Airbus and Sinopec agree to partner on supporting alternative fuels development and standards in China
Mon 1 Oct 2012 – Airbus and Chinese fuel producer China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec, are to collaborate in developing sustainable alternative aviation fuels for the Chinese domestic airline market and assist in establishing certification standards for fuels made from locally grown feedstocks. Airbus said it was supporting the standards process in China with the technical expertise gained from its experience with EU and US fuels standards bodies and also would help in the selection of sustainable feedstocks. Following laboratory research it has been carrying out since 2009, Sinopec announced in March that it had successfully produced 70 tonnes of its jet biofuel over the previous three months at its Hangzhou refinery near Shanghai, made from a variety of animal fat and vegetable oils using Sinopec’s hydrogenation technology, catalyst system and production procedures. It said the plant was capable of supplying 6,000 tonnes annually after key breakthroughs it had achieved.
Sinopec, which claims to be China’s largest refiner and the second largest in the world, supplies 73% of China’s overall domestic jet fuel production. It claims the Hangzhou refinery is one of the few in the world that has the capability to produce aviation fuel from biomass in large-scale commercial quantities.
The company has said it was actively seeking new raw materials to produce aviation biofuel, including waste cooking oil and seaweed.
“Sinopec has developed its own technology for producing aviation fuel from biomass and waste oil and has already produced aviation fuel meeting international standards,” said Sinopec SVP Dai Houliang. “It is assisting CAAC in the airworthiness certification process and is proud to be collaborating with Airbus and other partners in the push for alternative fuels.”
Airbus, which already supports ventures in Australia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, said the two partners would be establishing a sustainable alternative fuel value chain in China to help speed up commercialisation using domestic resources and refining capabilities.