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IATA’s Call for More Production and Use of Biofuels

December 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Algae, Algae-Aviation-Fuel, Algae-Fuel-Research

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is pushing for more production and use of sustainable biofuels. Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director-General and Chief Executive Officer opines that sustainable biofuels are important in achieving the climate change targets and some airlines are already trying them in commercial flights.

Virgin Galactic was the first airline to fly with 20% biofuel in its Boeing 747-400, which flew from London to Amsterdam in February 2008. In November 2011, United Continental used 60% jet fuel and 40% algae-based biofuel in its aircraft that flew between Houston and Chicago.

According to Tyler, biofuels are currently too expensive to produce and too scarce to be commercially viable. To overcome these obstacles, governments should encourage research on new energy sources and refining processes. Tyler is also in praise for algae-based biofuels that algae are emerging as the most promising feedstock for producing biofuels. Algae can be cultivated in any water and their CO2 requirements make them ideal for CO2 capture. Other advantages are the speed at which the algae grow and the amount of biofuel that can be produced from algae than other oil crops grown in the same area.

The Malaysian government has approved grants for research into algae-based aviation fuel. The Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre will spearhead the research efforts on algae-based aviation fuels.  Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) will be the key research organization in these efforts. EADS, the producer of Airbus aircraft, and aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls Royce will also be a part of the research.

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