Qantas announced that its Los-Angeles-based aircraft will be powered by biofuel from 2020. Over the next ten years, the airline will purchase eight million gallons (30 million liters) of renewable jet fuel each year from US-based bio-energy company, SG Preston. The fuel will be used by Qantas’ aircraft operating from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to Australia and follows the Qantas Group’s successful domestic biofuel trial flights in 2012.
The fuel consists of 50% renewable jet fuel produced from non-food plant oils, blended with 50% traditional jet fuel. Compared to standard jet fuel, the biofuel emits half the amount of carbon emissions per gallon over its life cycle.
CEO of Qantas International and Freight, Gareth Evans said the commercial biofuel agreement is the first of its kind in Australian aviation history.
The partnership with SG Preston is part of our commitment to lowering carbon emissions across our operations and sees us becoming the first Australian airline to use renewable jet fuel on an ongoing basis. As an airline group we are constantly looking for ways to become more fuel efficient and embrace new technologies and this partnership is a significant step on that journey.
Our agreement with SG Preston allows us to secure a supply for our Los Angeles based aircraft where we have a large fuel demand and where the biofuel industry is more advanced. Through our biofuel program we are also exploring renewable jet fuel opportunities in Australia and continue to work with suppliers to develop locally produced biofuels for aviation use.—Gareth Evans
Director of Environment for IATA, Michael Gill applauded Qantas and SG Preston on the new deal.
In 2012 Qantas and Jetstar operated Australia’s first biofuel trial flights. Qantas’ A330 Sydney-Adelaide return service and Jetstar’s A320 Melbourne-Hobart return service were both powered with biofuel derived from used cooking oil (split with 50:50 convential jet fuel) certified for use in commercial aviation
SG Preston’s biofuel is produced from renewable plant oils, which do not compete with food production and which meet Qantas’ stringent sustainability certification requirements.
In September 2016, JetBlue announced a ten-year renewable jet fuel purchase agreement with SG Preston. (Earlier post.) This marked the largest, long-term, binding commitment by any airline globally for HEFA (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) SPK (synthetic paraffinic kerosene)-based renewable jet fuel to date.