One of the world’s biggest makers of aircraft says that in initial tests, biofuels don’t affect performance and present no technical or safety problems, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent.
This story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that word comes from the top people at Boeing:
“It meets all jet fuel requirements and then some,” said Billy Glover, who heads Boeing’s environmental strategy group.
Glover said a full report on the test flights would be released next month and aviation biofuel could be approved for use as early as next year. Despite its promise, however, Glover said the real problem is how quickly growers can start producing and refiners processing enough biofuel to make it an alternative to the Jet A fuel used today.
Aircraft account for about 3 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, the principal greenhouse gas, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Though Boeing doesn’t expect much growth in aircraft carbon dioxide emissions, some have estimated they could triple by 2050.
Boeing, Virgin Atlantic, New Zealand Air, Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines, along with GE Aircraft Engines, have conducted four tests using a mixture of biofuel and regular jet fuel over the past 15 months. The planes involved included wide-body 747s and single-aisle 737s. The biofuels included blends of babassu, oil from sustainably grown coconuts, jatropha, algae and camelina.
Boeing officials say that camelina, with its ability to grow on poor soils and to produce high amounts of oil, holds the most promise for sustainability.