Boeing is partnering with Australia’s CSIRO to undertake a comprehensive study to evaluate the potential for growing new feedstocks in northern Australia and turning them into sustainable aviation biofuels.
The Sustainable Feedstocks for Aviation Fuels program builds on the recommendations of the Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation roadmap, released in May 2011, and continues the strong research relationship developed between Boeing and CSIRO over more than 20 years.
Aviation fuels made from biomass have been certified and are being used on commercial and military aircraft, so the challenge now is to find the right way to scale up feedstock production so these new fuels are both environmentally and economically sustainable.—Michael Edwards, general manager of Boeing Research & Technology-Australia
The program is being led by CSIRO’s Deborah O’Connell, PhD, an internationally-recognized expert in bioenergy and sustainability.
The Sustainable Feedstocks for Aviation Fuels program will identify and trial new fuel sources that are compatible with existing land uses with the ultimate goal of developing commercially-viable feedstock to fuel supply chains this decade.—Deborah O’Connell
The first phase of the Sustainable Feedstocks for Aviation Fuels program will concentrate on three key elements over the next 12 months, including:
Assessment of current and new biomass production systems based on feedstocks such as grasses and short rotation trees in combination with grazing or cropping in regional Queensland;
Assessment of potential fuel conversion technology to convert these feedstocks into jet fuels; and
Assessment of appropriate production systems and technology types that will match with local infrastructure.
Over the longer term, Boeing and CSIRO hopes to attract further investment and partnerships to develop and commercialize the most prospective options, as well as to test and implement sustainability assessment methods and schemes.
The Sustainable Feedstocks for Aviation Fuels program in Australia continues Boeing’s role in the development and commercial deployment of sustainable aviation fuels around the world. Since January 2010, Boeing has entered into sustainable aviation fuel research agreements with airlines, academic institutions and industry partners in Australia, the Middle East, China, Mexico, United States and Brazil, said Edwards.
Boeing Australia represents the company’s largest operational footprint outside of the USA, with almost 3,000 employees working at 28 locations. Business units represented in Australia include Boeing Defense, Boeing Aerostructures, Jeppesen, Boeing Training & Flight Services, Aviall, Boeing Research & Technology, Insitu Pacific and Boeing Australia Component Repairs.