Research & Innovation
Boeing, Canadian aviation industry launch biofuel project
Boeing, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and SkyNRG, with support from Canada's aviation industry and other stakeholders, are collaborating to turn leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel.
By Cindy Macdonald
A consortium that includes Boeing, Air Canada, WestJet, Bombardier, research institutions and industry partners will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermochemical processing.
“Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions over the long term,” said Julie Felgar, managing director of environmental strategy and integration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Canada is in a terrific position to leverage its sustainable forests to make environmental progress for its aviation industry and other transport sectors.”
A 2015 Boeing-sponsored study by UBC found that aviation biofuel made from forest waste could meet 10 per cent – about 175 million liters – of British Columbia’s annual jet fuel demand. These efforts could also supply biofuel to ground and marine vehicles, saving about 1 million tons of CO2 emissions per year on a life cycle basis across the transportation sector, the study found.
“By utilizing Canada’s strong forestry research expertise and the knowledge of industry collaborators, this project will contribute significantly to understanding the viability of forest residue-sourced biofuel.” said Teresa Ehman, director, environmental affairs, Air Canada.
This project, announced during the 2015 Canadian Bioeconomy Conference in Vancouver, was recently awarded funding by the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) of Canada as part of a portfolio of investments in technologies to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions.
The consortium is led by UBC and NORAM Engineering and Constructors of Vancouver. Project partner SkyNRG, based in the Netherlands, is a distributor of sustainable jet fuel that offers an integrated feedstock-to-flight solution.
As part of Boeing’s commitment to protect the environment and support long-term sustainable growth for commercial aviation, the company has active biofuel projects in many locations, including the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Middle East, South Africa and Southeast Asia.