Norwegian airports operator to investigate viability of establishing a national aviation biofuel production sector
(photo: Gaute Bruvik/Avinor)
Mon 7 Nov 2011 – Avinor, which operates Norway’s airport and air navigation network, has initiated an investigation into whether the country should produce its own aviation biofuel supplies or rely on imported sources. It is currently in the process of obtaining tenders from Norwegian consultants to carry out the study, which will consider what it would take to establish commercially-viable biofuel production in the country and also consider which types of biofuels have the most positive impact from a climate and sustainability perspective. The study will be a cross-sector initiative with airlines and the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries (NHO Luftfart) represented on the study’s steering group.
“This is ground-breaking and very challenging work we are initiating, and it is developments in recent years that make it interesting to look into this,” said Avinor’s Director of Strategy, Jon Sjølander. “In technical terms, it is currently possible to mix 50% biofuel with jet fuel in jet engines. Challenges in the years ahead are related to production and distribution.
“If one is to start up one’s own production, for example at Oslo Gardermoen, it is a precondition that this is commercially viable. It is also decisive that the production does not have unintended negative consequences for the climate and the environment.”
Sjølander points out that airlines and the Federation have previously cooperated on a previous project that looked at the Norwegian aviation sector’s sustainability and social benefit.
A consultant is expected to be selected before the end of the month with the final report due to be presented by the turn of the year 2012/2013.
In neighbouring Sweden, a major study was completed in January 2010 that looked into the viability of developing a biorefinery at Stockholm Arlanda that would supply the airport with 50,000 tonnes of aviation biofuel per year, enough to make it truly carbon neutral claimed airport operator LFV (see story). Sites for two plants were identified, each with different production configurations and output capabilities.
No decision appears to have resulted from the study but last month Solena Group and airline SAS announced a partnership to develop a municipal waste-to-jet fuel plant at Arlanda, with the aim of establishing similar projects in Norway and Denmark. Solena also has projects with British Airways and Qantas.