Canada could lead way in aviation biofuels
By Robin Brunet
October 12, 2012, Vancouver, BC – The future is already underway with just a few snags, according to panelists at `Flying Green: Why Airlines See a Bright Future in Biofuels’, a plenary at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.
By Robin Brunet
Moderator Ross MacFarlane, senior advisor of business partnerships for Climate Solutions, noted that political and economic instability of fossil fuels is such that “the profitability and even the survivability” of airline companies is at stake, and that while great strides have been made in biofuel test usage, “we now need to set up a feedstock chain from end to end.”
Sean Newsum, project manager for Boeing Commercial Airlines, stressed that drop-in biofuels are crucial to minimizing switching costs in his industry. Warren Lampitt, general manager of technical programs for Air Canada, agreed and added that “we need a feedstock chain that assures economically sustainable yields – because we can’t afford to pay premiums for biofuel, not if we are to fly in meaningful volumes.” Lampitt also called for consistent biofuel qualification standards.
Steve Fabijanski, chief executive officer of Agrisoma, told delegates that his company may be a solution to the aviation industry’s challenges. Agrisoma’s Resonance biofuel, a derivative of the brassica carinata oil seed, grows in harsh conditions; it’s currently being harvested on 6,700 acres in 27 North American locations and out-yields all other alternatives. “With Resonance, Canada’s great rail system and processing and storage facilities, this country can be a leader in making biofuel viable on a commercial scale,” he said.