Tag Archives: Biofuel

Virgin Australia leads Australian first with delivery of sustainable aviation fuel at Brisbane Airport

Virgin Australia today announced it has achieved an Australian first, with the successful completion of a trial to deliver sustainable aviation fuel through Brisbane Airport’s general fuel supply system.

Working in partnership with the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation, US-based biofuel producer Gevo, Inc. and supply chain partners Caltex and DB Schenker, Virgin Australia led the procurement and blending of sustainable aviation fuel, or biojet, with traditional jet fuel for supply into the fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

This is the first time that sustainable aviation fuel has been delivered through the general fuel supply system at any airport in Australia and makes Brisbane Airport one of the few airports globally where this has occurred.

As a result of the trial, biojet has now been used to fuel 195 domestic and international flights departing from Brisbane Airport, travelling more than 430,000 kilometres to destinations across Queensland, Australia and around the globe.

Biojet meets recognised international quality and safety standards and contributes to lower levels of carbon emissions compared to traditional fossil jet fuel on a life cycle basis. It can be derived from sustainable sources including sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave and is already in use at major airports in Oslo and Los Angeles.

Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive, Rob Sharp, said the airline was proud to lead the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel into the fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

“Virgin Australia is leading the way in the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel in Australia. We recognise that there is a great opportunity to develop a thriving sustainable fuels industry, which will help to reduce emissions and drive investment and jobs growth in Australia.

“The successful completion of the trial at Brisbane Airport is the first important step in ensuring Australian airports and the fuel supply chain will be ready for the regular supply of sustainable fuels in Australia.

“We would like to thank the Queensland Government and our partners for their involvement and look forward to fuelling more flights departing from Brisbane Airport with biojet over the next 12-18 months,” he said.

Speaking from Brisbane Airport, Queensland Premier, the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk, said she was pleased with the work that had been undertaken with the trial to progress developing a local biofuels industry in Australia.

“This is another step forward in a homegrown biofuels industry – one that my government is supporting. Our own biofuels producers have a ready customer in Virgin Australia and I look forward to their cooperation growing,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, Gert-Jan de Graaff, said the initiative was clearly aligned with BAC’s strategy to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

“BAC is committed to reducing Brisbane Airport’s impact on the environment and putting in place programs that help us to manage and minimise the long-term impacts of climate change.

“We are very proud to be the first airport in Australia, and one of only a few hubs in the world, to have biofuel as part of its fuel supply system as it will help reduce Brisbane Airport’s carbon footprint even further by assisting the airlines to reduce their emissions,” Mr de Graaff said.

Caltex Executive General Manager, Fuels & Infrastructure, Louise Warner, said that Caltex was delighted to support Virgin Australia’s trial of biojet in the Australian airspace.

“Our team at Lytton used their extensive supply chain skills and jet fuel quality control knowledge to manage the successful biojet supply trial, right here in Queensland.

“As a proud Australian company and Australia’s largest supplier of transport fuels, we support the investigation of alternative fuels such as biojet as part of the future fuel options for Australia, and we acknowledge Virgin Australia’s leadership in achieving this important milestone,” she said.

Photos: Virgin Australia.

QANTAS Airways to operate the world’s first US – Australia biofuel flight

QANTAS Airways has announced it will operate the world’s first bio-fuel flight between the United States and Australia.

The Los Angeles to Melbourne flight will take place early next year, in collaboration with World Fuel Services and Altair Fuels,  and will see QANTAS’ new Dreamliner being powered by Brassica Carinata (carinata), a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed. Carinata produces high quality oil, ideal for aviation biofuel, bio-jet for aircraft and bio-diesel for airport vehicles.

The news of the flight follows QANTAS’ siging of a landmark partnership with Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma), the Canadian based agricultural-technology – company who developed the carinata seed.

The two organizations will work with Australian farmers to grow the country’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.

Carinita is a ‘drop-in’ crop and requires no specialised production or processing techniques. It is water efficient  and The University of Queensland field trials in Gatton, Queensland, and in Bordertown, South Australia, have demonstrated it should do very well in the Australian climate.

It is sown in either fallow areas where food crops fail or in between regular crop cycles, known as “cover cropping”.  Rotational or break-crops improvessoil quality, reduces erosion for food crops and provides farmers with additional annual income.

University of Queensland’s Dr. Anthony van Herwaarden leads the seed crop trials with Agrisoma in Australia.

Renewable jet fuel is chemically equivalent to, and meets, the same technical, performance and safety standards as conventional jet fuel.

In 2012 QANTAS and Jetstar operated Australia’s first biofuel trial flights. QANTAS’ Airbus A330 Sydney-Adelaide return service and Jetstar’s A320 Melbourne-Hobart return service were both powered with biofuel derived from used cooking oil (split with 50:50 convential jet fuel) certified for use in commercial aviation.

Photo: Boeing.

Alaska Airlines partners with Boeing and the Port of Seattle on a plan to supply sustainable aviation biofuel at SeaTac Airport

Alaska 737 Biofuel (Boeing)(LRW)

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma), the Port of Seattle and Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) are partnering to move toward a significant environmental goal: powering all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation biofuel. SeaTac is the first U.S. airport to lay out a long-term roadmap to incorporate aviation biofuel into its infrastructure in a cost-effective, efficient manner.

Alaska Fuel Farm SEA (Boeing)(LRW)

At the SeaTac fuel farm (above) today, executives for the port, Alaska Airlines, and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch a $250,000 Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study that will assess costs and infrastructure necessary to deliver a blend of aviation biofuel and conventional jet fuel to aircraft at Sea-Tac, a crucial step toward routine biofuel use in the future.

The partners’ longer-term plan is to incorporate significant quantities of biofuel into SeaTac’s fuel infrastructure, which is used by all 26 airlines and more than 380,000 flights annually at the airport. SeaTac is the 13th busiest airport in the U.S. and will serve over 42 million domestic and international passengers this year.

Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines, Sea-Tac’s largest carrier and leader of the airport’s fueling consortium, said the airline wants to incorporate biofuel into flight operations at one or more of its hubs by 2020, with SeaTac as a first choice for the Seattle-based airline.

The Port of Seattle will manage the $250,000 study as the biofuel roadmapping process and, as SeaTac Airport’s governing authority, would handle the engineering and integration of biofuel infrastructure on Port property such as the airport’s fuel farm. An RFP for the infrastructure study will be issued in the spring of 2016, and the study is expected to be completed by late 2016. Currently, aviation biofuels are not produced in Washington state and must be imported by truck, rail or barge.

Boeing, which partners globally to develop and commercialize sustainable aviation biofuel, is providing expertise about approaches to develop a regional biofuel supply chain to serve the airport, including fuel types, fuel producers, processing technologies and integration with airplanes.

Alaska-Boeing SEA Biofuel Infographic

Approved “drop-in” aviation biofuel is blended directly with regular petroleum-based jet fuel and used in airplanes without any changes to the aircraft or engines. Using sustainably produced biofuel reduces lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to conventional petroleum fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since 2011, when biofuel was approved for commercial aviation, airlines have conducted more than 2,000 passenger flights with a blend of biofuel and conventional petroleum jet fuel.

The Port’s Century Agenda Goal is to reduce aircraft-related carbon emissions at Sea-Tac Airport by 25% by 2037. The key strategy to reduce these emissions is through aviation biofuel. Historically, the Port has been a leader in supporting research and development of aviation biofuels, and as models of other international airports and airlines using biofuel emerge, Sea-Tac is also developing a market-support role.

In the past five years, Alaska Airlines has become a leader in the pursuit of finding a sustainable supply of biofuels. In 2011, Alaska was the first airline to fly multiple flights using a 20 percent blend of sustainable aviation biofuel made from used cooking oil and waste animal fat.

In the next year, Alaska will partner with Gevo, Inc. to fly the first ever commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel. In addition, as a partner in the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewable Alliance (NARA), Alaska plans to fly a demonstration flight next year using a new aviation biofuel made from forest-industry waste. Fuel for both demonstration flights must first be independently certified.

Photos: Boeing/Alaska Airlines.

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United Airlines purchases a stake in Fulcrum BioEnergy for $30 million

United Airlines (Chicago) today announced an historic $30 million equity investment in U.S.-based alternative fuels developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., a pioneer in the development and commercialization of converting municipal solid waste into low-cost sustainable aviation biofuel. It is also the single largest investment by a U.S. airline in alternative fuels and sets United apart in the aviation industry in the advancement of aviation biofuels and carbon emissions reductions. In addition to the equity investment, United and Fulcrum have entered into an agreement that contemplates the joint development of up to five projects located near United’s hubs expected to have the potential to produce up to 180 million gallons of fuel per year.

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Fulcrum Video:

United has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum and, subject to availability, will have the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year for a minimum of 10 years at a cost that is competitive with conventional jet fuel. This alternative fuel will be a drop-in fuel that meets all of the airline’s technical requirements and specifications, and will power the aircraft in the same way as conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum expects its first alternative fuels plant to begin commercial operation in 2017.

Fulcrum’s Waste-to-Biofuel Technology

Fulcrum’s technology converts household trash, known as municipal solid waste (MSW), into renewable jet fuel. Fulcrum’s renewable jet fuel is expected to provide a greater than 80 percent reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions when compared to conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum
has successfully developed and proven its technology to convert MSW into low-cost, low-carbon transportation fuels in an innovative, clean and efficient thermochemical process. MSW is an attractive biofuel feedstock as it is low cost, has limited volatility and a virtually unlimited supply. United’s agreement with Fulcrum is expected to decrease the airline’s carbon footprint through the use of sustainable aviation biofuel, while also diverting waste from landfills and creating new jobs in those communities where new Fulcrum facilities are sited. Fulcrum’s projects have also received support and participation from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy for the future production of fuel that meets military specifications.

United From Trash to Energy poster (UA)(LR)

 

United’s Track Record in Aviation Biofuels

United logo-1

United is the first U.S. airline to invest in a biofuel company. It is another in a series of firsts for the airline which, since 2009, has made significant investments in the advancement of sustainable aviation biofuels.

In 2009, United made history as the first North American carrier to perform a two-engine aircraft demonstration flight using sustainable biofuels.

In 2011, United operated the first U.S. passenger flight powered by advanced biofuels made from algae.

In 2012, United spearheaded the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuel Initiative (MASBI), a public/private partnership of experts from across the Midwest Region, to accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels for aviation.

In 2013, United announced an agreement with AltAir Fuels for advanced aviation biofuels to be used on flights out of the airline’s Los Angeles hub, making it the first U.S. carrier to execute a commercial scale agreement for aviation biofuels. United expects to begin regularly scheduled flights using AltAir’s fuel later this year.

In 2015, United received the World Bio Markets (WBM) Award for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels.

United Eco-Skies logo

Top Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. United’s Boeing 737-924 ER N75432 (msn 32835) is painted in this special Eco-Skies livery (inherited from Continental Airlines). N75432 lands at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

United Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Airline Slide Show

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Boeing and South African Airways to use tobacco plants for biofuel

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) and South African Airways (SAA) (Johannesburg) has announced that South African farmers will soon harvest their first crop of energy-rich tobacco plants, an important step towards using the plants to make sustainable aviation biofuel.

Boeing and SAA, along with partners SkyNRG and Sunchem SA, also officially launched Project Solaris, their collaborative effort to develop an aviation biofuel supply chain with a nicotine-free tobacco plant called Solaris. In Limpopo province, company representatives and industry stakeholders visited commercial and community farms where 123 acres (50 hectares) of Solaris have been planted.

Oil from the plant’s seeds may be converted into bio-jet fuel as early as next year, with a test flight by SAA as soon as practicable.

“SAA continues to work towards becoming the most environmentally sustainable airline in the world and is committed to a better way of conducting business,” said Ian Cruickshank, Environmental Affairs Specialist, SAA Group. “The impact that the biofuel program will have on South Africans is astounding: thousands of jobs mostly in rural areas, new skills and technology, energy security and stability and macro-economic benefits to South Africa, and of course, a massive reduction in the amount of CO2 that is emitted into our atmosphere.”

“It is very exciting to see early progress in South Africa towards developing sustainable aviation biofuel from energy-producing tobacco plants,” said J. Miguel Santos, managing director for Africa, Boeing International. “Boeing strongly believes that our aviation biofuel collaboration with South African Airways will benefit the environment and public health while providing new economic opportunities for South Africa’s small farmers. This project also positions our valued airline customer to gain a long-term, viable domestic fuel supply and improve South Africa’s national balance of payments.”

The farm visits followed the announcement in August that Boeing, SAA and SkyNRG were collaborating to make aviation biofuel from the Solaris plant, which was developed and patented by Sunchem Holding. If the test farming in Limpopo is successful, the project will be expanded in South Africa and potentially to other countries. In coming years, emerging technologies are expected to increase aviation biofuel production from the plant’s leaves and stems.

Sustainable aviation biofuel made from Solaris plants can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by 50 to 75 percent, ensuring it meets the sustainability threshold set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). Airlines have conducted more than 1,600 passenger flights using aviation biofuel since the fuel was approved for commercial use in 2011.

Boeing is the industry leader in global efforts to develop and commercialize sustainable aviation biofuel. In addition to its collaboration in Southern Africa, Boeing has active biofuel development projects in the United States, Middle East, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Australia.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. South African is a large Boeing 737 operator and the test is likely to be performed on a Boeing 737-800. Boeing 737-844 ZS-SJS (msn 32632) arrives back at the Johannesburg hub.

South African aircraft slide show:

SAS signs a contract with Statoil Aviation for a regular supply of biofuel at Oslo, Norway

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) has issued this statement regarding a regular supply of biofuel at Oslo Airport:

SAS has, along with the Lufthansa Group and KLM, signed an agreement with Statoil Aviation for a regular supply of biofuel at Oslo Airport.

SAS was first off the ground in Norway and from Stockholm Arlanda in Sweden with a biofuel mix around a week ago and this agreement shows the airline takes its corporate social responsibility seriously in reducing its green house gas emissions.

Via an agreement signed with Avinor and the above named airlines, Statoil Aviation is to supply 2.5 million liters of biofuel to the refueling facility at Oslo Airport. With a 50% biofuel mix, this will fuel around 3,000 flights between Oslo and Bergen and make OSL the first major airport in the world to offer a regular supply of biofuel as part of daily operations from March 2015.

Via a continuous renewal of its airline fleet and a comprehensive environment efficiency drive in the air and on the ground, SAS has reduced its total CO2 emissions by the airline by around 13% since 2005.

The airline has also enjoyed an increase in production over the same period. SAS is also the first and only airline in Scandinavia whose fleet consists exclusively of next generation jet aircraft.

From next year, the most energy efficient short and long-haul aircraft will be rolled out one after the other: Airbus A330 Enhanced, Airbus A320 Neo, followed by the Airbus A350.

SAS aims to use synthetic fuel on an increasingly regular basis in the next few years, and expects biofuel to become competitive with the fossil fuel alternative. For this to happen, a general environment and tax policy will be required from governments, based on aviation being a form of internationally competitive public transport with thin profit margins.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A319-132 OY-KBO (msn 2850) in the 1952 retrojet scheme taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

SAS aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Norwegian operates its first biofuel flight on November 11

Norwegian’s Captain Georg Myhre before take-off.

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) on November 11 operated its first biofuel flight. The airline issued this statement (translated from Norwegian):

Norwegian for the first time operated a flight with biofuel on November 11, 2015. Norwegian’s flight DY 631 between Bergen and Oslo had nearly 50 percent biofuel in the tank. This corresponds to 40 percent less emissions than an average flight with ordinary fuel.

Norwegian’s CEO Bjorn Kjos brought Norway’s Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft aboard this rare but very important flight between Bergen and Oslo. The new Norwegian Boeing 737-8JP  with the registration of LN-NIF (msn 39434) was filled with sustainable fuel and let out a total of 3178 kg or 40 grams per passenger kilometer. Older aircraft with normal jet fuel emits 5786 kilograms or 74 grams per passenger kilometer on the same route.

At Norwegian, we are very keen to do all we can to make flying more environmentally friendly. Norwegian has a clear goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 30 percent per passenger during the period 2008 to 2015. The most important environmental measure is to have the new aircraft, and Norwegian’s fleet is among the newest and most environmentally friendly in Europe. But the new aircraft is not enough. Sustainable biofuels is also important. This flight with biofuel from Bergen to Oslo is an important milestone in the industry’s joint efforts to make sustainable biofuels available to airlines, said Norwegian’s CEO Bjorn Kjos.

With the development of new technologies and the conditions that give the airlines a good incentive to invest in environmentally friendly options, like Norwegian help make aviation carbon neutral before in 2050.

Photo: Norwegian. Norwegian’s Captain Georg Myhre before take-off of the historic flight.

Norwegian aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

SAS today operates a biofuel (cooking oil) flight from Stockholm

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) issued this statement today:

SAS today (November 7) flew from Stockholm (Arlanda) to Östersund (flight SK 2064) with a 10 % blend in of a certified JET A1 based on re-used cooking oil. The fuel was distributed and delivered by Statoil Aviation and SkyNRG. The flight was also supported by Swedavia.

The synthetic JET A1 as well as the blended JET A1 is certified according to ASTM D7566 and D1655. This flight was not only the first of its kind for SAS but also the first flight from Arlanda Airport.

SAS has worked for over ten years to accelerate the commercialization of renewable fuels. Renewable fuels are crucial on the journey towards a more sustainable aviation. This type of flight proof that solutions exist and focus on creating conditions for this to become a reality on a large scale is essential.

During next week a flight is planned from Trondheim to Oslo in Norway on a 48% blend in of certified synthetic JET A1.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. The biofuel flight was operated with a Boeing 737-600. Boeing 737-683 SE-DNX (msn 28304) arrives at Stockholm (Arlanda).

SAS aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Boeing and COMAC open a Chinese facility to transform “gutter oil” into aviation biofuel

Boeing logo (medium)

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.

COMAC logo

Southwest Airlines to purchase 3 million biofuel gallons yearly from Red Rocks Biofuels

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has signed an agreement with Red Rocks Biofuels LLC (RRB) to purchase low carbon renewable jet fuel, made using forest residues that will help reduce the risk of destructive wildfires in the Western United States. The airline’s agreement with RRB covers the purchase of approximately three million gallons per year. The blended product will be used at Southwest’s Bay Area operations with first delivery expected in 2016.

RRB’s first plant will convert approximately 140,000 dry tons of woody biomass feedstock into at least 12 million gallons per year of renewable jet, diesel, and naphtha fuels.

Southwest is a long-time member of Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) which is a government and industry coalition for the development and deployment of alternative jet fuel for commercial aviation. As a member of CAAFI, the airline has followed the progress of alternative fuel technologies. Red Rock Biofuels is the first viable opportunity the airline has found to meet its financial and sustainability objectives.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. A nice ramp portrait of Boeing 737-8H4 N8306H (msn 36983) with the Split Scimitar Winglets painted in the now old 2001 “Canyon Blue” livery.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show