Biofuels Next for Aviation Industry?

Today, a new report is confirming that aviation biofuels are a viable option for Australia and New Zealand and can be produced in commercially viable quantities.  These new options could cut down the emissions from greenhouse gasses by 17 percent.

The report, “Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation”, which is commissioned by numerous companies including Boeing, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand,  also claims that over the next 20 years a change to aviation biofuels could generate over 12,000 jobs.

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), compiled the report and estimated that Australia’s reliance on aviation fuel imports would be reduced by $2.1 billion a year with a change to using biofuels made from non-food crops. 

“Through the uptake of sustainable bio-derived jet fuel, together with next generation aircraft and engines, the industry can reduce both its emissions and its reliance on imported fossil fuel” said Paul Graham, project leader and a CSIRO economist.

“This study highlights promising options for the aviation industry”.

Biofuels have been controversial and criticized for using vital food crops, land and water resources, but the scenario presented by the CSIRO deals with sources with non-food biomass such as forestry residues, municipal waste and algae. 

Several airlines, including Continental Airlines, Air New Zealand, And KLM have already tested biofuels. 

By 2050, the IEA (International Energy Agency) estimates that 30 percent of the global aviation fuel supplies will be made up of biofuels. 

Photo Credit: wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/EEF5E78B-0939-452C-8B03-DBE591997968/0/Airlines250.jpg

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