Airbus and TAROM launch Europe’s first bio-fuel ‘value-chain’

Airbus and TAROM launch Europe’s first bio-fuel ‘value-chain’

Project aims to commercialise bio-fuel made from Camelina

21 March 2011 Press Release

Airbus and TAROM Romanian Air Transport together with a consortium of key stakeholders have established one of Europe’s first project aiming to establish a sustainable bio-kerosene jet-fuel processing and production capability. The Romanian based project aims to provide a bio-fuel made from the camelina plant, as a renewable, sustainable substitute to fossil based jet fuel. The project is being overseen by a Romanian based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Airbus is acting as the catalyst in getting the Romanian value chain for a local bio-jet fuel solution up and running.

Once feasibility studies on agricultural, technological and aeronautical development and sustainability assessment are complete, the project will also assess the existing refining facilities in order to identify the Romanian production capability. Camelina is the chosen feedstock because of its energy potential, its rotational crop qualities, its green house gas reduction potential and its low water requirements. Camelina is also indigenous to Romania, and can be readily farmed and harvested by family farmers. It has a high quality animal feed by-product.

“This is the first European based value chain project bringing together farmers, oil-refiners and an airline to spearhead the commercialisation of sustainable bio-fuel production,” said Paul Nash, Airbus Head of New Energies. The Romanian Camelina Value Chain will help us further verify the sustainability and economic viability of producing bio-kerosene.”

Airbus will support the fuel approval processes, and lead in assessing the effect on the aircraft systems and engines. The consortium will work together with the Bucharest University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine’s Centre of Biotechnology (BIOTEHGEN) on the sustainable agricultural phase of the project regarding the camelina plantations, harvesting and oil production.

TAROM is leading the consortium which includes Honeywell’s UOP, CCE (Camelina Company España), and Airbus. Honeywell’s UOP is applying its aviation bio-fuel refining technology, CCE is contributing its knowledge on camelina agronomy, including technologies on camelina growth, agricultural monitoring networks and plant science. Airbus is providing technical and project management expertise and is sponsoring the sustainability assessment and life cycle analysis studies.

Notes for Editors:

1. The project will use diverse biomass sources as feedstock, with a special interest in the camelina plant. CCE and BIOTEHGEN are implementing various ‘camelina placement trials’ at different locations in Romania, with the purpose of assessing sustainability of different production models and soil types, including contaminated soil and uncultivated land, in order to identify the best techniques and genetic material.

2. A sustainability analysis will be conducted in order to prove the viability of the Romanian camelina value chain.

3. Airbus supports all industry wide efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Bio-kerosene is in the final stage of approval by ASTM in the US to be blended up to 50 percent with regular jet fuel when used in commercial flights.

Read more on Airbus’ extensive efforts in applying alternative fuels to the air transport industry.

Learn how alternative fuels play a key role in Airbus’ eco-efficient initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of air transport.