Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) today (October 22) opened a demonstration facility that will turn waste cooking oil, commonly referred to as “gutter oil” in China, into sustainable aviation biofuel. The two companies estimate that 500 million gallons (1.8 billion liters) of biofuel could be made annually in China from used cooking oil.
Boeing and COMAC are sponsoring the facility, which is called the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project. It will use a technology developed by Hangzhou Energy & Engineering Technology Co., Ltd. (HEET) to clean contaminants from waste oils and convert it into jet fuel at a rate of 160 gallons (650 liters) per day. The project’s goal is to assess the technical feasibility and cost of producing higher volumes of biofuel.
Sustainably produced biofuel, which reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum through its lifecycle, is expected to play a key role in supporting aviation’s growth while meeting environmental goals. The Boeing Current Market Outlook has forecast that China will require more than 6,000 new airplanes by 2033 to meet fast-growing passenger demand for domestic and international air travel.
Boeing and COMAC have been collaborating since 2012 to support the growth of China’s commercial aviation industry. Their Boeing-COMAC Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Center in Beijing works with Chinese universities and research institutions to expand knowledge in areas that improve aviation’s efficiency, such as aviation biofuel and air traffic management.
Biofuel produced by the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project will meet international specifications approved in 2011 for jet fuel made from plant oils and animal fats. This type of biofuel has already been used for more than 1,600 commercial flights.
COMAC is also the builder of the new C919 jetliner.
In other news, Boeing yesterday (October 21) celebrated the groundbreaking of its new 777X Composite Wing Center at the Everett, Washington, campus. Permitting for the new 1-million-square-foot facility was completed approximately seven weeks earlier than anticipated, allowing for an accelerated start to construction.
Boeing is investing more than $1 billion in the Everett site for construction and outfitting of the new building.
Once completed, the facility located on the north side of the main final assembly building will help usher in composite wing fabrication for the company’s newest commercial jetliner and sustain thousands of local jobs for decades to come.
Completion of the new building, which is expected in May 2016, will require approximately 3.5 million hours of work. At its peak, there will be approximately 1,200 contract employees working on the project. By the numbers, the new building will require:
31,000 tons (28,000 metric tons) of steel
480 miles (770 kilometers) of electrical cable
80,000 linear feet (24,384 meters ) of process piping
530,000 cubic yards (405,210 cubic meters) of fill material
170,000 tons (154,000 metric tons) of concrete
To date, the 777X has accumulated 300 orders and commitments. Two models will comprise the 777X family – the 777-8X, with approximately 350 seats and a range capability of more than 9,300 nautical miles; and the 777-9X, with approximately 400 seats and a range of more than 8,200 nautical miles. The 777-8X competes directly with the Airbus A350-1000, while the 777-9X is in a class by itself, serving a market segment that no other airplane can. First delivery of the 777X is targeted for 2020.