Airbus has welcomed the approval by ASTM International of a new standard for the use of 50 per cent blends of synthetic jet fuel made from biomass, coal or natural gas (known as xTL) in commercial aviation.
“This breakthrough paves the way for a 100 per cent xTL blend made entirely from bio feedstock, such as woodchip waste”, said Christian Dumas, Airbus VP sustainable development and eco-efficiency. “This new specification is a major step towards reducing aviation’s environmental footprint and represents a significant achievement along the Airbus alternative fuels roadmap.”
While biofuels have faced various technical and commercial challenges, Airbus believes that approximately 30 per cent of the jet fuel used in 2030 could be comprised of biofuels provided high yield non-food feedstocks reach maturity during the middle of the next decade.
Airbus last year test flew a Rolls-Royce powered A380 using a 40 per cent blend of gas-to-liquid synthetic fuel which was provided by Shell. Simiarly, Boeing has pursued a number of alternative fuels, with aircraft operated by Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Japan Air Lines having undertaken test flights using biofuel blends.