Branson calls for 'brains trust' collaboration to achieve commercial scale-up of renewable jet fuels
Mon 18 Nov 2013 – The Carbon War Room, a global non-profit founded by Sir Richard Branson, is bringing together a ‘brains trust’ to collaborate in designing an innovative financial structure that would help the advanced renewable jet industry scale up commercial production. In a Request for Information (RFI), the Carbon War Room (CWR) is looking to set up a high-level advisory board on a volunteer basis, take on a small project team of paid financial consultants and seek potential partners from finance, fuel, NGOs and academic institutions. The CWR says that if novel financial instruments can be developed and deployed, enough renewable jet fuel added to the total jet fuel pool could eventually see a reduction in price volatility and eventually absolute prices.
“I am excited by the prospect of renewable fuels powering our airplanes and those of the entire aviation industry,” said Branson, who is also President of Virgin Atlantic Airways. “The Carbon War Room and partners plan to combine the knowledge and guidance of the world’s best and brightest minds from fuel and finance in ‘one room’ to attract the resources needed to transform this industry.
“Our goal must be to develop responsible renewable fuels and grow production from small batches to millions or even billions of barrels.”
Airline profits are even more susceptible to fuel price volatility than other transport sectors and airlines collectively spend hundreds of millions on hedging each year, says the CWR. The organisation is looking to develop with partners a financial structure that would provide an independent hedge against this volatility through scale-up of renewable jet fuels and co-products production.
It points out that it is not looking to duplicate any existing efforts, instead assisting projects already funded and underway that are based on proven technology rather than the exploration of new technical pathways.
The deadline to participate in the financial consultants project team is Monday, 2 December. Further details on the RFI are available by emailing CWR adviser Suzanne Hunt.