Airbus welcomes the latest steps towards the approval by ASTM International, one of the largest voluntary standards developing organizations in the world, for the use of a 50 per cent synthetic jet fuel in commercial aviation. Synthetic liquid jet fuels can be made from biomass, natural gas or coal. All of these are known as xTL fuels.
"This breakthrough paves the way for a 100 per cent xTL blend made entirely from bio feedstock, such as woodchip waste", said Christian Dumas, Airbus Vice President Sustainable Development and Eco-Efficiency. "This new specification is a major step towards reducing aviation's environmental footprint and represents a significant achievement along the Airbus alternative fuels roadmap," he added.
The Airbus Alternative Fuels roadmap estimates that some 30 per cent jet fuel used in 2030 could be sustainable biojet fuel if maturity of alternative high yield non-food feedstock occurs in the middle of the next decade.
A major step towards the progressive introduction of alternative fuels was achieved on 1st February 2008, for the first time in commercial aviation history, a civil airliner, an Airbus A380 with Rolls Royce engines, flew using a 40 per cent blend of synthetic fuel derived from natural gas (GTL) supplied by Shell.
Airbus believes in extended international and cross-industry cooperation to develop sustainable alternative fuel solutions. Airbus and its partners have already gone a long way to studying fuel alternatives. Airbus is sharing alternative fuel research with European partners (Calin, Alfa-Bird -Alternative Fuels and Bio fuels for aircraft development). In November 2007, Airbus, Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuels, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Rolls Royce and Shell International Petroleum Company Limited signed an agreement to investigate in detail operational and environmental benefits of the use of GTL fuel for aviation.