Boeing and COMAC Look to Turn Cooking Oil into Biofuel

By Juliet Van Wagenen | October 23, 2014
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[Avionics Today 10-23-2014] Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) have opened a demonstration facility that will turn waste cooking oil, commonly referred to as "gutter oil" in China, into sustainable aviation biofuel. The two companies estimate that 500 million gallons of biofuel could be produced annually in China from used cooking oil.

Boeing and COMAC are sponsoring the facility, called the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project, which will assess the technical feasibility and cost of producing higher volumes of biofuel. It will use a technology developed by Hangzhou Energy & Engineering Technology (HEET) to clean contaminants from waste oils and convert it into jet fuel at a rate of 160 gallons per day.

Sustainably produced biofuel, which reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent through its lifecycle when compared to petroleum, is expected to play a key role in supporting aviation's growth while meeting environmental goals. With current Boeing forecasts predicting that China will require more than 6,000 new airplanes by 2033 to meet passenger demand for domestic and international air travel, the new fuel will help reduce the increased air traffic impact on the environment.

Biofuel produced by the project will meet international specifications approved in 2011 for jet fuel made from plant oils and animal fats. This type of biofuel has already been used for more than 1,600 commercial flights.

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