Airbus and Air Canada sign research agreement to develop advanced aviation biofuels solutions in Canada
(L-R) Don Smith, Frédéric Eychenne and Paul Whitty shake hands after the signing of the research agreement
Mon 20 May 2013 – Airbus and Air Canada have signed an agreement with BioFuelNet, a not-for-profit biofuels research organisation hosted by Montreal’s McGill University. BioFuelNet will assess the viability of various Canadian advanced biofuels solutions for aviation with the long-term goal to supply Air Canada with sustainable alternative jet fuel. The research will focus on diverse raw materials such as municipal solid waste and agriculture and forestry waste, as well as a range of conversion processes available for biofuel production, to determine which advanced biofuels are the most sustainable for aviation. BioFuelNet, which brings together 74 leading researchers, was launched in 2012 as part of the Canadian Federal Networks of Centres of Excellence programme and is funded through a C$25 million grant over five years.
“Aviation biofuels are one of the most promising ways to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint, making air travel more environmentally friendly,” said Dr Donald Smith, President of BioFuelNet and McGill University Professor. “Airbus and Air Canada are key players in the field, dedicated to finding the most sustainable fuel sources for the future of air travel.”
Announced at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment Workshop last week and signed at BioFuelNet’s headquarters in Montreal’s Quartier de l’innovation, the first assessment of the project is expected by the end of this year.
Frédéric Eychenne, Airbus New Energies Programme Manager, said: “Airbus supports this project to ensure that the solutions are sustainable, affordable and technically suitable for all aircraft.”
Airbus and Air Canada worked together in June 2012 to perform North America’s first ‘perfect flight’ over international borders. The commercial flight from Toronto to Mexico City combined sustainable alternative fuels, modern aircraft technology, streamlined air traffic management and best practice operations such as single-engine taxiing (see article).
“Air Canada has already operated two flights with biofuel and on each occasion we substantially reduced our emissions,” commented Paul Whitty, Director of Fuel Purchasing and Supply at Air Canada and Chair of the Air Canada Alternative Fuels Working Group. “We look forward to participating in this project to encourage the development of a source of alternative fuel in Canada.”