Biokerosene: Arriving at World Aviation

Biokerosene: Arriving and Making a Revolution in World Aviation

Biokerosene: Long before biofuels had the visibility and acceptance they have today, we have written, promoted and disseminated in our training courses, lectures, seminars, books and papers what we call ‘biofuel revolution’.

Lufthansa Biokerosene Flights

Lufthansa Biokerosene Flights (click to enlarge)

A few years ago we wrote an article on this subject that generated repercussions in the industry with opinions both favorable and not so positive. Some even said this would never be a reality.

We remember clearly when, at the beginning of the last decade, we said that biofuels could be made from waste processing tilapia, very few believed it. However, we never give up a good idea, even if it implies overcoming some challenges.

We develop general and specific sites (,, aimed at disseminating information and promoting the sustainable production of biofuels at all possible levels.

We affirm and reaffirm that if done correctly, the peaceful revolution of Biofuels has the potential to completely transform and change the primary sector and positively impact the entire global economy.

Today we see that slowly but surely, this new highly active and important sector is gradually taking shape, with the prospective to transform and boost agricultural and aquaculture industries globally.

One of the fast growing potentials we observed it is the capability of supplying biokerosene to the airline industry. A market worth around $ 100 billion per year that is now open to renewable fuels.

What we have observed is that after years of ups and downs producing more thunder than lightning, the commercial production of Biokerosene for civil aviation industry worldwide is slowly becoming a fact, starting with production on several continents.

Candidates of Raw Materials for Production of Aviation Biokerosene

The leading candidates of raw materials for biokerosene aviation are jatropha, camelina, algae and greasy residues. Each of these sources has its ardent supporters.

Recently a Mexican airline company made the first flight in Latin America biokerosene using the base oil of Jatropha curcas flying from Mexico City to the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez in the southern state of Chiapas.

In this technological stage none of these candidates of raw materials can produce at a price approaching that of fossil fuel aviation Jet A-1.

However, it is only a matter of time that with additional research and large investments prices will become competitive in the market.

When we look at the emerging picture of biofuels and biokerosene, it is increasingly clear that, although the United States and Brazil are major producers of renewable energy currently in the form of ethanol, many other countries are entering this race.

In March this year a European consortium Airbus, the Romanian state airline Tarom, UOP Honeywell and CCE (Camelina Company) announced plans to establish a center for the production of biokerosene in Romania for the production of bio-jet fuels for civil aviation, using camelina as raw material.

Recently, China National Petroleum Corp. announced that it delivered 15 tonnes of jatropha oil to help Air China to make biofuel-powered flight tests, scheduled for later this year. And just last year Boeing announced a collaboration with the Qingdao Institute of BioEnergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) to establish a joint laboratory to accelerate microalgae-based aviation biofuels research.

This week, the Mozambique information agency announced that a local company headquartered in the UK, exported to the German airline Lufthansa, the first batch of 30 tonnes of jatropha oil produced in the Mozambican province of Manica.

In Brazil, the aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Embraer announced plans to jointly finance a sensitivity analysis to investigate the possibility of producing renewable fuel by air from the Brazilian sugar cane.

The study will also be financed by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), and will evaluate the environmental effects of fuel produced by an international company from sugar cane in Brazil.

However, as shown on our website, history and greater stimulus to accelerate the development of biofuels for aviation occurred in July this year, when the ASTM International announced the approval of its standard fuel Bio-SPK, allowing the use of hydro – treated renewable jet (HRJ) Jet A-1 fuel in commercial aviation.

This has established the feasibility of bio-jet fuels to be mixed at a ratio of 50-50 with Jet A-1 fuel derived from traditional fossil fuels.

Acceptance Challenges For A Large-Scale Bio-Kerosene Aviation

Currently, the biggest challenge for acceptance in a wide range of aviation biofuel is its high cost. Biokerosene delivered last year for the U.S. military to assess the absurd cost of over U.S. $ 70 per gallon.

Of course, these prices have no way to be competitive with fuel derived from traditional sources of hydrocarbons.

However, we all know that processing costs will decrease in direct proportion to the achievement of volume production on a large scale.

As is well known worldwide, both Brazil and the United States have supported the production of biofuel at market values, ??practiced in the form of ethanol. In the case of Brazil derived from sugar cane, in the United States produced from corn.

Even though the production is for ground transportation, the two countries are capable of being leaders in biojetfuels also.

This shows that the technology is in place, the product has been certified and at the end of the day, the Brazilian and American groups are talking about an agricultural product which ideally, depending on where it is planted, can produce one or even two crops per year. Or in the case of algae, double its biomass every day.

With these two and other countries and producers such as Boeing, Airbus and Embraer entered in full speed in the promotion of biojetfuels production, we have plenty of opportunities to see prices fall and the biofuels revolution actually happening in the civil aviation industry and military.

In practice we have a huge, multibillion dollar market for jet fuel open to farmers in both agriculture and aquaculture areas. Opportunities like that cannot be wasted.

By: Dr. Aecio D’Silva, CEO Moura Technologies and Dr. John Kyndt ( Head Scientist of the Renewable Energy Program at Advanced Energy Creations Lab)


Posted in Column of Dr. John Kyndt, Column of Prof. Aecio D'Silva, Green-Bio-Fuels and tagged .