Boeing, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and SkyNRG, with support from Canada's aviation industry and other stakeholders, are working together to convert leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel.
Canada, which has extensive sustainably certified forests, has long used mill and forest residues to make wood pellets that are used to generate electricity. A consortium that includes Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, Bombardier, research institutions and industry partners will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermochemical processing.
"Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation's carbon emissions over the long term," remarked Julie Felgar, Managing Director of Environmental Strategy & Integration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Canada is in a terrific position to leverage its sustainable forests to make environmental progress for its aviation industry and other transport sectors."
A 2015 Boeing-sponsored study by UBC discoverd that aviation biofuel made from forest waste could meet 10% – approximately 46 million gal. – of British Columbia's annual jet fuel demand. These efforts could also supply biofuel to ground and marine vehicles, which could reduce CO2 emissions by about 1 million tpy on a life cycle basis across the transportation sector, the study noted.
"Air Canada believes that developing a reliable supply of sustainable aviation biofuel in Canada will play a role in achieving our emission reduction goals," said Teresa Ehman, Director, Environmental Affairs, Air Canada. "By utilising Canada's strong forestry research expertise and the knowledge of industry collaborators, this project will contribute significantly to understanding the viability of forest residue-sourced biofuel."
"WestJet has invested billions of dollars in fleet renewal to reduce our fuel consumption and to ensure we are doing our part towards responsible growth and environmental sustainability," added Geoff Tauvette, Director of Fuel and Environment, WestJet. "WestJet's social responsibility mandate is to extend our culture of caring beyond our aircraft doors and we are proud to support initiatives such as these that reduce our carbon footprint through the research, development and production of aviation biofuels in Canada."
This project was announced during the 2015 Canadian Bioeconomy Conference in Vancouver. It was recently awarded funding by the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) of Canada as part of a portfolio of investments in technologies to reduce aviation's carbon emissions.
The consortium is led by UBC and NORAM Engineering and Constructors, Ltd., of Vancouver. Project partner SkyNRG, based in the Netherlands, is the global market leader for sustainable jet fuel, having supplied biofuel to more than 20 carriers worldwide.
Edited from press release by Angharad Lock
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/clean-fuels/03122015/canada-searches-for-sustainable-aviation-biofuel-1729/