BIO-JET FUEL: FACTS AND FIGURES
Three common pillars identified by signatories of Paris Agreement, are energy efficiency, decarbonizing electricity generation and fuel switching. Aviation sector is one of the decentralized emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world. Decarbonizing transportation system can be achieved via fuel switching. Given this sector’s growing contribution to global CO2, aviation could play a key role in meeting the global climate targets. While major airlines continue to demand the use of narrow range of hydrocarbon jet fuel for the foreseeable future, some European and Australian airlines (and aircraft manufactures) have committed to voluntary CO2 reduction targets. By 2050, the global aviation industry aims to combat climate change by reducing net carbon emissions by 50% compared with 2005 levels. That’s a commitment to cut one-tenth the emissions projected for 2050. Improved engine efficiency and aircraft aerodynamics will provide some reductions. But transitioning to fully renewable jet fuel is key to meeting the targets suggested by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Although automobiles and other light transport vehicles have the potential to be powered by electricity derived from renewable sources such as wind and solar, some types of transport, such as long-distance trucking, maritime and airplanes will need a more energy-dense biofuel.
Canadian passenger traffic forecast estimates a market growth to about 216 million passengers by 2033, a 50 % increase compared to 122 million in 2013. Emissions of passenger aircraft per passenger kilometer vary extensively because of differing factors such as the size and type aircraft, the altitude and the percentage of passenger or freight capacity of a particular flight, and the distance of the journey and number of stops en route. On average, the emissions vary from 114 g CO2eq per km for long distance flights to ~ 260 g CO2eq per km for short distance flights. Decarbonizing the aviation sector via switching to more energy dense biofuel could, therefore, play an important role to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration in transitioning to Future Energy System.
For a copy of our whitepaper on challenges and opportunities in bio-jet fuel for decarbonizing aviation sector, click 2017 whitepaper – Decarbonizing Aviation System using Bio-jet Fuel.
CHALLENGES WITH THE INFANT INDUSTRY OF BIO-JET FUEL:
- What are the key drivers for greening the aviation system?
- How is bio-jet fuel produced (existing vs. emerging technologies)? Which technology is the best performer, and why?
- What are the potential feedstocks? Is there enough biomass in Alberta that can be harvested and utilized in a sustainable way to replace the non-renewables (fossil) based jet fuel?
- What is the status of international aviation system in moving toward low-carbon jet fuel?
- What worldwide best practices can be learned from for bio-jet fuel supply (and the airports/airlines)?
- How can bio-jet fuel production and supply support Alberta’s positions in achieving International Air Transport Association (IATA) target?
- What are the key economic and technical challenges?
- How can the existing infrastructure in the airports be modified to meet the bio-jet fuel supply and demand in future?
- What environmental benefits/impacts may be caused by the production and use of bio-jet fuel?
- Is there any effective supporting policy to promote production of bio-jet fuel in Alberta?
- Who are the key stakeholders, investors, business players and policy influencers?
HOW TO TRANSFORM CHALLENGES TO OPPORTUNITIES?
Our goal is to support commercialization of cost-effective technology systems for supplying bio-jet fuel to Alberta’s key airports. Our novel approach will perform a holistic optimization functionality that analyses different combinations of feedstock and technologies and selects the combinations which together minimized the total cost while meeting the constraints or targets.