NewEnergyNews: FLY AIR ALGAE

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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  • The Transportation Policy Battleground Right Now

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    FLY AIR ALGAE

    Flying The Green Skies With Biofuels; With test flights behind them, airlines push for more production of biobased jet fuel

    Melody M. Bomgardner, June 11, 2012 (Chemical & Engineering News)

    “…[I]n the past two years, a group of motivated and vocal customers from the airline industry…[wants] to talk about biobased jet fuel…and they are loudly thanking those [industrial biotech companies] who choose to supply jet fuel…[T]hree problems [are] faced by the airlines that argue in favor of biofuels: the rising cost of traditional fuel, price volatility, and environmental concerns, particularly greenhouse gas emissions…

    “…[O]nly a drop-in replacement will do, as passenger planes powered by solar energy, electricity, or compressed gas are not going to be part of the solution…But in the already challenging world of biofuels, the route to jet fuel is plagued by turbulence. Making biobased jet fuel requires an extra refining step and adds costs, which biotech firms fear may not be made up in the price. Only two refining processes are currently certified by the standards organization ASTM International to be used for biobased jet fuel. And abundant feedstocks are not yet available.”

    click to enlarge

    “Although the bumpy air will slow the arrival of biobased jet fuel, even skeptics agree that eventually there will be meaningful production of the much-wanted fuel…Several industrial biotech firms have told investors that jet fuel is one possible output from their commercial-scale plants…[R]efiners such as Neste Oil have developed technology dedicated to making biobased jet fuel…

    “…[A] small group of energy crop firms, looking to develop oilseed crops to turn into jet fuel, has emerged…[T]est flights are now over…[and] the aerospace industry is ready to take on a huge amount of the new fuels: The global market for jet fuels represents a 10% slice of all transportation fuels, or approximately 64 billion gal per year…And costs for conventional fuel have been soaring…”

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