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New milestones move aviation biofuels forward

Posted by suzanne at Mar 11, 2013 10:55 AM |

On Thursday, SkyNRG announced that they have become the first aviation biofuel provider worldwide to certify their entire supply chain, from “feedstock to flight,” as sustainable. Last Friday, a KLM commercial flight using SkyNRG-sourced biofuel travelled from Amsterdam to New York.

New milestones move aviation biofuels forward

Paul Andersson, Sustainable Aviation Fuels Program Assoicate

By Paul Andersson
Climate Solutions

SkyNRG, the global market maker in sustainable jet fuel, announced two breakthroughs last week that are sustainably fueling the future of aviation. On Thursday, SkyNRG announced that they have become the first aviation biofuel provider worldwide to certify their entire supply chain, from “feedstock to flight,” as sustainable. 

RSBSkyNRG’s supply chain is now certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), which is the world’s leading standard, ensuring that biofuels deliver on their promise of social and environmental sustainability. SkyNRG is currently the only fuel provider that has been certified by RSB for renewable jet fuel production across its supply chain. Climate Solutions is proud to work closely with both SkyNRG and RSB in efforts to drive commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels markets around the world.

In addition, a KLM commercial flight using SkyNRG-sourced biofuel travelled from Amsterdam to New York last Friday, inaugurating the first-ever series of intercontinental flights flown with sustainable biofuels.  This effort is the result of a joint venture between KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Delta Airlines, and the Schiphol and JFK airports. Flight KL642, flying a Boeing 777-200 between Amsterdam and New York every Thursday for the next six months, will use a blended fuel incorporating the RSB-certified used cooking oil.  

SkyNRGAlthough SkyNRG is little known in our region, the announcements of RSB certification and first commercial cross-Atlantic biofueled flight are no surprise to folks working in this field. When Alaska Airlines launched the first commercial, biofuel-powered, regularly scheduled flight service in the United States out of SeaTac airport back in November, 2011, the fuel used was sourced through SkyNRG’s supply chains. SkyNRG has gone on to sell to more than 20 airlines on 5 continents, including KLM’s landmark flight of a Boeing 777 to the Rio+20 sustainable development conference.

The latest improvement in SkyNRG’s Pacific Northwest infrastructure is a “factory fill facility” at Boeing Paine airport.   Nippon Cargo Airline became the first international cargo airline to fill up using this infrastructure, fueling a Boeing 747-8 with a blend of jet kerosene and used cooking oil for delivery across the Pacific Ocean. According to Boeing, the 747-8 Freighter will provide double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating costs and lower emissions over the 747-400 Freighter. The 747-8 Freighter also provides 16 percent more revenue-generating cargo volume and boasts a significantly improved environmental performance. Per tonne-kilometer, its carbon dioxide emissions are 16 percent lower than those of the 747-400 Freighter. It also reduced its noise footprint by more than 30 percent.

SkyNRG’s achievements are more than sporadic acts of goodwill – they are the building blocks for an industry that is becoming price competitive with fossil fuels, with half the greenhouse gas emissions. When SkyNRG launched their corporate travel partnerships program in June of 2012, Oregon-based Nike Inc. stepped up as an early customer, pre-purchasing sustainable jet fuel for corporate air travel and ensuring major greenhouse gas reductions on these flights Nike wasn’t alone, joined by other global corporations including Accenture, Ahold, Heineken, DSM, Philips and Schiphol Group. Since last year, SkyNRG has already doubled their portfolio of corporate participants, and aims to enlist 100 partners by end of 2014. By leveraging purchasing power from sustainability-minded corporations, together these partners are able send demand signals through the industry that incentivize commercial scale production, thereby bringing prices down.

In our line of work we hear more airlines everyday echoing their approach to sustainable biofuels: “if it’s available, we will buy it.” These words, and the subsequent actions being taken by partners like SkyNRG, are sending strong signals that an alternative to fossil fuels for flying is not just preferred, but inevitable, imperative—let’s say inbound. What is most promising, however, is the commitment to building this new industry from the ground up with such a strong commitment to social and environmental sustainability principles – ensuring that it really is built to last.

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