CSIRO report concludes that sustainable biojet fuel industry is achievable for Australia/New Zealand
|Possible e biomass to liquid fuel refining process pathways. Source: CSIRO. Click to enlarge.|
Establishing an economically and environmentally beneficial, bio-derived Australian and New Zealand aviation fuels industry is a viable proposition, according to a report compiled by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science agency) in collaboration with the region’s major aviation industry players.
The report, “Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation”, examines a road map scenario under which the Australian and New Zealand aviation sectors achieve a 5% bio-derived jet fuel share in their fuel use by 2020, expanding that amount to 40% of their total fuel use by 2050. This development further enables the stabilization of aviation industry emissions from 2020 and assists in reducing emissions from 2030.
If this scenario is realized, then by 2030 Australia and New Zealand are expected to save more than A$2 billion (US$2.1 billion) per annum on jet fuel imports and achieve a 17% reduction in aviation greenhouse gas emissions per annum relative to an all petroleum-based jet fuel future.
The study was commissioned by and developed in collaboration with the members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group—including Air New Zealand, Boeing, Qantas and Virgin Australia—together with the Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) and The Climate Group.
It found that production of commercially viable quantities of aviation fuels derived from non-food biomass sources (eg: crop stubble, forestry residues, municipal waste and algae) is a feasible option for Australia and New Zealand. It also found there are currently sufficient biomass stocks to support a local jet fuel industry.
Sustainable bio-derived jet fuel complies with social, environmental and economic criteria, which includes not impacting on food security or the environment and results in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The report identifies several major actions that are required by 2015 to ensure the industry can be established. These include:
- Creation of a supportive market structure and supply chain;
- Development of refining plants; and
- Certification and independent verification to ensure sustainability of the fuel.
The participants will use the findings of the report as the basis for developing implementation plans and projects, details of which will be announced in the coming months. Some related projects are already in place.
Other participants in the study include: Airbus, Australian Defence Force, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Bioenergy Association of New Zealand, Biofuels Association of Australia, GE, Honeywell UOP, New South Wales Office of Biofuels, NSW Office of Trade, Business & Industry, Pratt & Whitney, Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Rolls-Royce, Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Division, South Australian Department of Premier & Cabinet, The Climate Group and Victorian Department of Innovation, and Regional Development.
The project also engaged international organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels.