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GE, Virgin to develop biomass jet fuel

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GE, Virgin to develop biomass jet fuel

General Electric (GE), Virgin Australia, and a group of partners are developing a biomass jet fuel using material from the eucalypt tree.


September 6, 2011
By Argus Media

Sept. 6, 2011, London, UK – General
Electric (GE), Virgin Australia, and a group of partners are entering the
research and development phase of developing a commercial biomass jet fuel
using material from the eucalypt tree. The consortium will focus on the
pyrolytic conversion of biomass from the mallee eucalypt tree and aims to have
a pilot production unit in operation in Australia by the end of 2012.

GE and its partners are pushing the project
on its potential economic and environmental merits. The global airline industry
will soon be covered by carbon emissions trading schemes, and some companies
may see the use of fuel from sustainable sources as a way to curb costs.

The consortium suggests that using the fuel
could cut the Australian airline industry's greenhouse gas emissions by 17%,
reduce the country's reliance on imported jet kerosine by $2 billion/year over
20 years, and create more than 12,000 jobs.

German carrier Lufthansa started regular
Hamburg-Frankfurt biofuel flights in mid-July as part of a six-month trial of
the economic benefits of alternative aviation fuels. Lufthansa's test fuel,
produced by Finnish refiner Neste Oil, is a blend of materials derived from
jatropha, camelina, and animal fats.

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