Boeing, Airbus and Embraer to work together on biofuels

Credit: EXM Company, H Gousse.

Aircraft manufacturers Boeing, Airbus and Embraer yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop drop-in affordable biofuels.

Boeing and Embraer are already collaborating on the establishment of a sustainable aviation biofuels industry in Brazil and looking at new ways of broadening the sourcing of feedstock.

While all three manufacturers have supported biofuel flights since the global fuel standards bodies approved their use for commercial flights in 2011, the collaboration marks a new phase in development efforts.

“There are times to compete and there are times to cooperate,” says Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. “By working with Airbus and Embraer on sustainable biofuels we can accelerate their availability and reduce our industry’s impacts on the planet.”

President and CEO of Airbus, Tom Enders, echoed these sentiments adding that the development and use of biofuels is key to realising the industry’s CO2 reduction targets and supporting EU targets of 4% aviation biofuel use by 2020.

“Having these three aviation leaders set aside their competitive differences and work together in support of biofuel development underscores the importance and focus the industry is placing on sustainable practices,” says Paul Steele, executive director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).

But despite protestations that the aviation industry takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, Airbus has joined in Boeing’s criticism of the EU’s inclusion of airlines in its Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Airbus warned earlier this month that China had frozen an order for ten planes because of the policy and both airline manufacturers advocate a move to a global emission reduction scheme through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

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Related stories:
Low-carbon jet fuel producer LanzaTech raises $55.8 million in series C funding (31-Jan)
Lufthansa ends biofuel trial with flight to US (12-Jan)
Thai Airways to make first biofuel-powered passenger flight (21-Dec 2011)
Boeing and Hawai’i BioEnergy to work together on aviation biofuel (15-Nov 2011)

23 March 2012