Pioneering Environmental Technologies
Photo: Boeing Photo
Boeing is sharing sustainable biofuel research and solutions throughout the industry.
As a company, we are focused on sustainable biofuels produced from algae and other renewable resources that do not compete with food crops for land or water. Sustainable biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions over their life cycle while offering the potential to lessen aviation's dependence on fossil fuels.
In 2008, Boeing and industry collaborators conducted the first commercial aviation flight using a blend of biofuel mixed with traditional kerosene-based fuel. Subsequent demonstration flights have used a variety of sustainable biological sources, including jatropha, camelina and algae. All flights were conducted on Boeing airplanes with no modifications to the aircraft or engines.
In June 2009, Boeing and an industry team released a research study on sustainable biofuels. Based on laboratory, ground and flight tests, this study proved that biofuels performed as well as or better than typical petroleum-based jet fuel. Our tests included using blends of up to 50 percent petroleum-based jet fuel and 50 percent sustainable biofuels in several commercial airplane engine types. These tests demonstrated that biofuel blends meet or exceed all technical parameters for commercial jet aviation fuel, including freezing point, flash point, fuel density and viscosity.
Photo: Boeing Photo
In late 2009, the U.S. Navy conducted the military's first ground-based biofuels test of an F/A-18 engine. The U.S. Air Force began a series of biofuel test flights in March 2010, and on Earth Day, the Navy flew a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet powered by sustainable biofuels. In the coming year, we anticipate that U.S. and international government customers will test sustainable biofuels on other Boeing products including the C-17 Globemaster and the F-15 Eagle.
To promote the development of sustainable biofuels, Boeing is a founding member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group devoted to reducing greenhouse gases emissions from commercial aviation. We also participate in the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, a broad-based industry coalition that addresses fuel alternatives in commercial, noncommercial and military aviation. Boeing sponsors and serves on the board of the Algal Biomass Organization, focused on creating commercial markets for algae-based fuels and greenhouse gas abatement. We also are a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, an international initiative bringing together industry, investors, environmental organizations and producers of biofuel feedstocks.
We are investing in biofuel research around the world. To date, Boeing has helped establish research programs at universities and institutions in the United States, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, India and China. These include prestigious institutions such as Yale University, the University of Queensland in Australia, the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, India's Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Boeing also works with leading experts at other companies, including GE, Honeywell's UOP, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce, to conduct laboratory research and engine tests with sustainable biofuels. The U.S. Air Force Research Lab is a valued collaborator in these efforts.
This ongoing research, combined with flight tests, is supporting international certification of sustainable biofuels for flight. By late this year or early 2011, we anticipate ASTM International, a recognized standards body, will approve the use of sustainable biofuels for regularly scheduled commercial flights.