Industry seeks alternative energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
MONTREAL—Air Canada and Airbus have teamed up with BioFuelNet Canada (BFN), a federally funded non-profit research organization based out of McGill University, to develop biofuels for the aviation industry.
“Air Canada has already operated two flights with biofuel and on each occasion we substantially reduced our emissions,” said Paul Whitty, director of fuel purchasing and supply at Air Canada and Chair of the Air Canada Alternative Fuels Working Group.
Both flights, which took place in June 2012, used a 50-50 mix of regular jet fuel and biofuel derived from recycled cooking oil. By combining alternative fuels with best practices such as single engine taxing and flight path optimization, an emissions reduction of 40 per cent was realized during the first trip from Toronto to Mexico City on June 18, according to Airbus officials. The second biofuel flight carried passengers from Montreal to London on June 24 during the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
“New technologies, such as alternative fuels, are one of the ways our industry plans to reduce its emissions to meet its target of carbon-neutral growth for 2020 and beyond,” he added.
The Canadian aviation industry has also pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.
Under the partnership, various biofuels will be tested for their viability in the aviation sector. Research will focus on those those derived from municipal solid waste, agricultural and forestry waste and different conversion processes used for biofuel generation.
“Aviation biofuels are one of the most promising ways to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint, making air travel more environmentally friendly,” said Dr. Donald Smith, president of BFN and McGill University professor.
BFN was formed in 2012 under the Federal Networks Centre of Excellence program, and will receive $25 million over five years to fund biofuel research projects at Canadian universities.