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Green diesel opportunity for airlines

SEATTLE, WA: As Air Bridge Cargo Airlines (ABC) takes delivery of its fifth fuel-efficient B747-8 freighter, Boeing has announced that "green diesel," a renewable fuel used in ground transportation, is a "significant" new source of sustainable aviation biofuel that produces at least 50 percent less carbon dioxide than fossil fuel.

The manufacturer says green diesel production capacity exists in the U.S., Europe and Singapore that could supply as much as one percent - about 600 million gallons - of global commercial jet fuel demand. The wholesale cost, with U.S. government subsidies, is competitive with jet fuel at US$3 a gallon.

The diesel, chemically different from biodiesel, is made from oils and fats. If approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it could be blended directly with traditional A1 jet fuel.

"Green diesel approval would be a major breakthrough in the availability of competitively priced, sustainable aviation fuel," said Dr. James Kinder, a technical fellow in Boeing Commercial Airplanes Propulsion Systems Division. "We are collaborating with our industry partners and the aviation community to move this innovative solution forward and reduce the industry's reliance on fossil fuel."

Together with the FAA, Boeing and the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (26 major airlines and four aerospace manufacturers) are compiling a detailed research report that will be submitted to key stakeholders for approval. The group says it is committed to developing biofuel that is produced without adverse impact to greenhouse gas emissions, local food security, soil, water and air.

Etihad biofuelABC says its fleet of 747-8s has already produced a one percent reduction in fuel burn than expected. The latest aircraft will be used on the company's scheduled flights linking the U.S., Europe and Asia via its Moscow hub.

In a related move, Abu Dhabi launched its Sustainability Week on January 18 with an Etihad B777 demonstration flight powered in part by UAE-produced sustainable aviation biofuel.

The biofuel was partially converted from plants by Total and refined into jet fuel by Takreer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. The UAE is now among a handful of countries that have produced and flown on their own aviation biofuel, which emits at least 50 percent less carbon dioxide than fossil fuel over its lifecycle.

"In collaboration with our key partners, our goal is to support and help drive the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and also globally," said Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan. "We have made some important first steps in this process and our continued focus will be to develop further initiatives such as this which will facilitate the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels for Etihad Airways in the coming years."

 

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