Boeing and Japanese aviation industry stakeholders have partnered to develop sustainable aviation biofuel for flights during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, when millions of people are expected to visit Japan.
The Initiatives for Next Generation Aviation Fuels (INAF) — a consortium of 46 organizations including Boeing, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Japan Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Japan's government and the University of Tokyo — laid out a five-year "roadmap" to develop biofuel by 2020 as a way to reduce aviation's environmental footprint.
Using sustainably produced biofuel reduces lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to conventional petroleum fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The roadmap concludes that industry, government and academia in Japan need to collaborate to promote the introduction of sustainable aviation biofuel to support Japan's energy security and reduce aviation's greenhouse gas emissions. Potential feedstocks, or biologically based sources, that could be used to produce sustainable aviation biofuel in Japan include municipal solid waste, plant oils and animal fats, used cooking oil, algae, cellulosic biomass and residues from the wood products industry. Policy incentives promoting the introduction of next-generation aviation fuels are a prerequisite to success in aviation biofuel use.
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INAF was created in May 2014 with the aim of establishing a supply chain for next-generation aviation fuels in Japan. Its roadmap process assessed the entire biofuel supply chain, including procurement of raw materials, production of sustainable aviation fuel, blending biofuel with conventional petroleum jet fuel and how biofuel will be incorporated into an airport's fueling infrastructure.
Late last year, Boeing carried out the world's first flight using "green diesel," a widely available sustainable biofuel already used in ground transportation. The company powered its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane on Tuesday with a blend of 15 percent green diesel and 85 percent petroleum jet fuel in the left engine.
Green diesel is among more than 25 new technologies being tested by Boeing's ecoDemonstrator Program aboard 787 Dreamliner ZA004. The program accelerates the testing, refinement, and use of new technologies and methods that can improve aviation's environmental performance.