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Animal Fat in Airplanes: Could Biofuels Help Airlines’ Bottom Lines?

Submitted by on November 14, 2014 – 12:30 pmNo Comment

by Benét J. Wilson (  Right now, oil prices are down, but nobody expects them to stay there. That is why Airlines for America, the trade organization for the largest U.S. carriers, says its members are working to develop environmentally friendly fuels that could enhance the nation’s energy supply and reduce emissions.

Every $1 increase in a barrel of crude oil per year costs the airlines $415 million, so alternative fuels could become an alternative to petroleum-based fuels that would reduce price volatility for airlines and their customers, while bringing environmental benefit.
To that end, A4A, as the airline group is known, is a founding and principal member of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). This is a coalition of airlines, government, manufacturers, fuel suppliers, universities, airports and other stakeholders created to encourage the research, production and use of sustainable alternative aviation fuels.
CAAFI and its partners are currently studying three alternative fuels:
  • Fischer-Tropsch Fuels: The process converts a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide—derived from coal, methane or biomass—to liquid fuels, commonly known as Coal-to-Liquids;
  • Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) Fuels: These fuels are produced by refining natural plant oils or animal fats, that converts them from lipids to hydrocarbons through the addition of hydrogen. These hydrocarbons are processed to produce diesel, jet fuel and propane; and
  • Renewable Synthesized Iso-Paraffinic (SIP) Fuels: These fuels are produced from hydroprocessed fermented sugars. SIP fuel may be blended at up to 10 percent (by volume) with conventional jet fuel.

CAAFI says that environmentally friendly alternative jet fuel derived from several feedstocks will be available to airlines within the next two to five years.  READ MORE

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