Biofuels to fly, and other stories

747Air New Zealand is carefully positioning itself as a climate-friendly airline with its latest announcement that it is to trial biofuels in a 747 flight from Auckland in the next couple of years. Working with Boeing, Air NZ will be part of the first commercial trial of biofuel, in a Rolls-Royce-powered jumbo in the next 18 months . The flight will only use biofuel in one engine, and will not carry customers. [Stuff, Herald, BBC, June HT blog on aviation biofuels].

3 thoughts on “Biofuels to fly, and other stories”

  1. Hi Gareth

    Any word on what type of biofuel will be used, and what type of biomass is to be used to make it?

    It is my understanding that it difficult to produce a biofuel with the necessary characteristics for a jet fuel.

    Cheers Doug

  2. I can’t find any mention in the press coverage about the fuel to be used, except that it will be a biofuel/kerosene blend. You might get more by digging around at Biofuel Review, and the Technology Review article I blogged in June has more detail about bioavgas issues. Let us know what you find out…

  3. Hi Gareth

    From a quick surf I think that the bio sourced production of the equivalent of Jet-A avgas (kerosene) is still some way off. The link you gave is to an article about a gene tinkering company’s belief that they can create an org that will produce a chemical with properties better than Jet-A.

    They may be able to do it but it is still early days and I suspect that the company is optimistically looking for venture capital at this time.

    The only other source of Jet fuel being discussed in the immediate future seems to be sourced from coal using the FT process. However, there still seems to be some quality issues around the product (understandably the industry will be cautious). Off course if coal is used then we are lookng at CCS which brings along a new set of challenges.

    There also seems to the possibility of replacing coal with biomass and using the FT process to produce kerosene. The WG3 of the IPCC does briefly discuss this in their discussion of options. See Box 5.4. However, most the discussion is of increased energy efficiency. Perhaps this is option that AirNZ is testing?


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