On Thursday, three of the world’s biggest commercial aircraft manufacturers announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop easily applicable and affordable aviation biofuels. The companies are Airbus of Europe, Boeing of the US and Embraer of Brazil.
The three groups have agreed to work together to promote, support and accelerate the development of sustainable new fuel sources for jet engines. They will do so by speaking with one voice to biofuel producers, governments and other important stakeholders.
“We are all committed to take a leading role in the development of technology programmes that will facilitate aviation biofuels development and actual application faster than if we were doing it independently,” asserted Embraer commercial aviation president Paulo Cesar Silva. “Few people know that Brazil’s well-known automotive biofuels programme started within our aeronautical research community, back in the seventies, and we will keep on making history.” The MoU is in support of the global aviation industry’s multiple initiatives to continually reduce its carbon emissions.
“There are times of compete and there are times to cooperate,” affirmed Boeing commercial airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. “Two of the biggest threats to our industry are the price of oil and the impact of commercial air travel on our environment. By working with Airbus and Embraer on sustainable biofuels, we can accelerate their availability and reduce our industry’s impacts on the planet we share.” The industry’s objective is to achieve carbon neutral growth after 2020 and reducing commercial aviation emissions by 50% by 2050 (in comparison to 2005).
“We’ve achieved a lot in the last ten years in reducing our industry’s CO2 footprint – a 45% traffic growth with only 3% more fuel consumption,” highlighted Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders. “The production and use of sustainable quantities of aviation biofuels is key to meeting our industry’s ambitious CO2 reduction targets and we are helping to do this though research and technology, our expanding network of worldwide value chains and supporting the EU [European Union] Commission towards its target of 4% biofuel for aviation by 2020.”
All three signatories of the MoU are affiliates of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, which encompasses 23 major airlines which together account for about 25% of yearly aviation fuel consumption.
Embraer and Boeing had already started cooperating on the development of a sustainable aviation biofuels industry. Airbus, Boeing and Embraer have all supported test and trial flights using biofuels, since the global fuel standards agencies granted their approval for the commercial use of these fuels last year.