Airbus joins green fuel team

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Airbus has teamed with Honeywell Aerospace; UOP, a Honeywell company; International Aero Engines (IAE); and JetBlue Airways to develop a sustainable second-generation aviation biofuel.

The companies plan to jointly develop renewable energy technology to convert vegetable and algae-based oils into aviation fuels and evaluate the challenges for obtaining approval for this fuel by standards organisations.

JetBlue, IAE, Honeywell and Airbus are examining the benefits of jet fuels derived from renewable biomass sources that do not compete with existing food production or land and water resources.

This ‘second-generation bio-jet’ fuel will be produced using technology developed by Honeywell’s UOP, a developer of technology and products for the refining industry.

UOP has developed a process to convert biological material into renewable jet fuel that performs identically to traditional fuels while meeting performance specifications for flight.

‘Over the last 40 years, aviation has reduced fuel burn – and therefore carbon dioxide emissions – by 70 per cent, but more needs to be done,’ said Sebastien Remy, head of alternative fuels research programs for Airbus.

‘Millions of barrels of kerosene are used each day for aircraft fuel, and worldwide demand is growing. In order to replace a significant portion of that jet fuel with bio-jet, we need to find something that has much greater yield than the current biomass sources available. Airbus believes that second-generation bio-jet could provide up to 30 per cent of all commercial aviation jet fuel by 2030.’

Airbus believes the potential environmental advantages of using second-generation bio-jet are extensive, including reduced emissions and particulates; reduced carbon footprint; improved engine cleanliness; reduced contrail formation; and overall lifecycle benefits.