The energy industry is particularly adept at taking raw material and turning it into products. Whether producing heat, power, or fuel, the model has proven exceptionally efficient at moving highly concentrated and homogenous resources over long distances through intricate supply chains.
On 28 October Air China conducted its first trial flight of a passenger jet powered by a mix of biofuel and traditional aviation fuel.
The Jet A-1 biofuel kerosene used in the flight was derived from the seeds of tung trees, more commonly known as jatropha.
Australia’s Jatenergy Limited energy company is to provide crude jatropha oil to Lufthansa for flight trials.
The Lufthansa tests are the world’s first, long-term trial of renewable jet fuel and will be used on Lufthansa’s regularly scheduled flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt.
Slowly but surely, an extraordinarily important new industry is slowly taking shape, with the potential to transform the global economy.
After years of existing largely as an environmentalist’s fantasy, commercial production of biofuels for the world civil aviation industry is slowly becoming a fact,
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
At a meeting on May 6 in São Paulo, Brazil, industry stakeholders formed ABRABA to spearhead development of aviation biofuels. The effort signals a growing concern for the growth of the industry within a carbon and oil constrained future.
Earlier this month, aviation companies, biofuel producers, and the sugar cane, algae, and jatropha industries came together to form the Brazilian Aviation Biofuels Alliance (Aliança Brasileira para Biocombustíveis de Aviação, or ABRABA). As the aviation industry continues to feel the crunch from rising fuel costs and price volatility, ABRABA represents the latest multi stakeholder effort to ramp up biofuel production in the commercial aviation sector (see CAAFI).
The last several months have seen a flurry of activity in the aviation sector, as fuel price volatility and impending greenhouse gas regulations have goaded major airlines to ink deals for renewable jet fuel.
The latest involves British Airways, which struck a deal with Solena Group for 16 million gallons of jet fuel from waste.
The moves highlight the tremendous pressure airlines are under to keep costs low in an increasingly oil constrained world and regulated marketplace. During the last oil spike, fuel expenses, which historically ranged from 10 to 15 percent of US passenger airline operating costs, averaged more than 35 percent in the third quarter of 2008. According to news coming out of the International Air Transport Association, the marketplace for cheap fuel is about to get much more crowded.
“Sustainable development” has generated substantial buzz since the concept was brought into focus by the Brundtland Commission’s now famous 1987 report, Our Common Future. The Commission defined the concept as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Since then, the definition has been debated and adapted for specific purposes throughout policy, academic, governmental, and organizational circles. Many of these interpretations are only relevant to the circumstances in which they are applied. In the context of biomass and biofuels, sustainability standards are specific rules and criteria by which the production, transportation, and processing of feedstocks can be assessed for their environmental, social, and other values.
In the international community, sustainability guidelines for biomass have begun to emerge, but remain aspirational at best. While high oil prices, increasing pressures to mitigate climate change effects, and efforts to boost rural agricultural production throughout the world will continue to sustain support for the development of biomass and biofuel resources, environmental concerns will temper optimistic projections for the industry.
Biofuels – made from algae and non-food plants – are emerging as a potentially viable alternative to conventional jet fuels. Although big challenges remain, the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could be major.
Earlier this year, a Continental jet accelerated down the runway at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Nothing out of the ordinary for Capt. Rich Jankowski, who countless times in his 38-year career had eased such two-engine Boeing 737-800s into the sky. Except on this experimental flight, one of the engines Jankowski relied on was burning fuel derived from microscopic algae to push the 45-ton aircraft into the air and keep it aloft — a first in aviation history.