WestJet Exploring Development Of Aviation Biofuel From Wood Waste

WestJet Airlines Ltd is hoping its new partnership with a central Alberta research center will lead to the development of an environmentally friendly biofuel that will help the carrier reduce its carbon footprint. The Calgary-based airline is working with the Clean Energy Technology Centre in Drayton Valley to explore the feasibility of using organic material […]

WestJet Airlines Ltd is hoping its new partnership with a central Alberta research center will lead to the development of an environmentally friendly biofuel that will help the carrier reduce its carbon footprint.

The Calgary-based airline is working with the Clean Energy Technology Centre in Drayton Valley to explore the feasibility of using organic material — such as wood waste — as a feedstock in jet fuel production. If the results of the initial study are positive, WestJet hopes that one day there could be an aviation biofuels production facility right here in Alberta.

“We’d be a very interested end user,” said Geoffrey Tauvette, WestJet’s director of environment and fuel. “Biofuels represent for aviation the best opportunity to further reduce our emissions.”

Aviation currently accounts for two percent of global carbon emissions. The industry has stated its goal is to reach “carbon neutral” growth by 2020 and a 50 percent decrease in carbon emissions by 2050. Biofuels are seen by many as the industry’s best chance of reaching that goal, because — unlike other sources of power like solar or electric — they can use the same supply infrastructure as conventional jet fuel and do not require the adaptation of aircraft or engines.

In 2011, regulators approved the use of biofuels on commercial flights and that same year KLM flew the world’s first commercial biofuel flight — using used cooking oil — to fly 171 passengers from Amsterdam to Paris. Since then, 22 airlines around the world have performed over 2,000 commercial passenger flights with blends of up to 50 percent biofuel, using everything from algae to sugarcane as feedstock.

From the Calgary Herald: http://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/westjet-exploring-development-of-sustainable-aviation-biofuel

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