Archived News

CAAFI’s SOAP-Jet Series Continues with ASCENT Projects Overview

15 December 2017 – On December 8, 2017, CAAFI’s R&D Team continued the SOAP-Jet webinar series with a presentation on current alternative jet fuel-related work under the Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT), presented by ASCENT’s Director, Dr. Michael Wolcott (Washington State University). Funded by FAA, ASCENT consists of researchers from 16 universities studying a broad range of topics related to alternative jet fuels and the environment, such as the commercial development of sustainable alternative jet fuel production pathways and measures for improving the health and life quality of those working and living around airports.

Dr. Wolcott presented an overview of ASCENT and highlighted two ASCENT projects. First, he spoke about the Alternative Jet Fuel Supply Chain Analysis project, which seeks to identify key barriers to the production of 1 billion gallons of alternative jet fuel in the near term and 10 billion gallons in the longer term. The project team is evaluating the technoeconomics of fuel production pathways, potential feedstock availability, infrastructure requirements, commercial fuel demand, and novel co-products in an effort to construct supply-chain scenarios for future sustainable alternative jet fuel production at both national and regional scales. The team is also working to facilitate specific regional approaches to supply chain development. Dr. Wolcott also discussed the National Jet Fuel Combustion Program, which is developing combustion-related generic test and modeling capabilities to better understand the impacts of a fuel’s chemical composition and physical properties on combustion and emissions, with the goal of accelerating the certification process of new alternative jet fuels.

The webinar was well-attended with approximately 70 participants. To view the presentation slide deck, click here.

SOAP-Jet webinars are intended to provide a forum for members of the alternative jet fuel community to discuss progress and related gaps and challenges, share lessons learned, methodologies, and strategies in order to promote communication among stakeholders and enable commercialization of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF).

Hainan Airlines Conducts First Chinese Trans-oceanic Flight Powered on Biofuels

23 November 2017 – Hainan Airlines conducted China’s first transoceanic flight powered by biofuels on 21 November. The Boeing 787 flight carried 186 passengers and 15 crew members from Beijing to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, covering a distance of 11,297 kilometers over 11 hours and 41 minutes. An alternative jet fuel (AJF) blend comprised of 15% hydroprocessed waste cooking oil and 85% conventional aviation fuel powered the flight.

The AJF blend was supplied to Hainan Airlines by China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. The blend’s renewable fuel component was sourced from restaurant waste cooking oil and produced at Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Sinopec based in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Xu Chaoqun, head of the airworthiness certification department at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), said biofuels use is an important development in the global aviation fuel market. "It's critical to develop green alternative energy, and push forward the R&D and application of biofuel with independent intellectual property rights. The biofuel developed by Sinopec is the first such aviation fuel that has been approved by the CAAC.", Chaogun said. Sinopec spokesman Lyu Dapeng said the AJF had met stringent safety standards, and Sinopec will speed up its commercial application with the support of supply chain partners. Read China Daily’s article on China’s first transoceanic flight flown on AJF here.

Qantas Airways Partners with Feedstock Supply Company Agrisoma to Establish AJF Supply Chain in Australia

21 November 2017 – Agrisoma and Qantas Airways have partnered to establish a commercial alternative jet fuel supply chain in Australia. Agrisoma, a Canadian company, will supply Brassica carinata seed, a feedstock suitable for jet fuel, to Australian farmers. Agrisoma aims to eventually grow the crop on nearly 1 million acres in Australia, producing more than 50 million gallons to replace up to 50 percent of the airline’s annual fuel needs. A demonstration flight using alternative jet fuel derived from Brassica carinata seed between the United States and Australia is scheduled for January 2018. There are still a lot of questions, such as who will convert the feedstock into jet fuel, but for now the focus by an end user on crop development is a novel approach. The Australian supply chain is expected to produce fuel for the airline before the end of 2019. Read more about the agreement here.

Gevo supplies SAJF (ATJ-SPK) to 8 airlines at ORD, demonstrating use of standard infrastructure for fuel delivery

8 November 2017 – Today, is “Fly Green Day” at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). What does that mean? Eight commercial airlines (Lufthansa, United, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Atlas) will fly out of ORD today using Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) derived from renewable isobutanol. Gevo structured this activity to validate the capability to deliver SAJF to the aircraft’s wing using the airport’s main fuel system infrastructure (terminals, pipelines, storage tanks and hydrant system), enabling minimized delivery costs and effort. Up to this point, most SAJF demonstrations have had fuel delivered by truck to the aircraft or airport fuel farm. Gevo also recently announced they will be executing similar activities at Brisbane airport in Queensland, Australia in conjunction with Virgin Australia.

The isobutanol-based ATJ-SPK process has been included in the ASTM D7566 specification for synthetic turbine fuels (Annex A5) since 2016.

Read Gevo’s press release here and BiofuelsDiget’s coverage here.

Fulcrum Bioenergy Closes Financing on 1st Project, Announces Location of the 2nd

8 November 2017 – Fulcrum Bioenergy closed financing on October 27th for their first commercial-scale MSW-to-fuels biorefinery. The Sierra Biofuels Plant near Reno, Nevada is expected to go online in the second half of 2018 with a capacity to produce 11 million gallons of fuel a year. On the heels of that long-awaited news, Fulcrum announced Chicago as the location of their second commercial-scale biorefinery. This is in line with Fulcrum’s announced plans to have eight facilities online by 2022. Facilities two through eight are expected to have a capacity three to six times greater than the first with an estimated total production of 300 million gallons per year. Fulcrum also announced that they expect the third project to be established on the West Coast, but were not more specific.

Read the BiofuelsDigest article about the recent activity here.

Dispelling Aviation Biofuels Sustainability Misconceptions

8 November 2017 –

{Biofuels shouldn’t be a priority. Biofuels take food off the table. Biofuels result in industrial-scale monocultures and degraded landscapes. Biofuels aren’t sustainable. There have been a number of high profile failures that prove biofuels cannot succeed in the marketplace.}

Two recent articles, one co-authored by CAAFI’s Executive Director Steve Csonka, have attempted to address these all too common and prevalent misconceptions around the commercialization of SAJF. The articles highlight the strong political will at local and international levels, with actions in California to include jet fuels under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and 72 States agreeing to voluntarily participate in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. They also point to the growing demand as illustrated by an increasing number of offtake agreements and the fact that the technology has been proven. There are already five alternative feedstock conversion technologies that produce jet fuel certified for use in commercial aircraft with more on the way. And the mechanisms to validate the sustainability of SAJF and its production are already in place. CAAFI continues to work closely with stakeholder organizations that have the same end goals in mind: commercialize sustainable alternative drop-in jet fuel that provides the same levels of safety while offering environmental benefits and a more secure energy supply for aviation over traditional petroleum-based fuel.

To read the articles click the titles below:
Why the time is right for aviation biofuels to take off by Adam Klauber and Isaac Toussie (Carbon War Room – Rocky Mountain Institute)
Opinion: Biofuels Sustainable, Essential to Aviation’s Future by Adam Klauber, Isaac Toussie, Steve Csonka and Barbara Bramble

Enerkem Facility Becomes First Commercial-scale Plant to Produce Cellulosic Ethanol from Mixed MSW (Update)

19 September 2017 – Enerkem has been producing and selling biomethanol since 2016 from its facility in Edmonton, Canada and now, with the installation of its methanol-to-ethanol conversion unit earlier this year, has become the first facility in the world to produce cellulosic ethanol from mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) on a commercial-scale. Enerkem is planning on increasing production at the Edmonton facility while preparing to build their next facility in parallel. While ethanol is not usable in jet aircraft, CAAFI is woekring with task forces to pursue an ethanol to alternative jet fuel certification in ASTM.

Read Enerkem’s news release here.

Enerkem's municipal waste-to-cellulosic ethanol biofuels facility in Edmonton receives registration approval to sell in the U.S.
Read the press release here.

Qantas and SG Preston Announce 8 Million Gallon per Year Offtake Agreement

16 October 2017 – Qantas and SG Preston announced that SG Preston will begin supplying Qantas with eight million gallons of sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) per year over ten years, starting in 2020. The fuel will be used for Qantas flights to Australia departing from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) as a 50/50 blend of non-edible plant oil-based SAJF and petroleum-based jet fuel. Qantas states that their agreement is the first for an Australian airline.

For more information, see the Quantas and SG Preston press releases.

CAAFI’s SOAP-Jet Series Continues with Florida and Arizona CAP Grant Awardees

16 October 2017 – On October 13, 2017, CAAFI’s R&D Team continued their SOAP-Jet webinars with presentations introducing two sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF)-related projects from the newly announced U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Coordinated Agriculture Projects (CAP) grants.

Representatives from the two SAJF-related projects provided overviews of their plans to develop regional SAJF supply chains: Dr. Kimberly Ogden (University of Arizona) introduced the Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions (SBAR) project focused on the development and use of guayule and guar in the Southwest, and Dr. David Wright (University of Florida) introduced the Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC) focused on the development of carinata oilseeds. Each project is anticipated to receive up to $15 million over the duration of their five-year projects.

Both projects have CAAFI engagement and the potential to enable significant regional SAJF supply chain development. The webinar was well attended with approximately 70 participants.

To view the slide decks from the presentations, click here.
SOAP-Jet webinars are intended to provide a forum for members of the alternative jet fuel community to discuss progress and related gaps and challenges, share lessons learned, methodologies, and strategies in order to promote communication among stakeholders and enable commercialization of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF). For previous SOAP-Jet webinar presentations, See CAAFI’s Presentations page.

Geneva International Airport to Introduce SAJF in Partnership with Neste

10 October 2017 – Neste has announced a new partnership with Geneva International Airport to introduce sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) for all aircraft operations. The airport has set a sustainability target for at least one percent of annual jet fuel consumption to be renewable-based beginning in late 2018, adding itself to the growing list of “biofuels enabled” airports that can distribute SAJF to any airline at the airport. Sweden’s Halmstad and Karlstad Airports, Norway’s Oslo and Bergen International Airports, and Los Angeles International Airport are now incorporating SAJF deliveries into their overall fuel pools. Other airports, such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, are developing plans for SAJF introduction and long-term distribution scale-up.

Geneva is the first airport to implement the Airport Approach model developed by Rocky Mountain Institute’s Carbon War Room (CWR) and SkyNRG, whom approached the airport in 2015 to guide its transition to renewable fuels. Neste will supply airlines operating from Geneva with Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel.

Read the Neste press release here.

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