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Boeing Taps Canada for Aviation Biofuels

December 8, 2015 in Aviation, Biofuels, Companies by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

British Columbia Partnership to Evaluate Forest Waste as Feed

Boeing, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and SkyNRG are collaborating to turn leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel, Boeing said last week.

British Columbia’s certified sustainable forest products sector has an extensive bioenergy infrastructure, says Boeing-Air Canada project leader Noram Engineering and Constructors, of Vancouver. Large-scale drying of woodchips shown here in Altentech Power photo

British Columbia’s certified sustainable forest products sector has an extensive bioenergy infrastructure, says Boeing-Air Canada project leader Noram Engineering and Constructors, of Vancouver. Large-scale drying of woodchips shown here in Altentech Power photo



Canadian stakeholders include Air Canada, WestJet, and the aircraft manufacturer Bombardier.

The consortium is led by UBC and Noram Engineering and Constructors, Ltd., of Vancouver. Netherlands-based project partner SkyNRG has supplied biofuel to more than 20 carriers worldwide (F&F, March 18, 2013).

Noram Seeks Bio-Oils

“We want to identify producers of bio-oils,” says Noram Engineering spokesman Ira Wolff. The oils, he told F&F can in turn be processed into aviation fuels. “The end goal is to run an industrial demonstration,” he says.

Blended biofuels are among the technologies evaluated on Boeing's EcoDemonstrator 787 jet.

Blended biofuels are among the technologies evaluated on Boeing’s EcoDemonstrator 787 jet.

Boeing notes that Canada has long used mill and forest residues to make wood pellets that are used to generate electricity. The new consortium “will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermochemical processing.”

‘Canada Is in a Terrific Position’

“Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions over the long term,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes managing director of environmental strategy and integration Julie Felgar said in a release.

Waste bark and wood chips at a plywood plant near Kamloops, British Columbia in Nexterra Systems photo

Waste bark and wood chips at a plywood plant near Kamloops, British Columbia in Nexterra Systems photo

“Canada is in a terrific position to leverage its sustainable forests to make environmental progress for its aviation industry and other transport sectors,” she said.

10% of Province’s Aviation Fuel Needs?

A 2015 Boeing-sponsored study by UBC found that aviation biofuel made from forest waste could meet 10% – about 46 million gallons, or 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 carbon dioxide emissions per year on a life cycle basis across the transportation sector, the study found.

The Trees and the Knowhow

“Air Canada believes that developing a reliable supply of sustainable aviation biofuel in Canada will play a role in achieving our emission reduction goals,” Teresa Ehman, the airline’s environmental affairs director, says in the Boeing announcement.

“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.”


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Source: Boeing Commercial Airplanes with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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