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Paul Sands - Virgin Atlantic

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					Change is in the air?
Sustainable fuels for sustainable
aviation


                                                                                        Paul Sands
                                                               General Manager Japan, Virgin Atlantic
             PhD Student, Centre for Aviation and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University
                          Change is in the air?



•   Why do anything?
•   Why biofuel?
•   What were we looking for in a biofuel?
•   What did we do?
•   What did we prove?
•   What happens next?
Why do anything?
Public perceptions.
 Why do anything?
 Government pressure.

• Dec 2006: UK Treasury doubles Air
  Passenger Duty
• Oct 2007: UK Treasury announces move to
  per aircraft duty from Nov 2009
• EC proposal to include aviation in EU
  Emissions Trading Scheme
Why do anything?
Customer demands.
                          Our overall approach



1.   Reduce our impacts where we can by becoming a more efficient
     business
2.   Work with the industry to develop practical and technical solutions
3.   Engage and empower our staff and passengers to help us meet this
     challenge
Why biofuels?
Dwindling oil supplies




                         Source: CJ Campbell
Why biofuels?
Speed – a “drop in” option
 Why biofuels?
 Avoid worse alternatives

• As traditional oil fields run out, the
  world moves towards “dirtier”
  fossil-fuel based kerosene
    – Alberta oil sands
    – Coal-to-Liquid
What were we looking for in a biofuel?
Environmental sustainability

• Should not lead to deforestation
• Should not divert water away from food
  agriculture or drinking water
• Should have lower life cycle carbon emissions
 What were we looking for in a biofuel?
 Social sustainability


• Sustainable agronomy
  principles should be applied
• Should not conflict with staple
  food crops
 What were we looking for in a biofuel?
 Economic sustainability

• Must be economically
  viable
 What did we do?
 First ever biofuel flight by a commercial aircraft

• 24 Feb 2008
• AIM - to prove that it is possible
  to fly on a sustainably-sourced,
  “drop in” biofuel/ kerosene blend
What did we do?
Fuel selection

• Boeing researched worldwide to identify shortlist that would meet strict jet fuel
  performance criteria
• Screened for sustainability
• Further screening tests by Boeing, GE and NASA Glenn, e.g.
         •   Viscosity
         •   Heat content
         •   Thermal stability breakpoint
         •   Emissions
• Imperium fuel – derived from babassu and coconut oil through transesterification –
  the preferred option
What did we do?
In the days leading up to the demo…

– Aircraft removed from normal service: scheduled for routine maintenance after demo flight
– Visual inspections of engine and fuel systems, with boroscope
– Neat biofuel and kerosene blended in dedicated bowser (20:80 ratio)
– Field testing: visual, free water, freeze point, flash point, density
– Overwing fuelling into Fuel Tank No. 4: no contamination of other engines or fuel systems.
  Only engine 4 received the fuel.
– Engine ground runs: performance evaluated by project team
  What did we do?
  The flight itself

• One hour flight London – Amsterdam
• No passengers onboard, just VAA crew and observers from Boeing and GE
• Flight operated under a CAA-approved “permit to fly” but under normal flight
  conditions
• No modifications made to aircraft or fuel systems
• Flight successfully touched down in Amsterdam and passed all post-flight
  inspections
 What did we prove?

• No difference in performance between No 4 Engine and other Engines
• No issues identified through detailed maintenance procedures




                                                    
What did we prove?


• It is possible to fly a commercial
  aircraft on a “drop in” fuel,
  containing a high proportion of
  sustainably-sourced biofuel
• High media and public interest




                                       
What happens next?




                                                                 A truly sustainable market for aviation biofuels
    Ensuring AVAILABILITY of sustainable (commercially,
    environmentally, socially) fuel in viable quantities




                                                                                     VISION:
    Gaining ACCEPTANCE from all relevant stakeholders
    (airlines, airports, manufacturers, fuellers, NGOs, Govts)




    Ensuring APPROVAL of biofuels and certification by
    manufacturers, MoD and other relevant bodies.
What happens next?
The mid-term future

    • Availability - different regions may offer different feedstock solutions


                            Algae farms in Australasia?



                      Jatropha plantations in Brazil?


                                                  Salt water tolerant halophytes in the
                                                  Middle East?
What happens next?
The mid term future



                      Up to150 times
                      more fuel from
                       future algae
                       process than
                        soybeans




                             Courtesy Dave Daggett, Boeing Co
What happens next?
Quantity of supply

If the world airline fleet used 100% biojet fuel from soybeans, it would require 322 billion litres.




                                                       =
                  World fleet in 2004                               322 billion litres of biojet fuel
                                                                         (85 billion gallons)

This would require 5,750 sq km of land (about the size of Europe)




 Planted
 with
 soybeans
                                                                                Soybeans
                                                                            (560 ltr oil/hectare)


                                                          575 million hectares (5.75 million sq km) soybeans

                                                               Courtesy Dave Daggett, Boeing Co
What happens next?
Quantity of supply

 If the world airline fleet used 100% biojet fuel from soybeans, it would require 322 billion litres.




                                                        =
                   World fleet in 2004                               322 billion litres of biojet fuel
                                                                          (85 billion gallons)

 This would require 35k sq km land (about the size of Belgium)
                                                                 94K ltr/hectare
                                                                 yield?

  Algae Pond




                                                            34,250 sq km (3.4 million hectares) algae ponds
                                                                Courtesy Dave Daggett, Boeing Co
                         Change is in the air?...conclusions

• There are alternatives to kerosene - you can fly a plane on biofuel
• Lessons have been learned from the 1st generation feedstocks and biofuels – more
  efficient and more sustainable 2nd generation fuels will soon be available
• With ever-rising crude oil prices and the cost of carbon associated with ETS, there’s
  a strong business case for researching and developing lower carbon renewable
  alternatives
• This is more than just a publicity stunt! Biofuels could contribute to the sustainable
  future of the international aviation industry

				
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