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3 March 2016

One step closer to bio jet fuel

In order to become greener the airline industry needs to replace fossil fuels with bio jet fuel. The problem is that there aren't any dedicated production plants yet, which is one of the reasons that production of bio jet fuel is currently much more expensive than producing fossil fuels. But the Dutch bio jet fuel company, SkyNRG, is about to change that. In a recent tecno-economic study, the company, compares advantages and disadvantages of various different manufacturing techniques and raw materials. The goal is to find the best production methods to support the establishment of local supply chains of bio jet fuel from renewable biological raw materials around the world.

GREENHOUSE EFFECT HIGHER FLIGHT

According to Wikipedia, the airline industry is responsible for about 2% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Now, 2% doesn’t sound all that bad, but the aircrafts also emit a large proportion of nitrogen oxides, which at high altitude ends up forming ozone. And since ozone is a very potent greenhouse gas, experts estimate that the total greenhouse effect of aviation emissions is in reality equivalent to more than twice the carbon dioxide emissions on the ground. So a flight between Los Angeles and New York (4500 km) emits 715 kg carbon dioxide / person, but is actually equivalent to 1917 kg carbon dioxide emissions on the ground. About the same amount of Carbon dioxide as you would emit if you drove that distance four times in the newest Volvo V70.

LOCAL SUPPLY CHAINS

Today, the carbon dioxide that is released from the aircraft is 100% fossil, which means that it adds new carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. But SkyNRG is working on developing manufacturing methods and supply chains of jet fuel from renewable biological raw materials around the world.

THOROUGH ANALYSIS

In their analysis SkyNRG compares six different manufacturing techniques and a variety of raw materials. Naturally, different materials have different advantages and disadvantages, just as different manufacturing methods require investments of different sizes. Some types of raw materials can only befound only in certain parts of the world. Some production equipment is expensive to develop, but cheaper in the long run, while others may be cheaper to develop, but result in lower production volumes.

THE MOST PROMISING APPROCHES

The feedstocks that can be used are for example forest waste and black liquor, as well as wheat-straw, beet, molasses and used cooking oil. At the moment there are no feedstocks within reasonable prices and in sufficient volumes. The possible manufacturing methods are for example gasification, pyrolysis, catalytic hydrolysis (HTL) and hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA). The methods most promising approaches are the HTL and HEFA, according Sierk de Jong, business developer at SkyNRG.

– We want to further research how to optimize local supply chains around the HTL production. HTL is good because it can be used for feedstocks with up tofor the functioning of commodity flows that are up to 80 percent moisture content, Sierk says de Jong.

If you are interested in reading the full analysis, you will find it here…

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