The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), an international body that sets global standards, will vote this summer on a new certification that will govern the development of bifoeul for use in passenger airlines.
A combination of global political unrest in petroleum producing countries and natural disasters like the Japan earthquake and tsunami have created a sharp rise in the cost of jet fuel. Fuel has risen nearly 50% from last year; a cost that is typically passed on the airline passenger.
As a result, the case for using biofuels has grown and with that comes the demand for new products and innovation.
Ethanol which can be used in automobiles has too low an ‘energy density’ to work in jets, but oils extracted from plants, animal fats and grease have proven to be successful in rounds of testing.
If the society votes to create certification for the sector, bio-refineries will start to produce the volume of fuel needed to satisfy the demand for supply. One potential customer is the US Navy.
Speaking at the Biotechnology World Congress in Toronto last week, the director of operational energy for the Navy reiterated plans for its “Great Green Fleet” of alternative energy ships and aircraft with a plan to order 168,000 gallons of renewable jet fuel in 2012 and ten times as much for 2016.
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