The Buzz from ABLC: Byogy, Avianca announce partnership to drive approval of alcohol-to-jet fuels

April 24, 2014 |

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In Washington, ABLC’s third day was headlined by the 5th annual Global Aviation Biofuels Summit, where in turn the headline announcement was news of a partnership between Avianca Brasil and Byogy Renewables to drive approval of the alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) renewable jet spec.

Byogy has developed a catalytic platform that converts any source of ethanol, butanol, mixed alcohols, or related olefins, into full replacement, and cost competitive biofuels including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.Byogy’s jet fuel is not an additive, but instead, a full replacement standalone fuel, and hence can be used at any blend ratio up to 100%.

“Our goal with our partner Avianca is to first, support the approval of the ATJ suite of process technologies in accordance with current regulations that limit blending to 50%, and then, after gaining appropriate experience testing data, work with the ASTM stakeholders to study the potential use of higher blend ratios that will in turn drive the highest level of carbon reduction possible of any renewable fuel”, said Kevin Weiss, CEO of Byogy.

The initiative will also study to validate the significant beneficial environmental impact achieved using Byogy’s ATJ to satisfy the proposed ICAO 2050 Neutral Carbon Growth mandate for the country of Brazil by leveraging the existing, and abundant sugar cane feedstock, as opposed to waiting for years before other agriculture feedstock industries are proven cost effective.

“Avianca is fully committed to supporting the Byogy ATJ fuel approval process and believes it is the best solution for Avianca to achieve carbon neutrality for its operations in Brazil”, said Captain Norberto Raniero, Vice President of Operations at Avianca.

“We believe that the increase in aviation demand will show that the only way to achieve the carbon reduction mandate, set out by the ICAO, is to use high blend ratios of renewable aviation fuel” said Weiss. “This is probably the most significant initiative in the aviation industry as it demonstrates the evolution to a full replacement, high quality renewable aviation fuel. At some point, we will wake up from this ethanol hangover and realize that it is more important to use alcohols to produce full replacement renewable aviation fuels than it is to push higher blends of alcohols into infrastructure that cannot support it”.

Once approved by ASTM, it is anticipated that the Byogy ATJ bio-jet fuel will deliver to operators the multiple benefits including, lower fuel consumption, lower engine maintenance cost, and a significant beneficial environmental impact.

More on Byogy here.

The news followed an announcement earlier in ABLC week that Gevo has come to an agreement with Lufthansa to evaluate Gevo’s renewable jet fuel with the goal of approving Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) for commercial aviation use. Lufthansa’s testing is being supported through work with the European Commission.

“ATJ, like the Fischer-Tropsch pathway, has the potential to use lignocellulosic waste as feedstock, but promises to do so at less cost than Fischer-Tropsch,” said Alexander Zschocke, Lufthansa Group Senior Manager Aviation Biofuels.  Lufthansa is a leader in the marketplace for alternative fuels.

“By using isobutanol as a renewable raw material for producing jet fuel, the resulting jet fuel has the mixtures of molecules typical of petro-based jet fuel making it directly compatible with engines and infrastructure.  Renewable jet embodies the potential of cleaner, greener, and as we scale up, cost competitive drop-in fuels,” said Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s chief executive officer.

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