was first identified for its sustainability and then considered as a fuel source."[33]
  • Washington State to push for biomass-derived jet fuels, 14 January 2011 by BrighterEnergy.org: "Washington State’s Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has announced plans for proposals that would mean the next step for a Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest biomass pilot project, leading to the production of jet fuel from wood waste."
    • "Speaking at the Pacific West Biomass Conference in Seattle, Mr Goldmark said aviation biofuel meant a renewable, locally grown energy source could be produced 'combining Washington’s forestry heritage and our technology future.'"
    • "'Forest biomass represents an incredible opportunity to heat our homes, power our cities and fight climate change,' said Governor Chris Gregoire. 'Thanks to the hard work, groundbreaking research and leadership of so many, including Commissioner of Public Lands Goldmark, forest biomass may now fuel our airplanes.'"[34]

2010

  • Navy Drives Biofuel Production With Goal to Buy 336M Gallons a Year by 2020, Enhancing San Diego’s Role as Center for Algae Biofuels, 20 December 2010 by Bruce V. Bigelow: "The U.S. military’s interest in developing algae biofuels dates back at least three years, when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began to assess the technical capabilities needed to produce JP-8 grade jet fuel."
    • "Editor Jim Lane says the Department of Defense could prove to be the ultimate driver of advanced algae-based biofuels in the United States, 'by stepping up as a buyer, and communicating buying signals to the makers of advanced biofuels and their financiers.'"
    • "That view was seconded in a weekend column by none other than Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times, who wrote that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus... has also set a goal for the Navy to use alternative energy sources to provide 50 percent of the energy for all its war-fighting ships, planes, vehicles and shore installations by 2020."
    • "To meet this goal in 2020, the Navy will need 336 million gallons of drop-in advanced biofuels every year."[35]
  • Brazil airline successfully tests aviation biofuel, 23 November 2010 by Stan Lehman: "Brazil's largest airline announced Tuesday that it has successfully conducted what it called the first experimental flight in Latin America using aviation biofuel."
    • "The statement said the biofuel was mixed half and half with conventional aviation kerosene."
    • "Continental, Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and KLM have held similar experimental flights with biofuel produced from Jatropha and other materials such as coconut oil, algae and the camelina oil seed."[36]
  • U.S. corn ethanol "was not a good policy" -Gore, 22 November 2010 by Reuters: "Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was 'not a good policy', weeks before tax credits are up for renewal."
    • "'It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,' said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank."
    • "A food-versus-fuel debate erupted in 2008, in the wake of record food prices, where the biofuel industry was criticised for helping stoke food prices."
    • "Gore said a range of factors had contributed to that food price crisis, including drought in Australia, but said there was no doubt biofuels have an effect."
    • Gore also stated, "'I do think second and third generation that don't compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels.'"[37]
  • Commercial Airlines May Get 1% of Fuel From Biofuels By 2015, Boeing Says, 22 July by Alex Morales: "Boeing has worked with airlines from the U.S. to Japan to test jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha and camelina."
    • "Boeing’s forecast of 1 percent of fuels coming from biofuels by the middle of the decade is for the global air industry, and the company is working with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, an alliance of 19 airlines that aim to be first-movers, Glover said. UOP’s Rekoske said 1 percent is more likely to be reached at regional levels, with Europe and the U.S. Northwest as potential candidates."
    • "'They’re actually not made in major quantities at this point,' [James Rekoske, vice president and general manager of renewable energy and chemicals at Honeywell International Inc.] said in an interview this week at the Farnborough Air Show south of London. 'We have the largest facility in the world and we’ve produced biofuels at about 200,000 gallons this year, which is really a very small quantity compared to what the airlines would need.'"[39]
  • Alaska Airlines, Boeing, & Airports Partner on Biofuels, 14 July 2010 by Bill DiBenedetto: "Their endeavor, called the “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Northwest” project, is the first regional assessment of its kind in the U.S., according to a joint announcement from the group this week."
    • "The assessment will examine all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and actual use by airlines. It will include an analysis of potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, including algae, agriculturally based oilseeds such as camelina, wood byproducts and others. The project is jointly funded by the participating parties and is expected to be completed in about six months."
    • "Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh added, 'Developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply now is a top priority both to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity at regional levels and to support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020.'"
    • "The assessment process will be managed by Climate Solutions, an Olympia, WA, environmental nonprofit organization, which will align the effort to sustainability criteria developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels. The project’s objective is to identify potential pathways and necessary actions to make aviation biofuel commercially available to airline operators serving the region."[40]
  • China, US launch airline biofuel venture, 26 May 2010 by By Joe McDonald: "The United States and China launched a research venture Wednesday to develop biofuels for use by Chinese airlines based on algae or oily nuts and said an inaugural flight could come as early as this year."
    • "The two sides signed a series of research partnerships between Boeing Co., U.S. government agencies and Chinese research institutions and state companies including Air China Ltd. and PetroChina Ltd."
    • "The first flight in China using biofuels could happen this year, and the fuel could be in use in commercial aviation in three to five years, said Al Bryant, Boeing's vice president for research and technology in China. He said four test flights using biofuels have been flown successfully in the United States."
    • "Chinese companies have yet to decide which plants to use as a fuel source, but researchers are looking at algae and jatropha, a tree grown in south China that produces an oily nut, Bryant said."[42]
  • Biofuels: Airplane fuel of the future?, 5 April by Arthur Max, Associated Press: "Within a decade, passenger planes will be flying on jet fuel largely made from plants — flax, marsh grass, even food waste — as airlines seek to break away from the volatile oil market and do their part to fight climate change, aviation experts say."
    • "Dependency on agrofuels 'will lead to faster deforestation and climate change and spells disaster for indigenous peoples, other forest-dependent communities and small farmers, says a statement from the Global Forest Coalition, an alliance of environmental groups."
    • "A Swiss-based organization, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, has drawn up standards for certifying the entire chain of production."
    • "The European Union has decided that by 2012 all flights into and from European airports will be subject to the European carbon trading program. That means airlines will be given a limit on how much carbon dioxide they can emit, and they can buy or sell carbon credits depending on whether they are over or under their targets."[43]
  • US military to run on 50:50 biofuels mix, 1 April 2010 by Biofuels International: "US president Barack Obama is introducing new energy policies that will see an increased use of advanced biofuels in the country’s military vehicles."
    • "According to Obama these energy strategies will not only help protect the environment, but will also go towards protecting national security."
    • "The Green Hornet, a Navy F-18 fighter jet, is scheduled to fly on Earth Day and will be the first plane to fly faster than the speed of sound powered by a 50:50 biofuel blend."
    • "A mixture of biofuels and ordinary fuels is also being tested in a tank from the Army and Marine Corps, while the Air Force is testing jet engines that run on biofuels."[44]
  • US Company Wins No. 1 Sustainable Biofuel Award in Europe, 17 March 2010 by CleanTechnica:"South San Francisco’s Solarzyme has just taken home the gold in the Sustainable Biofuels Technology category at the 2nd Annual Sustainable Biofuels Awards held in Amsterdam."
    • "Since its beginnings in 2003, Solayzme has produced the world’s first algal-based renewable diesel and the world’s first 100% algal-based jet fuel. It has also signed the largest production orders for commercial algae fuel contracts to date, supplying the U.S. Department of Defense with 21,500 gallons of fuel for Navy compatibility testing."
    • "In 2009, a field-to-wheels greenhouse gas life cycle test conducted by the Life Cycle Associates found that Solazyme’s algal biofuel, Soladiesel™, emits 85 to 93 percent less GHG emissions than standard petroleum based ultra-low sulfur diesel. But not just that. It also found that its biofuels result in a significantly lower carbon footprint than any currently available first-generation biofuel as well."[45]

2009

  • Aviation turns to China for biofuels capacity development, 13 September 2009 by Biofuels Digest: The "global aviation industry, which has set a target of 3 billion gallons of aviation biofuels by 2020, has begun an historic shift in focus to Chinese leadership in biofuels capacity development".
    • "In related news, Boeing confirmed that it has commenced talks with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 'several Chinese universities' about a potential development of low-carbon aviation biofuels. CCTV is reporting that near-term opportunities for collaboration between Boeing and China’s alternative energy industry could focus on jatropha development in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. According to Xinhua News Agency, China is projecting '13 million hectares of biofuel plantations by 2020,' primarily to meet increased internal energy needs."[47]
  • Biofuels do well as jet fuel, Boeing says, 22 June 2009 by The Oregonian: "Good news for the struggling biofuels industry: The plant-derived fuels perform favorably as jet fuel, a study by Boeing and others in the aviation industry has concluded."
    • "In the [U.S.] Northwest, Imperium Renewables is banking on jet fuel to help drive up demand for fuel from its 100 million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant near Grays Harbor, Wash. The plant is currently idled amid the economic downturn."
    • "According to the study, a series of laboratory, ground and flight tests conducted between 2006 and 2009 indicated the test fuels performed as well as or better than typical petroleum-based Jet A fuel."
    • "The study also showed the biofuel blends used in the test flight program met or exceeded all technical parameters for commercial jet aviation fuel. Those standards include freezing point, flash point, fuel density and viscosity, among others."
    • "Each of the test flights used a different blend of biofuel sources: An Air New Zealand flight used fuel derived from jatropha; a Continental flight used a blend of jatropha and algae-based fuels; and a Japan Airlines flight used a blend of jatropha, algae and camelina-based fuels."[48]
  • For Greening Aviation, Are Biofuels The Right Stuff?, 11 June 2009 by environment360: "Preliminary results from an Air New Zealand test flight in December show that burning biofuels — in this case jet fuel refined from jatropha oil — can cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 percent compared to conventional fuel. And, as a bonus, about 1.4 metric tons of fuel could be saved on a 12-hour flight using a biofuel blend."
    • "This month, the International Air Transport Association set a goal of achieving 'carbon neutral growth' — meaning an increase in air travel would not emit any more CO2 than the present fleet and flight schedule — by 2020. The keys will be increasing fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent per year and using biofuel blends, according to IATA."
    • "The overwhelming challenge is how to produce enough biofuel to supply even a fraction of the more than 60 billion gallons of jet fuel burned every year by the world’s aircraft....Non-food plant sources, such as jatropha and camelina, are promising, but difficult to produce in large quantities and can end up displacing food crops or lead to deforestation if the price of fuel rises high enough."[49]
  • (Aviation) Commercial use of biofuels may take time, 25 April 2009 by TradingMarkets.com: "Despite broad optimism in the aviation industry about the commercial use of biofuels, experts in Asia believe this won't happen very soon."
    • "On April 1, at the conclusion of an industry summit in Geneva, about 400 aviation and environment leaders set an industry timeline for aviation biofuels....By the end of the year, a set of environmental sustainability standards for aviation biofuels should be in place, they said in a summit declaration."
    • "In his speech during the summit, Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA), noted that governments could provide tax and regulatory incentives and prioritize commercial production along with research investments....He also reiterated IATA's target for certification of sustainable biofuels by 2010 or 2011."
    • "In a separate interview, biofuels specialist Florello Galindo, director of Manila-based Asian Institute of Petroleum Studies Inc. (AIPSI), said China and Japan, being the region's main players in aviation manufacturing, would likely determine the fate of aviation biofuel use in Asia."[51]

2008

  • Continental to Test Flight Powered by Biofuel, 8 December 2008, by MSNBC:
    • "Continental Airlines Inc. said Monday it will test the use of a biofuel blend to power one of its jetliners on a flight that won't carry any passengers."
    • "Airlines are studying the use of alternative fuels to help deal with volatile jet fuel prices that spiked to record highs this summer, and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."
    • "Continental said the plane on the Jan. 7 flight in Houston will use a special blend of half conventional fuel and half biofuel with ingredients derived from algae and jatropha plants." [52]
  • Biofuel, Partly From Nuts, Is Tested on an Airline Flight, 25 February 2008, by the New York Times: "Virgin Atlantic Airways, the British carrier controlled by Richard Branson, tested a jumbo jet on Sunday that was partly powered by a biofuel made from babassu nuts and coconut oil, a first for a commercial aircraft."
    • "Virgin and G.E. tested a number of biofuels before choosing coconut and babassu because they were suitable in initial tests and would not compete with staple food supplies or cause deforestation, the airline said. Babassu nuts are harvested from palms by local workers from the Amazonian rain forest." The biofuel was supplied by US-based [www.imperiumrenewables.com/ Imperium Renewables].
    • Reactions to the experimental flight:
      • Time Magazine pointed out that only 5% of the total fuel was actually biofuels and that "if biofuel ever takes off in aviation, it will likely be a decade before it has any noticeable impact on industry emissions".[54]
      • Scientific American noted that "such biofuel may end up causing rather than curing climate change, according to recent studies. In addition, fuel from the world's limited supply of coconuts could drive up the price of the cooking oil as well as lead to further clearing of endangered rainforests in Southeast Asia for palm plantation expansion." While this was the first major aviation trial for biodiesel, SciAm notes that more than "1,000 crop dusters in Brazil" routinely fly using "100 percent ethanol". Algae is a more promising feedstock for aviation biodiesel, which may be viable in 10-20 years, according to a quoted Boeing expert.

Organizations

  • World Biojet Alliance - "an independent and impartial global organization founded to promote, conduct research, coordinate communications and provide innovative solutions for advanced biofuels used in aviation."[56]


Transport - Related pages edit
Aviation (Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group) | Public transport
Liquid biofuels edit
Oils & fats: Biodiesel | Pure plant oil (PPO)/Straight vegetable oil (SVO) | Renewable diesel
Oil feedstocks: Animal fat, oil palm, rapeseed, soybeans, etc.
Alcohols: Bio-ethanol | Biobutanol - Alcohol feedstocks: cellulosic, sugarcane, corn, sugarbeets, etc.
Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL): Pyrolysis oil | Methanol | Dimethyl ether (DME) - Biomass feedstocks

Other: ETBE | biokerosene


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