Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chinese Chip In With Biofuel Recipes for Freight and Passenger Planes

Boeing Partnership Cooking Up a Full Fat Diet for the Future
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – Passenger aircraft manufacturers, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and Boeing this week opened the Boeing-COMAC Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Centre, a collaborative effort to support commercial freight and passenger aviation industry growth. The two companies also announced that the Centre's first research project will explore opportunities to refine waste cooking oil into sustainable aviation biofuel by identifying contaminants in the oil create processes that may treat and clean it for use as jet fuel. Shi Jianzhong, vice president of COMAC said:

"Energy conservation and emission reduction has currently become the hotspot and focus of the global aviation sector, and our collaboration with Boeing in this regard will have profound impacts in China as well as the world. Meanwhile, we wish to construct the new centre as a demonstrative advanced technology centre and to make contributions to the development of the aviation industry in China and world with the concerted efforts of both sides.”

This latest development furthers the collaboration agreement announced in March between COMAC, which is building the new C919 jet and ARJ21 regional jet, and Boeing, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary of providing commercial aircraft and services to China's aviation industry. Funded by both companies, the Boeing-COMAC Technology Centre is working with China-based universities and research institutions to expand knowledge in areas such as sustainable aviation biofuels and air traffic management that improve commercial aviation's efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. It is located in COMAC's new Beijing Aeronautical Science and Technology Research Institute (BASTRI). Marc Allen, president of Boeing, China said:

"The new Boeing-COMAC Technology Centre reflects our companies' mutual commitment to make progress on industry challenges, such as the need to reduce carbon emissions. These industry issues cannot be solved by one company alone. What better way to address them than in partnership? Our work with COMAC continues what is now four decades of Boeing partnership with airlines, government agencies, suppliers and research institutions to support the development of China's aviation industry."

Waste cooking oil shows potential for sustainable aviation biofuel production and an alternative to petroleum-based fuel as China annually consumes approximately 29 million tons of cooking oil, while its aviation system uses 20 million tons of jet fuel. Finding ways to convert discarded oil into jet fuel could enhance regional biofuel supplies and improve its affordability. Dong Yang Wu, vice president of Boeing Research & Technology, China said that the company are excited about opportunities to partner with world-class research capabilities in China in ways that will accelerate the global push for renewable jet fuels and support commercial aviation's growth while reducing its environmental footprint. Qin Fuguang, President of BASTRI added:

"With the joint efforts of COMAC and Boeing, Boeing-COMAC Technology Centre will make continuous progress and breakthrough’s, not only in the area of aviation biofuel development, but also other technologies of carbon emission reduction.”

Photo: COMAC President He Dongfeng (left) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh signing the original collaboration agreement on behalf of the two companies on the 6thMarch 2012.