Airbus announces biofuels consortium

By John Dean - 28 Mar 2011 14:39:1 GMT
Airbus announces biofuels consortium

A consortium including Airbus and Tarom Romanian Air Transport has established a project aimed at developing a jet fuel made from a plant.

The Romanian-based project aims to develop biofuel from the camelina plant, which would be a sustainable substitute to fossil-based jet fuel. The aviation industry is investigating biofuels because they do not have the damaging emissions associated with ones based on fossil-fuels.

Once feasibility work into the potential of the Roman project is completed, the consortium will be able to make decision on the scale of production.

Camelina has been chosen because of its energy potential and its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as its ease of growing and its low water requirements. Because Camelina is indigenous to Romania, it can be readily farmed and harvested by family farmers. The proposed process would also create high quality animal feed as a by-product.

Paul Nash, Airbus Head of New Energies said: ''This is the first European-based value chain project bringing together farmers, oil-refiners and an airline to spearhead the commercialisation of sustainable bio-fuel production. The Romanian Camelina Value Chain project will help us further verify the sustainability and economic viability of producing bio-kerosene.''

Airbus will carry out work to assess the effect of the biofuel on the aircraft systems and engines and is providing other technical support.

The consortium will work with the Bucharest University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine's Centre of Biotechnology, which will explore the agricultural element of the project.

Tarom is leading the consortium, which also includes Honeywell's UOP and Camelina Company España. UOP is applying its aviation bio-fuel refining technology, CCE is contributing its knowledge on camelina.