Renewable Jet Fuels From Sugarcane?
Boeing, Embraer and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will jointly fund a sustainability analysis of producing renewable jet fuel sourced from Brazilian sugarcane. The groundbreaking study will evaluate environmental and market conditions associated with the use of renewable jet fuel produced by Amyris, and World Wildlife Fund will serve as an independent reviewer and advisor.
“Emerging renewable jet fuel technologies have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, as sugarcane ethanol in Brazil has already proven,” said Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho, leader of the IDB Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Initiative. “This study will examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of alternative jet fuels made from sugarcane.” Last month, the IDB announced a regional cooperation grant to help public and private institutions develop a sustainable biojet fuels industry. The Amyris study is the first to be financed under that grant.
The study will be led by ICONE, a research think-tank in Brazil with extensive experience in agriculture and biofuels analysis, and independently reviewed by WWF. Scheduled for completion in early 2012, the study will include a complete lifecycle analysis of the emissions associated with Amyris’s renewable jet fuel, including indirect land use change and effects. In addition, the study will include benchmarking of cane-derived renewable jet fuel against major sustainability standards, including the Bonsucro, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and the IDB Biofuel Scorecard.
“Collaborative research into the cane-to-jet pathway is important for diversifying aviation’s fuel supplies, and also builds on the strong renewable energy cooperation established between the Unites States and Brazil,” said Boeing Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy Billy Glover. “With aviation biofuel now approved for use in commercial jetliners, understanding and ensuring the sustainability of sources that can feed into region supply chains is critical and Brazil has a strong role to play there. This project also expands upon existing collaboration between Amyris, the State Government of Queensland, and Boeing.”
“Last month, ASTM International created a task force to establish product specifications for direct sugar-to-hydrocarbon renewable jet fuels, such as that being developed by Amyris. We are committed not only to delivering on the technical specifications for our jet fuel but also to ensuring that our renewable products are produced sustainably,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “Our planet derives no benefit from a fuel that merely replaces current fossil fuels. This study will help us replace fossil fuels with a renewable jet fuel that surpasses both technical and sustainability criteria.”
“Participation in this important study is one more step for Embraer to support the development of sustainable biofuels for aviation,” said Guilherme de Almeida Freire, Embraer Director, Environmental Strategy and Technology. “Brazil is a rich source of biomass, and the maturation of this technology, based on sugarcane, reinforces the importance that the Nation gives to the sustainable growth of aviation.”
“Climate change is threatening biodiversity and the critical habitats of some the world’s most iconic species,” said Kevin Ogorzalek, Program Officer at World Wildlife Fund. “As renewable jet fuel production increases, it must be done in a transparent and sustainable way. We’re eager to contribute to this study as one part of a growing international effort to reduce the fast-growing emissions from aviation and protect the critical resources on which we all depend.”