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GOL to use farnesane biojet blend in US-to-Brazil flights

Brazilian airline GOL has committed to flying its Boeing 737 fleet with up to 10 percent farnesane biojet fuel on its U.S. to Brazil routes later this month.
By Ron Kotrba | July 09, 2014

Brazil is making more headlines this week—and it’s not about the World Cup. Industrial bioscience company Amyris is partnering with Brazilian airline GOL to begin the first international commercial route with the recently approved biojet fuel, farnesane.

According to Amyris, GOL has committed to fly its Boeing 737 fleet with up to a 10 percent blend of the renewable fuel on its U.S. to Brazil routes starting with initial flights later this month. Amyris’ efforts to bring farnesane-based biojet fuel to commercial airlines are supported by Boeing, the Inter-American Development Bank and other partners.

“We at Amyris are thrilled that GOL will be using our renewable jet fuel blend for their flight route from the United States to Brazil, the first of what we expect to be many routes with the world's leading airlines,” said John Melo, president and CEO of Amyris. “With our partner Total, Amyris is working to support the performance goals set by the aviation industry by bringing to market a drop-in, low-carbon jet fuel solution.”

Developed by Amyris and Total, one of the world's leading energy companies, this new aviation renewable fuel meets the rigorous performance requirements set for Jet A/A-1 fuel used by the global commercial aviation industry. On June 15, ASTM revised its jet fuel standard, allowing airlines to use Synthesized Iso-Paraffin farnesane as a jet fuel component in commercial airlines. Amyris says when produced sustainably, farnesane can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent on a lifecycle basis compared to traditional petroleum fuels.

“This low carbon and sustainable biofuel is part of a major commitment of GOL to address the IATA Carbon Neutral Growth 2020 Program,” said Pedro Scorza, director of technical operations with GOL. “We are working closely with the Brazilian Biojet Fuel Platform to achieve the 1 percent blend milestone in early 2016, beginning with more than 200 sustainable flights during the World Cup in Brazil.”

Okay, so this news does relate to the World Cup—there seems no end to its reaches this summer.

“Using the Amyris-Total renewable jet fuel in our flight route from the United States to Brazil is another way to bring public awareness to the importance of sustainable fuel solutions to the global environment,” Scorza added.

The global aviation industry has committed to aggressive goals to reduce its GHG emissions, including achieving carbon neutral growth by 2020 and reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2005. In addition to improving the efficiency of airplanes and flight operations, sustainable aviation biofuel represents a major opportunity for commercial aviation to reduce emissions. Approved renewable jet fuels are drop-in and can be blended directly with petroleum jet fuel without any changes to airplanes, engines or fueling infrastructure.

“As part of Boeing's long-term commitment to advance sustainable aviation biofuel, we are pleased to work alongside our customer GOL, as well as Amyris and Total, to support the first commercial flights using a farnesane blend,” said Julie Felgar, Boeing Commercial Airplanes managing director of environmental strategy and integration.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, industry studies have shown that farnesane reduces particulate matter emissions by 3 percent, reducing pollution near airports and major metropolitan areas. Amyris says its biojet fuel, made in Brazil from sugarcane, can be up to 30 percent more efficient in land use compared to other renewable fuels and it could become approximately 70 percent more efficient than such fuels when new technologies, like sugar from cellulosic feedstocks, become commercially available.

The revised standard, D7566, developed by ASTM Committee on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants, now includes the use of renewable farnesane as a blending component in jet fuels for commercial aviation. This latest version of ASTM D7566, Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons, will allow a biomass-based renewable jet fuel, as developed by Amyris and Total, to support the commercial airliners’ goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 

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