Biofuel Takes Flight In Aviation Industry
Process technology made by UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, was used to convert second-generation renewable feedstocks to green jet fuel that powered biofuel demonstration flights by Japan Airlines (JAL), Air New Zealand and Continental Airlines. "These demonstration flights have had a tremendous impact on how the aviation community thinks about biofuels," said Jennifer Holmgren, general manager of UOP's Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. "We were able to demonstrate that our technology produces on-spec green jet fuel from sustainable feedstocks and that commercial-scale production and usage of these biofuels in the aviation industry could be a reality in a matter of just a few years." UOP collaborated with Boeing, the airlines and engine manufacturers for each of the three flights to produce and test renewable jet fuel made from sustainable natural oils. The Air New Zealand flight used oil from jatropha, an inedible plant that can grow in conditions where other food crops cannot, as the source for the biofuel. The Continental flight used oil from both jatropha and algae, and the JAL flight used oil from jatropha, algae and camelina, an energy crop with high oil content that can grow in rotation with wheat and other cereal crops. Each of the flights used a 50/50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based fuel in one engine. In each flight the engine using biofuel performed as well as the engine with only petroleum-based fuel. There is work needed to achieve commercial production and use. Data from each of the flights will be compiled and made available for use by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International committee for approval and certification. Additionally, further development is needed to harvest and process sustainable feedstocks, such as jatropha, algae and camelina, in commercial-scale quantities. UOP will need to license its technology and support the design of a production facility. UOP believes that biofuels could begin making an impact on the aviation jet fuel supply in three to five years. UOP, a recognized global leader in process technology to convert petroleum feedstocks to fuels and chemicals, is developing a range of processes to produce green fuels from natural feedstocks. UOP's green jet fuel process technology is based on the hydroprocessing technology commonly used in today's refineries to produce transportation fuels. In this process, hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from the biological feedstock such as oil from jatropha plants or algae. The result is a bio-derived jet fuel that acts as a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based jet fuel and meets all of the critical specifications for flight. For more information, please visit www.uop.com.
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