Brazilian industry and airlines form alliance to develop sustainable aviation biofuels
Azul is planning a sugarcane-derived biofuel flight in 2012 on an Embraer 190 (photo: Embraer)
Thu 20 May 2010 – Following a recent meeting in Sao Paulo, ten organizations have agreed to form the Brazilian Alliance for Aviation Biofuels (Aliança Brasileira para Biocombustíveis de Aviação – ABRABA). They include four airlines – Azul Brazilian Airlines, GOL, TAM and TRIP – as well as aircraft manufacturer Embraer and the Brazilian Aerospace Industry Association (AIAB). Representing the biofuels industry are producers and developers of biomass sources such as jatropha, sugarcane and algae.
The alliance follows an announcement by TAM that the airline will carry out Latin America’s first commercial aircraft biofuel flight during the second half of 2010 using a 50/50 blend of jatropha and conventional jet fuel (see story).
The biofuels industry partners in the alliance include Algae Biotechnology, Amyris Brazil, the Brazilian Association of Jatropha Producers (Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Pinhão Manso – ABPPM) and the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (União da Indústria da Cana-de-Açúcar – UNICA). ABRABA said it expected other organizations will eventually join the group and contribute to the project.
The objective of the alliance is to promote public and private initiatives that seek to develop and certify sustainable biofuels for aviation. The goal, expects ABRABA, will be achieved through dialogues with those who form public policies, as well as opinion makers, in order to obtain biofuels that are as safe and cost efficient as petroleum derivatives.
“The use of sustainable biofuels produced from biomass is essential for maintaining the growth of the aviation industry in an economy of low carbon emissions,” ABRABA said in a press statement. “Brazil’s recognized capability for developing alternative energy sources, allied with its knowledge of aeronautical technology, will result in significant gains for the environment, while minimizing the impact on economic development.”
Speaking at last week’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Colloquium on Aviation and Climate Change, Brazil’s representative on the ICAO Council, Ambassador Raymundo Santos Rocha Magno, said his country had already gained a lot of experience in alternative fuels and they were an important means of reducing aviation emissions.
At the same event, Guilherme Freire, Director of Environment at Embraer, revealed that Azul was planning a demonstration flight in the first half of 2012 using a 50% blend of sugarcane-derived biojet fuel on a GE CF34-10E-powered Embraer 190 aircraft. Freire said this would be the first time a biojet fuel produced from a fermentation process was used on a commercial airliner flight.
He said the aviation industry was fully engaged in fostering the commercial development of alternative fuels but support was needed from governments to instigate public initiatives to foster research and development synergies towards accelerating the scaleable introduction of the fuels.