Airlines team up to develop eco fuels

A group of airlines have joined forces in an effort to develop and make viable sustainable new aviation fuels.

The charter group, which includes Air France, SAS and Virgin, is to enable the commercial use of renewable fuel sources that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while lessening commercial aviation’s exposure to oil price volatility and dependence on fossil fuels.Airlines involved include SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Air France, Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM and Virgin Atlantic, along with Boeing and Honeywell UOP, a refining technology developer.

The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group makes commercial aviation the first global transportation sector to voluntarily drive verifiable sustainability practices into its fuel supply chain. The initiative is supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“We welcome the aviation sector’s will to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and appreciate their efforts to ensure the sustainability of their biofuels sourcing,” says Jean-Philippe Denruyter, WWF Global Bioenergy Coordinator.

All group members subscribe to a sustainability pledge stipulating that any sustainable biofuel must perform as well as, or better than, kerosene-based fuel, but with a smaller carbon lifecycle. The user’s group pledged to consider only renewable fuel sources with minimal impacts to the biosphere: fuels that require minimal land, water and energy to produce, and that don’t compete with food or fresh water resources. In addition, cultivation and harvest of plant stocks must provide socioeconomic value to the local communities.