The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) served as an ideal destination this week for a series of biofuel demonstration flights that transported, among others, ICAO secretary general Raymond Benjamin to Rio de Janeiro for the sessions.
Thirteen aviation groups, including NBAA and GAMA, are firmly supporting continued research by the Department of Defense on the use of biofuels after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to strip funding for those efforts. By a 13-12 vote last month, Senate committee members are blocking Defense participation in programs to construct biofuel refineries and have prohibited the Pentagon from purchasing renewable biofuels that are more expensive than regular jet fuel.
Boeing and Japan’s ANA conducted the first-ever transpacific flight powered with biofuel on Tuesday using the airline’s newest Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Ferried between Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and Tokyo Haneda Airport for a regularly scheduled delivery, the airplane flew the nine-hour, 4,340-nm mission with a 15-percent biofuel blend made mainly from used cooking oil.
Persistently high oil prices and the imperative of reducing aviation’s carbon footprint have driven rivals Airbus, Boeing and Embraer to partner in the quest for cleaner-burning biofuels. The airframers signed a memorandum of understanding March 22 at the Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva to jointly promote the commercialization of “drop-in” biofuels—alternative fuels that make use of the existing petroleum infrastructure.
Today at the Air Transport Action Group Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva, Boeing, Airbus and Embraer signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on the development of drop-in, affordable aviation biofuels. The three aircraft manufacturers will seek “collaborative opportunities to speak in unity to government, biofuel producers and other key stakeholders to support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources. Their goal is to have biofuel meet 4 percent of aviation’s fuel needs by 2020.
The FAA is awarding a total of $7.7 million in contracts to eight companies–Honeywell UOP, LanzaTech, Virent Energy Systems, Velocys, Honeywell Aerospace, Metron Aviation, Futurepast: Inc. and Life Cycle Associates–to help advance alternative commercial jet fuels.
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.”
Air China has successfully completed a demonstration flight using a sustainable biofuel derived from biomass grown in China.
Hawker Beechcraft’s turbine-powered aircraft are approved to use biofuels, a renewable resource that can help reduce the use of fossil fuels and minimize carbon emissions. The biofuel must meet American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) turbine fuel standards to be eligible.
As the date of the European Union’s (EU) controversial implementation of its aircraft Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) nears, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is moving forward with plans for a global carbon dioxide (CO2) standard for aircraft it hopes to have developed by 2013.