UOP process technology produced green jet fuel from jatropha that will power an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400
DES PLAINES, Ill., Nov. 11, 2008 - UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced today that its process technology was used to convert second-generation, renewable feedstocks to green jet fuel that will be used on a demonstration flight by Air New Zealand.
UOP collaborated with Air New Zealand, Boeing and Rolls-Royce to produce and test renewable jet fuel made from the oil of jatropha plants. The flight, slated for Dec. 3 in Auckland, New Zealand, will be the first ever of a commercial airliner powered by sustainable, second-generation renewable resources. The green jet fuel will be mixed 50/50 with Jet A1 and will power one of the Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400's Rolls-Royce engines RB211 engines.
"We must diversify our fuel supply to meet the rapid growth in energy demand while effectively balancing social and environmental needs," said Jennifer Holmgren, general manager of UOP's Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. "This team has stepped up to do something about the rapidly evolving energy landscape, and as a result, we could see viable commercial-scale production and usage of biofuels in the aviation industry in a matter of just a few years."
Jatropha, an inedible plant can grow in conditions where other food crops cannot, is considered a sustainable, second-generation resource because its cultivation and harvesting do not tax valuable food, land or water resources, and can provide socioeconomic benefit to the regions where it is grown.
UOP, a recognized global leader in process technology to convert petroleum feedstocks to fuels and chemicals, is developing a range of processes to produce green fuels from natural feedstocks. UOP's green jet fuel process technology is based on the hydroprocessing technology commonly used in today's refineries to produce transportation fuels.
In this process, hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from the biological feedstock such as oil from jatropha plants or algae. The result is a bio-derived jet fuel that acts as a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based jet fuel and meets all of the critical specifications for flight.
Fuel produced for the sample flight was tested by aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and has successfully proven to meet all critical jet fuel specifications for flight, including a freeze point at -47 degrees Celsius and a flash point at 38 degrees Celsius.
"Laboratory testing showed the final blend had excellent properties meeting and, in many cases, exceeding the stringent technical requirements for fuels used in civil and defense aircraft," said Company Specialist for Fuels at Rolls-Royce Chris Lewis. "The blended fuel therefore meets the essential requirement of being a 'drop-in' fuel, meaning its properties will be virtually indistinguishable from conventional fuel, Jet A1, which is used in commercial aviation today."
Boeing Commercial Airplane's Managing Director of Environmental Strategy Billy Glover said, "The processing technology exists today and based on results we've seen it's highly encouraging that this fuel not only met, but exceeded three key criteria for the next generation of jet fuel - higher-than expected jet fuel yields, very low freeze point and good energy density - that tell us we're on the right path to certification and commercial availability."
"This flight strongly supports our efforts to be the world's most environmentally responsible airline," said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe. "We recently demonstrated the fuel and environmental gains that can be achieved through advanced operational procedures using Boeing 777s. We're also modernizing our fleet as we await our Trent 1000-powered 787-9 Dreamliners that will burn 20 percent less fuel than the planes they replace. Introducing a new generation of sustainable fuels is the next logical step in our efforts to further save fuel and reduce aircraft emissions."
UOP's Renewable Energy & Chemicals business, which was formed in late 2006, has already commercialized the UOP/Eni Ecofining(TM) process to produce green diesel fuel from biological feedstocks. UOP has ongoing research efforts in biofuels, with specific focus on second-generation feedstocks working with organizations like the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE's National Renewable Energy Lab and Pacific Northwest National Lab. Its process technology to convert natural oils and greases to jet fuel was originally developed as part of a project funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
UOP, Boeing and Air New Zealand, along with Air France, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Cargolux, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, KLM, SAS and Virgin Atlantic Airways, joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel User's Group to accelerate the development and commercialization of sustainable new aviation fuels.
Honeywell International is a $38 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London and Chicago Stock Exchanges.
For additional information, please visit www.honeywell.com.
UOP LLC, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA, is a leading international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and consulting services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries. UOP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc. and is part of Honeywell's Specialty Materials strategic business group.
For more information, go to www.uop.com.