Based on authoritative reporting by AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY publication, a consortium titled Masbi (midwest aviation sustainable biofuels initiative) composed of
United, Boeing, Honeywell UOP, Chicago Aviation Department and the Clean
Energy Trust are within a whisker of issuing an RFP (request for proposal) for initial volume supplies of bio JetA fuel to a first airline hub operation.
This will be a key launch of bio JetA for regular civil aircraft use
paralleling planning already under way by DARPA(U.S. Defence Advanced
Projects Agency) which is pushing ahead with commercialization of bio JetA
for military use. Whether for civil or military aircraft, conditions continue to
favor bio fuel including added concerns for petroleum supply from foreign sources,
growing negatives with fracking methods of recovering petroleum and
advantages of large reduction in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from bio vs
While the news from Masbi does not yet define specifics of the new fuel,
the only member of the Masbi group that has been developing a new bio fuel
plan, is Honeywell UOP and its affiliates and since the UOP system is also being tooled
at an ENI refinery in Italy for companion bio diesel fuel to meet EU GHG emissions
and other advantages, it has come to the forefront. The ENI UOP diesel fuel will be a milestone in auto industry efforts to expand use of diesels in cars… key reasons being the reduction in cost and complexity of emissions controls compared with current
diesel cars. No fundamental changes in engines are required.
China and Italy are reported to be licensees of the UOP rapid thermal processing
system as has the Masdar Institute in the UAE; affiliated with MIT, with the
stated target of perfecting petroleum alternative fuel for its Gulf States clients.
Rapid thermal processing refers to a system that produces crude bio oil in
2 seconds at 500C from pulverized broad spectrum biomass raw material.
Fuel refined from the resulting bio crude can reportedly be made at competitive
cost without subsidies; a major factor for large volume use.
At publication time for this report, it has been announced that Honeywell UOP’s
VP of renewable energy and chemicals, James Rekoske, will discuss the firm’s latest
technology at the Advanced Biofuel Leadership Conference in San Francisco Oct 9-11.
Status of production planning for rapid thermal process UOP bio crude oil based fuels
is expected. Also speaking at the meeting will be Jimmy Samartzis, United Air Lines and Stephen Emmert, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Both are expected to discuss
initial use of bio JetA fuel.