Honeywell made history here in Paris on Saturday morning, landing its Gulfstream G450 jet at Le Bourget after the first transatlantic flight using biofuel. The trip’s green credentials can be measured in the 5.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) saved in the course of the seven-hour flight from the New York-area Morristown Airport. In fact, the aircraft crossed the Pond only partly powered by biofuel.
Washington state and its neighbors in the U.S. Pacific Northwest claim to have established an early leadership position in the development of sustainable aviation biofuels.
Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by the aviation industry will increase three-fold by 2050 in spite of an industry goal to cut them in half, according to a new World Economic Forum report that identifies biofuels as one of the most promising ways to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint.
Civil unrest in the Middle East has pushed up the price of jet fuel by more than 30 percent since December. In response, airlines have increased ticket prices, and some have announced they will begin grounding older, less-efficient aircraft types. While no one knows for sure how long this spike in prices will last, it has prompted many in the industry to turn their attention back to the promise of biofuel.
Airbus, Brazilian carrier TAM Linhas Aéreas and others interested in the feasibility of biofuels for aviation use are working to establish a “bio-kerosene jet-fuel” processing plant in Brazil, aiming to “gradually substitute fossil fuel with biofuel.” Other companies participating include Brazilian renewable energy Curcas and biofuel producer Brasil Ecodiesel, along with AirBP.
The October 1 merger of United and Continental Airlines has exhumed an old bone of contention between mainline pilots and their management that stands to profoundly affect regional airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association-represented brethren employed by them.
United Air Lines and Continental Airlines formally closed their so-called merger of equals today, as United Continental Holdings–the former UAL Corporation–announced that both now operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of the new entity. The common stock of United Continental Holdings began trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol UAL.
Eurocopter and parent company EADS have teamed with Argentina-based BioCombustibles del Chubut (BC) to study the feasibility of building an aviation biofuel factory in Brazil. The three companies signed an agreement in June. The biofuel, made from algae, could be used in Eurocopter’s diesel engines for light helicopters, which are now in the research stage (see AIN, February, page 44).
The alternative aviation fuel industry continues to conduct flight tests to validate the use of new jet-fuel blends. At the end of April, United Airlines became the first U.S. commercial carrier to fly using a certified synthetic-fuel blend that received ASTM approval last year.
Plans by British Airways and U.S. energy solutions company Solena Group to establish Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant–dubbed “GreenSky”–are being outlined here at the Farnborough airshow by the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), which claims to lead the development, testing, environmental acceptance, qualification and deployment of alternative aviation fuels.