Wednesday, 21 March 2012

After automobiles, it is the turn of the aviation industry to look at biofuels for the future needs of aircraft. Biofuels bring down carbondioxide emissions by almost 50 per cent while giving as much as 15 per cent fuel efficiency compared with fossil fuels

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: After automobiles, it is the turn of the aviation
industry to look at biofuels for the future needs of aircraft.
Biofuels bring down carbondioxide emissions by almost 50 per cent
while giving as much as 15 per cent fuel efficiency compared with
fossil fuels.

The International Air Transport Association has emphasised the need
for use of biofuels in the aviation sector to protect the environment
and prevent global warming and climate change. The aviation industry
contributes two per cent of the world’s manmade carbondioxide
emission. The aviation sector can save up to 80 per cent on fuel costs
if it utilises the potential of biofuels to the fullest.

Jatropha, camelina and marine algae are the rich source of biofuels
and experiments have shown that use of biofuels will result in fuel
consumption in the biofuel engine as compared with the one running on
conventional jet fuel. The IATA, which is participating in the ongoing
India Aviation 2012, has outlined several steps to promote the
successful commercialization of sustainable biofuels.

“Alternative fuels, particularly sustainable biofuels, have been
identified as one of the key elements in helping achieve the goal
(reduction in CO2 emission). Biofuels derived from sustainable oil
crops such as jatropha, camelina and algae or from wood and waste
biomass can reduce the overall carbon footprint by around 80 per cent
over their full lifecycle,” says an IATA document on biofuels.

According to the IATA statement, biofuels test flights carried out by
seven airlines have proven biofuels work and can be mixed with
existing jet fuel. The industry is now working on finalising technical
certification so biofuels can be used for passenger flights.

The British Airways has taken a step ahead to produce fuel from
municipal solid waste. If everything goes on well, in the next couple
of years part of the British Airways fleet will fly on fuels obtained
from municipal sources. It plans to generate 16 million gallons of
green jet fuel every year from municipal waste. The carbondioxide
savings may touch as high as 95 per cent when compared with
traditional fuel.

The aviation industry spent 176 billion US dollars on fuel bill during
2011 and it is expected to increase to 201 billion US dollars. 

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