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3 more international airlines hold biojet demonstrations

By Erin Voegele | April 18, 2012

It’s been a big week for the biobased aviation fuel industry, with three airlines holding biojet demonstration flights. Porter Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Qantas all successfully demonstrated the use of biobased jet fuel in their aircraft.

On April 17, Porter Airlines conducted its first biofuel-powered commercial flight in Canada using a Bombardier Q400 turboprop. The plane traveled from Bill Bishop Toronto City Airport to Ottawa using a 50/50 blend of Jet A1 and biofuel. The biofuel, certified under ASTM D7566/D1655, was manufactured using 49 percent camelina oil and 1 percent carinata oil.

The Porter Airlines flight marked the conclusion of a test program that has been ongoing since 2010. The two-year project’s members included camelina developer Targeted Growth, Bombardier Aerospace, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada, and Porter Airlines. These partners, along with Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence through the Green Aviation Research & Development Network, funded the project. Carinata developer Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. also contributed via the production of carinata oil. Sustainable Oils was involved in the project via camelina crushing, while Honeywell UOP converted the feedstock into biojet, and SkyNRG was responsible for logistics and fuel blending.

“When this biofuel project was submitted in October 2010, the Private Sector Advisory Board, a strategic body comprised of respected Canadian industry leaders, approved it with complete confidence,” said Sylvain Cofsky, executive director of GARDN. “Eighteen months later, today's flight proves they were right and I am extremely proud of GARDN's contribution to this very promising success in the field of aviation.”

Also on April 17, Boeing and All Nippon Airways flew a 787 Dreamliner across the Pacific Ocean on a biojet blend. The flight, which spanned from Boeing’s Delivery Center in Everett, Wash., to Tokyo Haneda Airport, was the first transpacific biofuel flight to take place. The biofuel component of the fuel mix was derived primarily from used cooking oil.

“Our historic flight using sustainable biofuels across the Pacific Ocean highlights how innovative technology can be used to support our industry's goal of carbon-neutral growth beyond 2020,” said Osamu Shinobe, ANA senior executive vice president.

A few days earlier, on April 13, Qantas operated a biojet flight in Australia that traveled from Sydney to Adelaide. The fuel used for the demonstration was a 50/50 blend of biojet. The biobased component of the fuel was derived from recycled cooking oil.

 As part of the day’s festivities, Qantas also announced that it would conduct a feasibility study into the potential for Australia to develop a biojet industry. The study is backed by government funding. According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, the project will involve the exploration of conditions needed for the production of biobased aviation fuel from Australian resources.

“Australia has the skills, resources and infrastructure to take a lead in this emerging sector, which the CSIRO has estimated could generate up to 12,000 jobs over the next 20 years,” Joyce said. “But there are also significant challenges—which is why we need to establish a clear plan. Until sustainable aviation fuel is produced commercially at a price competitive with conventional jet fuel, we will not be able to realize its true benefits. This study aims to tell us how that can be achieved in Australia.”

Qantas plans to fuel two additional Jetstar flights using the biobased jet fuel on April 19. The flights will travel from Melbourne to Hobart and back. The biobased jet fuel used by Qantas has been supplied by SkyNRG. 

 

 

 

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