Initial flight tests have found that jet fuel partly made from camelina, algae or other biological feed stocks can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes by more than 50%, doesn’t affect performance and presents no technical or safety problems, a top Boeing official said on May 28.
“It meets all jet fuel requirements and then some,” said Billy Glover, who heads Boeing’s environmental strategy group.
Glover said a full report on the test flights would be released next month and aviation biofuel could be approved for use as early as next year. Despite its promise, however, Glover said the real problem is how quickly growers can start producing, and refiners processing, enough biofuel to make it an alternative to the Jet A used today.
Aircraft account for about 3% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Boeing doesn’t expect much growth in aircraft carbon dioxide emissions, despite some estimates that they could triple by 2050.
Boeing’s test flights reached a total of less than six hours, but Glover said the biofuels have been thoroughly tested in the laboratory. The Air Force and Boeing competitor Airbus also have been working to develop aviation biofuel.