Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New consortium seeks to simplify biofuel certification standards

Boeing and a Swiss group on Mar. 22 launched the Sustainable Biomass Consortium, a research initiative seeking to help develop and simplify biofuel certification standards. The Swiss group, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) recently created the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels.

The consortium plans to use the roundtable’s sustainability standard to set regional benchmarks based on aviation biofuel projects. Various airlines already have tested biofuels. The consortium plans to work with groups implementing voluntary standards or regulatory requirements for biomass used in jet fuel.

Research projects will commence in April, and the anticipated work during the next 2 years will include projects in China, Africa, the European Union, Latin America, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region.

Billy Glover, vice-president of environmental and aviation policy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the aviation industry needs sustainable biofuel development.

“This consortium will help ensure we have a transparent way to collaborate among certification processes that guide us towards a more sustainable future,” Glover said.

Sustainable biofuel development is a key element of the aviation industry’s strategy to lower its carbon emissions, he added. Meanwhile, unrest in the Middle East has driven up jet fuel prices, emphasizing the importance of alternate fuel sources.

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