Category Archives: biofuels

Green jet fuel making headway, closer than thought

Those who read this blog know from past postsĀ that I support development of biofuels as one of many climate-change solutions, but strictly conditional on how it’s made and how it’s used. Cellulosic ethanol can play an important role when we move to plug-in hybrids that still require gasoline, though to a much smaller extent. And, of course, I’m a big fan of developing biofuels as a climate-friendly alternative to jet fuel.

Air New Zealand has been making some serious progress on that front with its partners Boeing, Rolls-Royce and UOP (Honeywell). A team led by Rolls-Royce is putting a jatropha-based jet fuel through rigorous tests to further validate what preliminary data has so far shown: that the fuel meets all required specifications for commercial aviation. Once testing is completed later this fall, and assuming all conditions are met, the new fuel will be tested on an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 sometime in December. The jetliner will be powered by four Rolls-Royce engines, one of which will run on the Jatropha-based jet fuel. Continue reading Green jet fuel making headway, closer than thought

Aviation should be main focus of biofuels development

Perhaps this is a naive opinion — I’m open to that criticism. But if you believe, as I do, that the future of clean, efficient ground transportation is electrification, and that such a solution doesn’t exist for aviation, then you may support the idea that the bulk of research, development and commercialization around biofuels should be focused on replacing our use of jet fuel, not gasoline. It’s not that I don’t think there’s value in using biofuels for vehicles, particularly as the fuel component of a plug-in hybrid. It’s just that biofuels, in my view, represent the only realistic clean-fuel option for long-distance jet travel. Continue reading Aviation should be main focus of biofuels development