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Aircraft Biofuel Reduces Carbon by Up to 80 Percent
December 2, 2015

Step outside Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and you’ll see that the old school 3-series Mercedes used as taxis have new competition—from Tesla.

In October 2014, the world’s leading sustainable airport brought 167 Model S electric taxis on board. Recently, the airport has added another 40 vehicles powered by biodiesel.

The biodiesel effort is backed in part by SkyNRG, a Dutch company set up to ensure a long-term sustainable future for aviation.

To that end, the company has announced a Canada/US partnership program to produce forest residue biofuel for aircraft. According to a joint new release, Boeing, the University of British Columbia 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.

Air Canada, WestJet, Bombardier, along with Canadian research institutions and industry partners, plan to cooperate with Boeing to study the potential use of wood waste to produce aviation fuel.

SkyNRG hopes to reduce aircraft carbon emissions by up to 80 percent.

The Company currently uses the Hydrotreated Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) process to convert biomass into fuel. The feedstock reacts with hydrogen to remove the oxygen and to split triglyceride into separate hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are then cracked to the desired chain lengths to fit the specifications of the target fuel over a specific catalyst. The HEFA process produces renewable diesel, but can produce 50 to 70 percent jet fuel with an additional cracking step. The remaining product would be mostly renewable diesel, with propane and naphtha as light end fractions. The jet fuel produced is known as HEFA Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene, or HEFA-SPK, and is already approved for commercial use by ASTM. The HEFA pathway is presently the only immediate opportunity to supply bio jet fuel, although the economics remain challenging.

SkyNRG can be found here: