Biofuel Adoption in Aviation Grows Beyond Grassroots Support
Biofuel Adoption in Aviation Grows Beyond Grassroots Support“Bio-jet fuel is becoming increasingly important in aviation and the energy market. It will help aviation grow sustainably and demand for fuel increase,” said Dai Houliang, SVP of Sinopec. “Sinopec has developed its own technology for producing aviation fuel from biomass and waste oil and has already produced aviation fuel meeting international standards,” he added.Sinopec is currently working on alternative aviation fuels made from locally grown feedstocks. At a unique refinery in Hangzhou, Sinopec is producing the fuel at a commercial scale. The refinery is one of the few in the world with such capacity. Airbus is supporting the development of the Chinese standard with technical expertise gained in past certification processes with the European Union and US fuels standards bodies. Stateside last month, Boeing brought an ecoDemonstrator jet to Washington, D.C. to highlight it’s own testing of environmentally progressive technologies. The company is using the Next-Generation 737-800 airplane as part of a series of test flights to advance technologies that increase fuel efficiency and reduce airplane noise. During a joint news conference with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at Reagan National Airport, officials from Boeing touted collaboration between government and industry. "The ecoDemonstrator illustrates how we're pursuing technologies and advanced materials that make airplanes operate more efficiently and produce fewer emissions and less noise," said John Tracy, Boeing chief technology officer. According to the release, The FAA’s CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise) program provided funding for the adaptive trailing edge on the aircraft as well as some flight test costs. Government interest in green transportation innovations are great motivators for innovators, entrepreneurs and big business.Martin LaMonica wrote about a partnership between Audi and the biofuel startup, Joule, in Forbes recently, which he says will “validate Joule’s fuels for the auto industry.” Likewise, the aforementioned programs by Airbus and Boeing will hopefully create inroads for alternative fuels options for commercial and business aircraft.
It takes time for seeds of innovation to germinate, but a few announcements in September have shown that serious efforts in alternative fuels are sprouting in aviation.
According to a release last month, a collaboration by Airbus and one of China’s biggest energy companies, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), are developing renewable aviation fuel production for commercial use in China.