Renewable sugarcane jet fuel has its sustainability analysed

Boeing, Embraer and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are to jointly fund a sustainability analysis of producing renewable jet fuel sourced from Brazilian sugarcane. 

According to a statement, the study will evaluate environmental and market conditions associated with the use of renewable jet fuel produced by Amyris. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will serve as an independent reviewer and adviser.

‘Emerging renewable jet fuel technologies have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, as sugarcane ethanol in Brazil has already [been] proven,’ said Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho, leader of the IDB Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Initiative. ‘This study will examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of alternative jet fuels made from sugarcane.’

In June this year, the IDB announced a regional cooperation grant to help public and private institutions develop a sustainable biojet fuels industry and the Amyris study is the first to be financed under that grant.

The study will be led by ICONE, a research think-tank in Brazil with experience in agriculture and biofuels analysis, and independently reviewed by WWF.

Scheduled for completion in early 2012, the study will include a complete lifecycle analysis of the emissions associated with Amyris’s renewable jet fuel, including indirect land use change and effects.

In addition, the study will include benchmarking of cane-derived renewable jet fuel against major sustainability standards, including the Bonsucro (a multi-stakeholder association established to reduce the environmental and social impacts of sugarcane), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and the IDB Biofuel Scorecard.

‘Collaborative research into the cane-to-jet pathway is important for diversifying aviation’s fuel supplies,’ said Billy Glover, Boeing vice-president of environment and aviation policy. ‘With aviation biofuel now approved for use in commercial jetliners, understanding and ensuring the sustainability of sources that can feed into region supply chains is critical and Brazil has a strong role to play there.’