Alaska Airlines and sister carrier Horizon Air have purchased sufficient biofuel from SkyNRG, an aviation biofuels broker, to operate a total of 75 passenger flights using biofuel during the month of November. Beginning today, Alaska Airlines will fly a Boeing 737 between Seattle and Washington, D.C., for a total of 11 trips and Horizon Air will fly a Q400 a total of 64 trips from Seattle to Portland, Ore. The aircraft will be burning a 20-percent blend of sustainable biofuel that “meets rigorous international safety and sustainability standards.”
San Diego-based SG Biofuels (SGB) announced today it has teamed with JetBio–an initiative that includes Airbus, the Inter-American Development Bank, Bioventures Brasil, Rio Pardo Bioenergia, Air BP and TAM Airlines–to accelerate the production of crude jatropha oil as a source for biojet fuel in Brazil.
I recall being at first surprised, then relieved, by the oft-quoted statistic that aviation accounts for just 2 percent of global CO2 emissions. It seems like such a small amount in the grand scheme of greenhouse gases. But a recent report by the World Economic Forum cautions against complacency on the emissions front.
Here we are, 41,000 feet in the air, sailing along at a little more than 476 knots and a little more than halfway from Morristown, N.J., to the Paris Air Show. We’ve got a biofuel blend of Honeywell’s finest and jet-A feeding engine one and straight jet-A in the other. The G450’s Rolls-Royce engines appear to be perfectly happy on a diet of either, and the flight is as smooth as a glass-top table.
Washington state and its neighbors in the U.S. Pacific Northwest claim to have established an early leadership position in the development of sustainable aviation biofuels.
Independence Bio-Products of Dublin, Ohio, has produced algae oil, which has been converted to jet fuel and then successfully tested by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB. The algae was grown in open ponds in Ohio and harvested with IBP’s proprietary system. This milestone is part of a federally funded project to examine algae-to-fuel processing strategies.
Airbus, Brazilian carrier TAM Linhas Aéreas and others interested in the feasibility of biofuels for aviation use are working to establish a “bio-kerosene jet-fuel” processing plant in Brazil, aiming to “gradually substitute fossil fuel with biofuel.” Other companies participating include Brazilian renewable energy Curcas and biofuel producer Brasil Ecodiesel, along with AirBP.
The alternative aviation fuel industry continues to conduct flight tests to validate the use of new jet-fuel blends. At the end of April, United Airlines became the first U.S. commercial carrier to fly using a certified synthetic-fuel blend that received ASTM approval last year.