Airbus is seeking to boost its presence in China through a partnership with Tsinghua University that could lead to large quantities of biofuels made from cooking oil being used in Chinese aviation.
Airbus said it was working with Tsinghua to complete a sustainability analysis of Chinese biofuel feedstocks, and to “evaluate how best to support the development of a value chain to speed up the commercialisation of aviation biofuels”. The move aims to promote the use and production of aviation biofuel in China, the world’s fastest growing aviation market.
The partnership is assessing suitable feedstocks that comply with ecological, economic and social sustainability criteria, Airbus said. The sustainability analysis is managed by Airbus and involves collaboration with Tsinghua and leading European institutions. Phase two will narrow down the most promising alternative fuel solutions.
The first results are due to be analysed in the second half of 2012. The goal is to select several feedstocks, including used cooking oil and algae. By the start of 2013, the full sustainability analysis should be complete. From 2013 onwards, the partners will look at scaling up the alternative fuel production process to achieve sustainable quantities of aviation fuel for commercial use.
Airbus said it was looking to establish money-making ventures on all continents this year. It has “value chains” in Latin America, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and now China. North America, base of rival Boeing, is a notable absentee.
Frédéric Eychenne, Airbus New Energies programme manager, said: “The commercialisation of alternative fuels is one of the essential ingredients in our quest to achieving ambitious environmental targets in aviation.”
Professor Zhang Xiliang, director of Tsinghua’s institute of energy, environment and economy, said: “The project will help us improve understanding of aviation biofuel commercialisation in China, identify opportunities and challenges, and evaluate social, economic, market and technology change. We believe it will have positive effects on energy conservation, emissions reduction and climate change.”
- For latest engineering vacancies across different industry sectors visit our dedicated jobs board www.topengineeringjobs.com