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KLM launching regular commercial flights Amsterdam – Paris on biofuel blend in September; Dynamic Fuels producing the bio-kerosene (HRJ) from used cooking oil

Dynamic Fuels will use Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining process to hydrotreat the used cooking oil to produce renewable jet. Source: Syntroleum. Click to enlarge.

In September, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will launch more than 200 flights being operated on a bio-kerosene (hydroprocessed renewable jet, HRJ) blend between Amsterdam and Paris. The biofuel will be produced from used cooking oil by Dynamic Fuels at its Geismar plant and supplied by SkyNRG, the consortium launched by KLM and North Sea Group and Spring Associates in 2009.

Dynamic Fuels is a 50:50 joint venture formed in 2007 between Syntroleum Corporation and Tyson Foods for the production of synthetic fuels from animal fats and greases. (Earlier post.) The plant uses Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining Technology to produce the renewable fuels from feedstocks produced or procured by Tyson Foods.

Bio-Synfining is essentially a biomass-optimized third-stage of Syntroleum’s full Fischer-Tropsch-based synthetic fuels process, the three basic elements of which are (1) gasification, (2) the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, and (3) the upgrading of the resulting F-T wax. Bio-Synfining in essence treats fats, greases and vegetables oils as a Fischer-Tropsch wax, and upgrades them to renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel. Bio-Synfining processes triglycerides and/or fatty acids from fats and vegetable oils with heat, hydrogen and proprietary catalysts to make renewable drop-in fuels.

(Syntroleum notes that the Geismar plant could also be expanded to host a conventional gas-to-liquids plant leveraging its Fischer-Tropsch technology as well.)

ASTM is in the process of approving a specification for the use of “Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids” (HEFA) fuel, also called “hydroprocessed renewable jet” (HRJ), in combination with conventional jet fuel up to a 50% blend. (Earlier post.)

KLM is open to using different raw materials for the end product, as long as they meet a range of sustainability criteria, including substantial reductions in CO2 emissions and minimum negative impact on biodiversity and food supply. All biofuels used by KLM also have to meet precisely the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene and must not require any adjustments to aircraft engines or infrastructure.

SkyNRG is actively developing a sustainable production chain for aviation biofuels. The sustainability of alternative kerosene depends on many factors and is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In order to be able in future to reach the right decisions in this area, SkyNRG is advised by an independent Sustainability Board, consisting of the Dutch wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Solidaridad, and the Copernicus Institute of the University of Utrecht. A positive recommendation from the Sustainability Board carries a lot of weight for KLM.

KLM also supports the view published in the WWF’s Energy Report which indicates that alternative fuels made from biomass are the only appropriate replacement for fossil fuels for such sectors as the airline industry.

The route to 100% sustainable energy is enormously challenging. The costs of biofuels need to come down substantially and permanently. This can be achieved through innovation, collaboration and the right legislation that stimulates biofuel in the airline industry, but with an eye on honest competition. We really need to move forward together to attain continuous access to sustainable fuel.

—managing director Camiel Eurlings

KLM has been committed to developing sustainable biofuel since 2007. Air France KLM is also an industry leader in the field of fuel efficiency. Air France KLM has been sector leader of de Dow Jones Sustainability Index for six successive years.


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