Boeing: Biofuel Use by Airlines Up to 1% by 2015

John Davis

Boeing’s top environmental officer says that commercial airlines might use up to 1 percent biofuels made from plants and algae by the year 2015.

Bloomberg quotes Billy Glover, managing director of environmental strategy at Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit, as pointing out that has worked with airlines from the U.S. to Japan to test jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha and camelina:

“We need to get to 1 percent to get that foundation and then the trajectory will be significantly steeper,” Glover said in a telephone interview in London. “We’re aiming for a 1 percent penetration around the middle of this decade, and we think that’s quite achievable.”

Airlines are striving to reduce emissions that the United Nations says account for at least 3 percent of the global- warming gas pollution. The environment group Greenpeace estimates output of the gases from carriers will double by 2050. To help curb pollution, the 27-nation European Union will bring airlines into its carbon cap-and trade system in 2012.

No carriers use biofuels for regularly scheduled flights though airlines have tested biofuels in flight since 2008. That was when Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., controlled by the U.K. billionaire Richard Branson, tested a jumbo jet partly powered by fuel from babassu nuts and coconut oil.

Since then, airlines including Air New Zealand Ltd., Continental and Japan Airlines Corp. have tested biofuels sourced from various crops in their planes.

Officials say the key for success with airlines using biofuels will be to scale up production of the green fuels.

algae, biofuels