Federal Government Seeking Partner to Look at Way to Create Domestic Jet Biofuel Industry
by Maura Forrest (National Post) The federal government is looking at the potential of producing jet biofuels, in light of an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry.
Natural Resources Canada is looking for a company to design a “roadmap” for the development of a domestic aviation biofuel industry, according to a procurement document recently posted online.
“The potential for Canada is not only in production of a cleaner biojet fuels (sic) but also in the development of new technologies than (sic) can be exported,” it reads.
The document notes that Canada imports 40 per cent of its jet fuel consumption.
Biofuels are about the only way to meet that target, says Geoffrey Tauvette, director of fuel and environment at WestJet, since there are no electric planes on the way anytime soon. “I think it’s great that (the government has) heard our message that for aviation, we really have no other choice,” he said.
The federal government seems keen on the possibility of producing biofuel from forestry scraps, including branches and bark.
Some airlines are beginning to mix biojet into their fuel, he said, but only in small quantities. “I think that’s a kind of way to show everybody it’s safe,” he said. Other airlines, including Air Canada, have only conducted flight tests using biofuel.
But airlines looking to use renewable fuel face a number of hurdles, including limited supply. The fuel is expensive relative to conventional jet fuel, Saddler said. “We live in a good old capitalist society, so there’s not really the economic benefit to do it right now.”
Saddler said a domestic jet biofuel industry would likely require government subsidy.
Saddler said he hopes the government will approach his research team at the University of British Columbia, which has been studying aviation biofuel for years. READ MORE