Eurocopter and parent company EADS have teamed with Argentina-based BioCombustibles del Chubut (BC) to study the feasibility of building an aviation biofuel factory in Brazil. The three companies signed an agreement in June. The biofuel, made from algae, could be used in Eurocopter’s diesel engines for light helicopters, which are now in the research stage (see AIN, February, page 44).
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.
Major airframers and component suppliers have instituted new research programs and initiatives to develop electric propulsion for light aircraft. The consensus among the participating parties is that battery and motor technology offering similar performance and endurance of small piston engines is roughly 10 years away.
As the European Union emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) expands to cover aircraft flying into and out of the EU starting in 2012, airlines based all around the world stand to feel the effects. Of course, U.S. regional airlines don’t fly into Europe, and until recently few of them spent much time considering the prospect of taxes on their carbon emissions.
Plans by British Airways and U.S. energy solutions company Solena Group to establish Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant–dubbed “GreenSky”–are being outlined here at the Farnborough airshow by the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), which claims to lead the development, testing, environmental acceptance, qualification and deployment of alternative aviation fuels.
Participation by more than 200 American companies at the U.S. International Pavilion here at the Farnborough airshow underscores the strong resurgence of the North American aerospace industry after two years of economic turmoil, organizers and delegates said.
Sweden is currently outlining a three-year test plan to test a locally developed biofuel in a Gripen, in a scheme that is partly funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In November 2007, Swedish Biofuels entered into an agreement with U.S.
EADS flew the first aircraft powered solely by algae-based biofuel today at the ILA Airshow in Berlin as part of the daily flying display. The Austrian-built Diamond Aircraft DA-42 NG’s two Austro Engine AE300 diesels required only minor adjustment to burn the biofuel, which is supplied by German processor VTS from algae oil provided by Biocombustibles del Chibut in Argentina.
NetJets Europe (NJE) this week rolled out a new eco-friendly catering package and recycling initiative designed to support the fractional aircraft provider’s environmental efforts. Its new catering box is made from sustainable-source bamboo and features recyclable wooden cutlery, reusable porcelain inserts and biodegradable lids.
Mid-Continent Instruments' cutting-edge lithium battery, the MD835 emergency power supply, has received TSO certification from the FAA. Lithium nanophosphate is an aviation-friendly type of lithium chemistry that does not have the characteristics of thermal runaway that legacy lithium-ion batteries have, Tom Genovese, director of sales, told AIN.