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JetBlue commits to sustainable biomaterials

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

JetBlue Airways has announced it has joined The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). As the first US airline member, JetBlue joins 100 other like minded organisations in creating a market and standard for sustainable biomass and bio-based products. The RSB is an independent and global multi-stakeholder coalition, which works to promote the sustainability of biomaterials. JetBlue will participate in discussions relating to the aviation sector.

“Biofuels are inevitable for the future of the aviation industry. We know we have to start laying the groundwork today as an investment in our future,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, Head of Sustainability, JetBlue. “In order to make this work, businesses globally need to join together for a low carbon future.”

The airline is actively researching alternative fuel sources and firmly believes in their necessity to secure the future of the aviation industry. JetBlue committed to a biofuels plan in 2017 that aims to bring future biofuels to JetBlue and create cooperation among commercial carriers. With RSB’s guidance, JetBlue will join a consortium of corporate citizens and airlines pursuing multiple sources of biofuels that minimise unwanted environmental and social impacts throughout their supply chain and life cycle.

“JetBlue is joining The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials as renewable biofuels will become increasingly more important for aviation to continue to grow responsibly,” Mendelsohn said. “Science has given us drop-in biofuels, which means there will be no change to our engines or systems – and no compromise to safety. There are no silver bullets when it comes to finding the right biofuel, so we are reaching out for partners; we are all in this together.”

In 2016, JetBlue began actively exploring the purchase of biofuel options for commercial use and was the only airline to sign the White House’s 2015 American Business Act on Climate Pledge, highlighting its support for an international climate agreement towards a low-carbon, sustainable future. JetBlue also pledged to reduce global emissions from commercial air travel in partnership with aircraft and engine manufacturers, the Federal Aviation Administration, and others.

“RSB is the world’s strongest standard for sustainable biofuels. JetBlue is a leader in global aviation and by joining RSB, JetBlue is further demonstrating its leadership by committing to using sustainable fuels in its operations,” said Rolf Hogan, Executive Director, The RSB. “We look forward to seeing other airlines follow JetBlue’s commitment and leadership by becoming members of RSB.”

JetBlue has already pledged to:

  • Support and invest in new technology to decrease flight emissions through more efficient operations. JetBlue has already committed approximately US$20 million for mandated technology and will continue to supplement that effort for additional investment of US$30 million for capabilities in data and long range satellite based communications to improve flying efficiency. With these investments JetBlue aims to save over 500 000 gal./y of fuel burn within 30% of our schedule operation. This objective and more emissions savings will be possible if the Federal Aviation Administration complements the investment with infrastructure, procedural changes and controller training in the Caribbean region.
  • Act on and contribute to industry wide goals to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5%/y from 2009 to 2020; target a cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth); and reduce net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.
  • Develop a biofuel commitment in 2017 for use in regular commercial operations in the future.
  • Transition the wholly-owned ground service equipment to electric ground service equipment where it is safe for our airport operations.

RSB verifies that biomaterials are ethical, sustainable and credibly sourced. Choosing RSB-certified biomaterials helps supports a healthy bio-based community.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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