Wisely, airline industry continues move toward green jet fuel

Hamilton%2C%20Tyler45X64.jpgPosted by Tyler Hamilton
I’ve always said that if we are to pursue a biofuels strategy, it should first and foremost focus on developing renewable fuels for airplanes.Using batteries or fuel cells to power a large passenger jet is a non-starter, given the added weight to the aircraft. We can electrify most ground transportation, but we can’t electrify airplanes, so biofuels is what we’re left with if we want to reduce the carbon footprint of the airline industry.
There’s no question that biofuels are controversial, particularly when we talk of growing corn and other food crops as a feedstock for producing ethanol and other green fuels. There’s much potential in second- and third-generation biofuels, using wood, agricultural, and municipal wastes and algae, but there’s considerable doubt that even these non-food feedstocks could allow us to make a meaningful dent in our fossil-fuel consumption. This is why targeting the airline industry makes sense.It only represents about 12 per cent of global petroleum consumption, so maybe we can serve this market with the non-food feedstocks we have.
Momentum in this area continues. Last week British Airways announced a partnership with U.S.-based Solena Group, which plans to build the first commercial plant in Europe dedicated to producing jet fuel from municipal solid waste — everything from food waste to grass cuttings. The waste will be turned into syngas using a plasma-arc process, and that gas will form the basic chemical building blocks for the green jet fuel.
Joshua Kagan over at Greentech Media has a good update on this trend.

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