Thursday, January 16, 2014

Aircraft Maker Takes a Hard Look at Biofuels to Power Passenger Flight and Air Freight of the Future

Environmental Credentials Under Close Examination but Boeing Seems Enthusiastic
Shipping News Feature

US – At a time when many have queried the environmental credentials of so called ‘green diesel’ saying the products used to manufacture the fuel might be better used in foodstuffs rather than powering various modes of passenger and freight transport, the controversial biofuel seems to have gained a high profile ally this week with the Boeing Corporation saying its use could supply a significant new source for sustainable aviation that emits less than 50% CO2 compared to traditional fossil fuel.

Boeing researchers have performed analyses which found green diesel made from oils and fats is chemically similar to today's aviation biofuel and can be blended directly with traditional jet fuel if it meets approval. The company is working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders to gain approval for aircraft to fly on green diesel, further reducing the aviation industry's carbon emissions. Biofuel approved for aviation must meet or exceed stringent jet fuel performance requirements.

Boeing says significant green diesel production capacity already exists in the US, Europe and Singapore that could supply as much as 1%, about 600 million gallons, of global commercial jet fuel demand and the wholesale cost of about $3 a gallon with US government incentives is competitive with petroleum jet fuel.

Boeing, the FAA, engine manufacturers, green diesel producers and others are now compiling a detailed research report that will be submitted to key stakeholders in the fuel approvals process. These efforts follow Boeing's leadership in working with the aviation community in 2011 to include a blend of up to 50% aviation biofuel in international jet fuel specifications which we have previously reported as Dr James Kinder, a Technical Fellow in Boeing Commercial Airplanes Propulsion Systems Division confirmed, saying:

"Green diesel approval would be a major breakthrough in the availability of competitively priced, sustainable aviation fuel. We are collaborating with our industry partners and the aviation community to move this innovative solution forward and reduce the industry's reliance on fossil fuel."

Photo: The first 787 test flight using a biofuel, fuelling up. The fuel blend was 15% biofuel (made up primarily of cooking oil) and 85% Jet-A.