Airbus unveils jet fuel venture with Sinopec

Airbus and Chinese oil company Sinopec have teamed up to develop an alternative fuel standard and supply for China, one of the fastest growing aviation markets, the European plane maker said on Monday.

"China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), one of China's biggest energy companies and Airbus are developing and promoting renewable aviation fuel production for regular commercial use in China," a statement said.

"Sinopec is the instrumental partner in helping the central government to establish a Chinese airworthiness certification for alternative aviation fuels made from locally grown feedstocks," Airbus noted.

Sinopec is to develop the fuel with its own technology at a plant recently built in Hangzhou, near Shanghai.

"The refinery is one of the few in the world that has the capacity to produce aviation fuel from biomass in large-scale," Airbus said.

The company did not say when output would begin, but a spokeswoman told AFP it would likely take "about a year."

"We are in the process of selecting the raw material, the biomass that would come 100 percent from China and which would be sustainable. Once the analysis of the sustainability and certification is over, we will launch production," she said.

Frederic Eychenne, who is in charge of renewable energies at Airbus said that one of the selection criteria is that there must be "absolutely no competition" with food crops or agricultural produce that needs to be cultivated with resources such as water or land.

Among the possibilities are usage of agricultural waste such as straw or agricultural derivations that are not directly cultivated. The company is also looking at harnessing used oil.

Airbus is already involved in similar projects worldwide but China represents a major step forward because it is one of the fastest growing air transport markets.

In early September, Airbus forecast that global plane manufacturers would deliver around 28,200 aircraft from 2012-2031, with about 35 percent expected to be ordered from Asian airlines.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more 23 hours ago
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • 919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day Sat, Apr 19, 2014
    919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day

    We've brought you the drive video of the $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder -- an 887-hp hybrid supercar with two electric motors working in harmony with a big 4.6-liter V-8. But how about this? Porsche's hybrid Le Mans racer -- the 919 Hybrid, sent to us by Kevin Leech. Get on board with electrification, folks. Because it's taking over the world.