Aviation Biofuel Advancements To Be Showcased At International Air Show


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Aviation Biofuel Advancements To Be Showcased At International Air Show

By Daniel Baxter

July 15, 2010 – The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) will host an exhibit, the United Alternative Aviation Fuels (UAAF) display at the Farnborough International Air Show, England (FIAS) 2010, featuring recent advances in aviation biofuel development and deployment.

Aviation's share of the greenhouse gas emissions is poised to grow, as air travel increases and ground vehicles use more alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. There are estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent.

The CAAFI FIAS display and personnel representing the initiative will be on hand throughout the show to discuss the great strides that companies and agencies are making in developing and designing critically needed alternative aviation fuels.

These fuels promise to enhance U.S. energy independence and bring more environmentally friendly and sustainable energy to commercial- and military-aviation purchasers.


Senior representatives from major U.S. and multinational companies and agencies will be present at the exhibit as these companies introduce their products. The biennial Farnborough International Air Show is one of the world’s leading aviation events. This year’s exhibition in Farnborough, England, will take place from July 19-25, 2010. The UAAF display will be open to the public in the exhibit area throughout the week.

The organizations that are sponsoring the UAAF display include:

CAAFI – Cofounded in 2006 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) to coordinate efforts to advance the development, testing, environmental acceptance, qualification and deployment of alternative aviation fuels.


Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) – Leads U.S. government efforts to purchase aviation fuels derived from alternative sources. Among the world’s largest purchasers of jet fuels, DESC entered into a strategic alliance earlier this year with ATA to foster closer cooperation between military and commercial aviation with respect to the deployment of alternative fuels.

UOP – A leading producer recognized for fueling more commercial, biofuel-flight programs than any other company in the world. Biofuels Digest recently distinguished UOP as “Processor of the Year.”

Solazyme – The leading producer of algae-derived oil for aviation and diesel use. Biofuels Digest recently distinguished Solazyme as the “#1 Bioenergy Company of the Year”.

Solena – Pioneers in municipal solid waste to jet-fuel production. Solena recently teamed with British Airways to announce a fuel-supply agreement for London City Airport.

Algae fuel is a biofuel which is derived from algae. During photosynthesis, algae and other photosynthetic organisms capture carbon dioxide and sunlight and convert it into oxygen and biomass. Up to 99% of the carbon dioxide in solution can be converted, which was shown by Weissman and Tillett (1992) in large-scale open-pond systems.

Several companies and government agencies are funding efforts to reduce capital and operating costs and make algae fuel production commercially viable. The production of biofuels from algae does not reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), because any CO2 taken out of the atmosphere by the algae is returned when the biofuels are burned. They do however eliminate the introduction of new CO2 by displacing fossil hydrocarbon fuels.

High oil prices, competing demands between foods and other biofuel sources, and the world food crisis, have ignited interest in algaculture (farming algae) for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogasoline, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels, using land that is not suitable for agriculture. Among algal fuels' attractive characteristics: they do not affect fresh water resources, can be produced using ocean and wastewater, and are biodegradable and relatively harmless to the environment if spilled.

Algae cost more per unit mass (as of 2010, food grade algae costs ~$5000/ton), due to high capital and operating costs, yet can theoretically yield between 10 and 100 times more energy per unit area than other second-generation biofuel crops.


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