China Prepping for Biofuel Trials

Asia viewed as major potential biofuel producer.



Add China to the list of nations conducting biofuel demonstration flights, as Air China prepares to fly a Boeing 747-400 by the end of November using a blend of conventional and hydrotreated renewable jet fuel.

The flight is part of a broader agreement with Air China, PetroChina, Boeing and Honeywell to use fuel derived from biomass grown in China, with the aim of establishing a sustainable aviation biofuel industry there.

Research into sustainable biofuels has been rising steadily in recent years, especially as the U.S. Defense Department has ratcheted up pressure on biofuel producers to boost supply as the military plans for a switch to a 50-50 biofuel blend for aircraft toward then end of the decade.

Just this week, Embraer and the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation announced plans to collaborate on long-term aviation biofuels-related research and development, a move representing a major step toward the creation of an aviation biofuels industry in Brazil. Azul, GOL, TAM and Trip airlines will serve as strategic advisors in the program. Embraer and partner Boeing plan to release a biofuels technology and sustainability roadmap late next year.

A three-day international workshop on alternative aviation fuels opened on Tuesday in Montreal in preparation for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for next June.