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Green Diesel Put Forward As Fuel Of The Future

18 January 2014

Proposals to power aircraft using a blend including "green diesel," a renewable fuel already used in ground transportation, have been forwarded to US regulators for joint development.

Researchers from Boeing have said that green diesel – made from oil and fats – is chemically similar to today's aviation biofuel, and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 percent. Boeing is working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders to gain approval for aircraft to use a composite blend of green diesel with conventional jet fuel.

"Green diesel approval would be a major breakthrough in the availability of competitively priced, sustainable aviation fuel," said Dr. James Kinder of Boeing Commercial Airplanes' Propulsion Systems Division. "We are collaborating with our industry partners and the aviation community to move this innovative solution forward and reduce the industry's reliance on fossil fuel."

Businesses in the US, Europe and Singapore already produce about 600 million gallons of green diesel each year, a quantity representative of around 1 percent of global commercial jet fuel demand.

Boeing, the FAA, engine manufacturers, green diesel producers, and others are preparing a detailed research report that will be submitted to key stakeholders in the fuel approvals process. Boeing began work with a number of industry players in 2011 to develop a blend of up to 50 percent aviation biofuel that can be used in current aircraft without the need for modifications.

The FAA seeks to develop a new unleaded fuel by 2018 to replace 100 octane low-lead fuel, widely used to power general aviation aircraft. In September 2014, the FAA is to begin testing alternative fuels put forward by the private sector.

TAGS: aviation

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