Airplane Manufacturers Join to Develop Sustainable Jet Fuels

Competitors Airbus, Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer, announced they will work together to develop affordable biofuels for the airplane industry.

In a joint statement, the airplane manufacturers say they will "speak in unity" to  promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable jet fuels. 

They plan to develop"drop-in" technologies that can be used throughout the aviation industry. 

Airbus and Boeing say they already have programs in place that are developing alternatives to kerosene, which is a major greenhouse gas gas. 

"We are all committed to take a leading role in the development of technology programs that will facilitate aviation biofuels development and actual application faster than if we were doing it independently," says Paulo Cesar Silva, Embraer CEO.

"We’ve achieved a lot in the last 10 years in reducing our industry’s CO2 footprint – 45% traffic growth with only 3% more fuel consumption," says Tom Enders, Airbus CEO.

QANTAS will fly the first commercial flight in Australia next month running on a vegetable cooking oil mixture in an Airbus plane. It will fly from Sydney to Adelaide.    

Airbus is working with Virgin Australia and Licella to produce fuel from farm waste and eucalyptus roots.

General Electric praised Australia’s government for passing a  carbon tax, saying the gutsy move would incentivize them to allocate more resources to biofuels.

Last November, the first US flights ran on a mix of biofuels and petroleum. In August, President Obama announced a $510 million public-private partnership to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels.

Airbus estimates airlines may derive 30% of their fuel from plant-derived sources by 2030. Higher fuel costs will push this much faster.

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