by Max Breitbarth
Major developments in biofuel development and utilization are occurring in Norway. Samantha Cartaino’s January 25th article in AIN Magazine reports that the Oslo airport, partnering with SkyNRG, AirBP, and Avinor, has begun to deliver jet biofuel to airline operators at their airport. Following the COP21 agreement in Paris, this marks an important move by fuel providers in Europe to commit to renewable forms of energy and make a fuel-intensive industry less damaging for the environment. As someone who studied in Strasbourg this past fall and encountered many skeptics that organizations and governments would voluntarily act to reduce their environmental impact, I am encouraged by this action just a month after the agreement signed by countries around the world.
The biofuel is produced by using camelina oil, according to a related SkyNRG press release, and is partly funded by the European Union as part of a “demonstration project.” The AIN Online article notes that 3 airlines—Lufthansa, Scandinavian giant SAS and the Royal Dutch Airlines—have agreed to start using the jet biofuel provided by the airport partners. This important first step bodes well for an increased use of biofuel in aviation in the near future. In the SkyNRG press release, SkyNRG CEO Maarten van Dijk stated “The fact that we’re able to supply sustainable jet fuel through the existing fuel infrastructure demonstrates that the industry is now ready to take the next step in the development of this market.” In the same press release, David Gilmour, CEO for Air BP, declared “This is the first time aviation biofuel is being delivered through the normal supply mechanism, thus reducing logistics costs significantly…. We anticipate that this will increase interest and demand, as well as contributing to a sustainable biofuel future for the aviation sector.”
While American airports haven’t made such a commitment yet, the optimism of these fuel provider CEOs isn’t unfounded: the AIN Online article reveals that the Port of Seattle, Boeing, and Alaska Airlines have already invested money in research seeking if there is a viable solution to offering biofuel blended with traditional jet fuel at SeaTac Airport. With the environment becoming an international priority, changes like the one at the Oslo will likely be the first of many as the aviation industry seeks to reduce its dependency on traditional, dirtier fuels. It is likely that American airlines and airports won’t be far behind their European counterparts.
Cartaino, Samantha. “Oslo Airport Achieves a Key First with Biofuel Delivery.” AIN Online. Jan 25, 2016.