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Thai Airways carries out Asia's first commercial passenger biofuel flight and rounds off successful year for SkyNRG

Thai Airways carries out Asia's first commercial passenger biofuel flight and rounds off successful year for SkyNRG | Thai Airways,SkyNRG

Passengers board today's Thai Airways Boeing 777 biofuel flight

Wed 21 Dec 2011 – Thai Airways today carried out Asia’s first passenger flight to be powered using sustainable jet fuel, which was supplied by Dutch supplier SkyNRG. A special flight of a Boeing 777 from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport carried VIPs, representatives from companies involved in the project such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce, and around 100 students and teaching staff. The aircraft was powered in both engines by a 50/50 blend of used cooking oil sourced from the United States and conventional jet kerosene. Tomorrow, a scheduled passenger flight between Bangkok and Chiang Mai will use the same biofuel blend. The flights cap a high-profile year for Amsterdam-based SkyNRG, with THAI becoming its tenth contracted customer worldwide and follows similar flights by KLM, Finnair, Thomson Airways, Air France and Alaska Airlines.


SkyNRG and THAI have also signed a long-term commitment to actively participate in creating a market for affordable sustainable jet fuel.


“THAI believes sustainable jet fuel will play an important role in the transition to a sustainable future for aviation and is willing do its part,” commented the airline’s President, Piyasvasti Amranand. “We intend to make sustainable jet fuel an integral part of our strategy. We support the SkyNRG ‘market making’ business model of demand aggregation. Structural demand for sustainable jet fuel will translate into stakeholder engagement and lower prices in the near future.”


Commented Dirk Kronemeijer, SkyNRG’s Managing Director: “We think the Asia Pacific continent has great potential to give a critical boost towards making the market for sustainable jet fuel that is affordable. THAI has made a fantastic step today but there is a lot more to come on this continent and we are determined to be there when that happens.”


SkyNRG, founded by Air France-KLM, North Sea Group and Spring Associates, was launched two years ago following a KLM biofuel test flight. It is advised by an independent sustainability board that includes WWF-NL, Solidaridad and the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University, and applies principles laid down by the internationally-recognised Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG).




Thai Airways




Photos from today’s biofuel flight (all photos courtesy: Thai Airways):







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Member Opinions:
By: fatalgae on 12/22/11
Billy Glover needs to be educated - financiers want results, not long-term bs. Didn't Boeing receive grants from the US government and then went to China for biofuels?

Aviation Calls For Government Backing To Boost Biofuels
By Graham Warwick
The U.S. aviation industry is pressing Congress to extend funding for goverment programs providing support to start up commercial-scale production of renewable biofuels.
With private investment still hard to find, U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) programs established under the 2008 Farm Bill are playing a key role in providing funding to scale up feedstock production and build the initial biorefineries.

Work on the 2012 Farm Bill is getting under way, and witnesses at a July 28 hearing of the Senate aviation operations, safety and security subcommittee called for USDA biomass and biorefinery assistance programs to be continued, along with biofuel tax credits and research funding.
AltAir Fuels, which is producing hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuel from camelina oil, has secured USDA biomass crop assistance program (BCAP) support for farmers in California, Montana and Washington state to plant more than 50,000 acres of the oilseed crop camelina.
Farmers who participate in the program will be eligible for reimbursement of most of the cost of their camelina acreage for up to five years. “BCAP allows farmers to run for a couple of years to get comfortable with the new crop,” Tom Todaro, AltAir CEO, told senators. “It is a bridging ability to defer the risk, and is critical to farmer adoption.”

Sapphire Energy has received $54.5 million in loan guarantees from the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program to build a plant to turn algal oil into jet fuel. Biodiesel producer Imperium Renewables has applied for USDA loan guarantees for a $250 million project to build a plant in the Pacific Northwest capable of producing 80 million gal. of HRJ a year from vegetable oils by 2014.
Another 10 applications totaling $1 billion, and including jet-fuel projects, are competing for the $463 million in BAP funds remaining under the 2008 Farm Bill, said Judy Canales, administrator for rural business and cooperation programs at the USDA. With dozens of biofuel projects waiting in the wings, “government assistance is essential,” she said.
Imperium founder and CEO John Plaza appealed to Congress to extend the Pentagon’s ability to sign long-term fuel contracts to 10 or 15 years from the current five. To raise private financing to build the plant, “we need long-term contract commitments,” he said, describing the U.S. Defense Department as “the most important market” to get commercial production started.

“We need legislation to allow the Defense Department to enter long-term contracts for fuels to attract investment,” said Billy Glover, Boeing managing director for environmental strategy. “Financiers are looking for a commitment of at least 10 years by a party with a AAA credit rating as a prerequisite for underwriting.”

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