Archived News

Dispelling Aviation Biofuels Sustainability Misconceptions

8 November 2017 –

{Biofuels shouldn’t be a priority. Biofuels take food off the table. Biofuels result in industrial-scale monocultures and degraded landscapes. Biofuels aren’t sustainable. There have been a number of high profile failures that prove biofuels cannot succeed in the marketplace.}

Two recent articles, one co-authored by CAAFI’s Executive Director Steve Csonka, have attempted to address these all too common and prevalent misconceptions around the commercialization of SAJF. The articles highlight the strong political will at local and international levels, with actions in California to include jet fuels under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and 72 States agreeing to voluntarily participate in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. They also point to the growing demand as illustrated by an increasing number of offtake agreements and the fact that the technology has been proven. There are already five alternative feedstock conversion technologies that produce jet fuel certified for use in commercial aircraft with more on the way. And the mechanisms to validate the sustainability of SAJF and its production are already in place. CAAFI continues to work closely with stakeholder organizations that have the same end goals in mind: commercialize sustainable alternative drop-in jet fuel that provides the same levels of safety while offering environmental benefits and a more secure energy supply for aviation over traditional petroleum-based fuel.

To read the articles click the titles below:
Why the time is right for aviation biofuels to take off by Adam Klauber and Isaac Toussie (Carbon War Room – Rocky Mountain Institute)
Opinion: Biofuels Sustainable, Essential to Aviation’s Future by Adam Klauber, Isaac Toussie, Steve Csonka and Barbara Bramble

Enerkem Facility Becomes First Commercial-scale Plant to Produce Cellulosic Ethanol from Mixed MSW (Update)

19 September 2017 – Enerkem has been producing and selling biomethanol since 2016 from its facility in Edmonton, Canada and now, with the installation of its methanol-to-ethanol conversion unit earlier this year, has become the first facility in the world to produce cellulosic ethanol from mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) on a commercial-scale. Enerkem is planning on increasing production at the Edmonton facility while preparing to build their next facility in parallel. While ethanol is not usable in jet aircraft, CAAFI is woekring with task forces to pursue an ethanol to alternative jet fuel certification in ASTM.

Read Enerkem’s news release here.

Enerkem's municipal waste-to-cellulosic ethanol biofuels facility in Edmonton receives registration approval to sell in the U.S.
Read the press release here.

Qantas and SG Preston Announce 8 Million Gallon per Year Offtake Agreement

16 October 2017 – Qantas and SG Preston announced that SG Preston will begin supplying Qantas with eight million gallons of sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) per year over ten years, starting in 2020. The fuel will be used for Qantas flights to Australia departing from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) as a 50/50 blend of non-edible plant oil-based SAJF and petroleum-based jet fuel. Qantas states that their agreement is the first for an Australian airline.

For more information, see the Quantas and SG Preston press releases.

CAAFI’s SOAP-Jet Series Continues with Florida and Arizona CAP Grant Awardees

16 October 2017 – On October 13, 2017, CAAFI’s R&D Team continued their SOAP-Jet webinars with presentations introducing two sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF)-related projects from the newly announced U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Coordinated Agriculture Projects (CAP) grants.

Representatives from the two SAJF-related projects provided overviews of their plans to develop regional SAJF supply chains: Dr. Kimberly Ogden (University of Arizona) introduced the Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions (SBAR) project focused on the development and use of guayule and guar in the Southwest, and Dr. David Wright (University of Florida) introduced the Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC) focused on the development of carinata oilseeds. Each project is anticipated to receive up to $15 million over the duration of their five-year projects.

Both projects have CAAFI engagement and the potential to enable significant regional SAJF supply chain development. The webinar was well attended with approximately 70 participants.

To view the slide decks from the presentations, click here.
SOAP-Jet webinars are intended to provide a forum for members of the alternative jet fuel community to discuss progress and related gaps and challenges, share lessons learned, methodologies, and strategies in order to promote communication among stakeholders and enable commercialization of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF). For previous SOAP-Jet webinar presentations, See CAAFI’s Presentations page.

Geneva International Airport to Introduce SAJF in Partnership with Neste

10 October 2017 – Neste has announced a new partnership with Geneva International Airport to introduce sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) for all aircraft operations. The airport has set a sustainability target for at least one percent of annual jet fuel consumption to be renewable-based beginning in late 2018, adding itself to the growing list of “biofuels enabled” airports that can distribute SAJF to any airline at the airport. Sweden’s Halmstad and Karlstad Airports, Norway’s Oslo and Bergen International Airports, and Los Angeles International Airport are now incorporating SAJF deliveries into their overall fuel pools. Other airports, such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, are developing plans for SAJF introduction and long-term distribution scale-up.

Geneva is the first airport to implement the Airport Approach model developed by Rocky Mountain Institute’s Carbon War Room (CWR) and SkyNRG, whom approached the airport in 2015 to guide its transition to renewable fuels. Neste will supply airlines operating from Geneva with Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel.

Read the Neste press release here.

Gevo to Supply ATJ to Virgin Australia at Brisbane Airport Starting October 2017

4 October 2017 – Gevo announced it will supply its alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) from its plant in Texas using isobutanol produced at its Minnesota plant to Virgin Australia for flights departing Brisbane Airport. It is anticipated that Gevo will start providing the AJF to Australia as soon as October 2017. This new contract is in line with Gevo’s goal of producing larger production volumes of ATJ and a first step for Australia’s government as they look to develop SAJF facilities in the country that utilize carbohydrate-based feedstocks.

Read the Gevo press release here.

Feedstock Harvest Marks Critical Milestone in UAE's SAJF Development

3 October 2017 – The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium announced its Seawater Energy and Agriculture System project had a successful first harvest of Salicornia, a SAJF feedstock. The feedstock is being cultivated in the UAE using saltwater and desert land alongside seafood to contribute to the country’s food and fuel security. Once extracted, the oil from the Salicornia harvest will be converted into SAJF, blended with traditional jet fuel to fuel a Etihad Airways flight on a Boeing Aircraft. Read the Biofuels Digest article here and the Masdar news story here.

USDA NIFA Awards Grants Supporting the Development of AJF

25 September 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced six awards totaling $21.6 million through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to support the development of alternative jet fuel (AJF), biobased products and biomaterials from renewable sources. The grants of more than $7 million each to the University of Arizona for fuels from guayule and the University of Florida for oilseed fuel pathways will result in regional AJF supply chain development and have significant implications for sustainable fuel availability nationally.

CAAFI will participate as an advisor for both projects and leads the supply chain development effort as a member of the University of Florida team.

CAAFI will host a webinar to introduce these two projects in the near future – stay tuned! Until then you can read the announcement here and learn more about the projects here.

British Airways Contracts with Velocys to Develop Waste-based Alternative Jet Fuel Facilities

19 September 2017 - British Airways has partnered with Velocys, a renewable fuels company, to design a series of municipal solid waste (MSW) to jet fuel facilities in order to fulfill their commitment to reduce net emissions by 50 percent by 2050. The first planned facility will produce enough fuel for all their 787 flights from London to San Jose, CA and New Orleans, LA for an entire year. The recent changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) by the Department of Transport that enabled sustainable alternative jet fuel to claim credits under the incentive scheme is expected to provide long-term support for the market.

To read the news releases click on the following links: British Airways new release and Velocys news release.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Alternative Fuel Symposium in Vancouver, Canada

19 September 2017 – On November 16-17, 2017, IATA will host an Alternative Fuel Symposium in Vancouver, Canada that provides a platform for industry professionals to interact and find out about the latest developments and insights from leaders in the market. The program will include panels on the following topics: outcomes from the 2nd ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Mexico, 2020 Production Potential, Innovative Deployment Solutions, Global and Regional Initiatives, and Airline Strategy and Demand Trends including CORSIA Eligibility and Future Challenges. This seminar is open to the public and registration is currently open.

For more information or to register for the event, please go to the event website.

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