Aircraft manufacturers accelerate biofuel commercialization


March 22, 2012

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh, Embraer Commercial Aviation President Paulo Cesar Silva and Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders, shake hands on the aviation biofuel MoU

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh, Embraer Commercial Aviation President Paulo Cesar Silva and Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders, shake hands on the aviation biofuel MoU

Three of the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturers have set aside their differences in an effort to accelerate the development of biofuel for commercial aviation. In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this week, Boeing, Airbus and Embraer say they have agreed to work together on the development of drop-in, affordable aviation biofuels that will help the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint.

The agreement will see the three companies using their combined might to attempt to influence governments and lawmakers, biofuel producers, and airlines in an effort to “support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources.”

Along with improvements in aircraft deign, engine efficiency and air traffic management, the companies see biofuels as a necessary component of the aviation industry’s efforts to meet self-imposed CO2 reduction targets, which aim for neutral growth from 2020, and a 50% net reduction in CO2 emissions based on 2005 levels by 2050.

“The production and use of sustainable quantities of aviation biofuels is key to meeting our industry's ambitious CO2 reduction targets,” said Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. “We are helping to do this through R+T (research & technology), our expanding network of worldwide value chains and supporting the EU commission towards its target of four per cent of biofuel for aviation by 2020."

Boeing, Airbus and Embraer have all conducted biofuel flights and say that by working together they will be able to speed aviation biofuel development and application of the technology faster than would be possible by acting independently.

Source: Boeing

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Big news ! At last ! What about Bombardier, the russian and the chinese aircrafters ?




The whole carbon footprint thing is part of a proven fraud. While I support waste stream based bio-fuel, crop based bio-fuel is a real stupid idea. You can create high quality room temperature liquid fuel with the right catalysts, electricity, water, and air.


Biofuel is an environmental disaster. It survives through subsidies: each barrel of biofuel costs almost a full barrel of fuel to create. Worse still, it commandeers premium agricultural land mass - typically rainforest or valuable food crop land. Biofuel is a green-washing scam - as elites who all have more than enough to eat we get to feel good about 'reducing our carbon footprint' when in fact we are doing quite the reverse.

Russ Pinney

Anyone is thinking in the future Price of food and the consequences?


One would expect people to be smarter than this.

There may be a future for biofuels, but right now with the use of food crops for the purpose, all that happens is that the price of grains, sugar, starch etc escalates greatly (wonderful for the farmers and traders of course) but more people now have to live on less food.

The only thing worse than the 'political programming' to which we are all subjected, is that 'big business' follows along with the latest 'fads and absolutely impractical rorts' out of political correctness.

You'd think that somewhere amongst them would be a great leader who'd step up and state the obvious:

"This is silly, impractical, and a waste of everyone’s time and money".

Mark Eastaugh

OK so many of the first generation biofuels used - or displaced food crops - but that doesn't mean they have to. For example, there are biofuel technologies starting with anything from forestry waste and CO2 from steel production to algae that can be grown in sewage oxidation ponds. Even if you don't like accepting that global warming is real, it imust be hard to avoid the fact that ripping off the world's diminishing supply of fossil fuels at the current rate is unsustaianble.

Lindsey Roke

Biofuel can be manufactured using wood biproducts; why do we persist in using food as a source and then subsidizing the production because it is highly inefficient? The answer is that most people are just like cattle or sheep, happily grazing until the day that they take you to the slaughterhouse and end your miserable existence. We have so much oil available, and this carbon demon is pure hype, yet we continue to be spoon fed this theory that the world is coming to an end unless we diminish our carbon footprint. It's just so ludicrous and laughable that it's hard to believe the number of fools who believe in it.


For the uninformed, aircraft biofuel is unlikely to come from food sources like the ethanol fuel being made from corn, the current research is using jatropha oil and camelina plants, which have less arable land impact.

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