Thu 14 Jan 2010 – Advances during 2009 in the development and deployment of alternative jet fuels has resulted in annual awards made by two aviation and biofuel publications. Biofuels Digest has given its Company of the Year award jointly to five companies – Solazyme, Sapphire Energy, Sustainable Oils, Rentech and Terasol – for their significant contributions to the successful flight tests carried out last year, as well as orders from the US military and commercial operators for renewable jet fuel. The publication also named Honeywell’s UOP its Company of the Year Award for Achievement in Processing Technology, for its work in converting renewable oils into renewable jet fuel. Meanwhile, Air Transport World (ATW) has announced its Joseph S. Murphy Industry Service Award has gone to the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). ATW’s Airline of the Year award went to Air New Zealand.
“Though cellulosic ethanol has made incredible strides towards commercialization this year, aviation biofuels have not only made huge progress, they represent the consensus choice of environmentalists, policy-makers and end users as a superior alternative to fossil-based aviation fuels,” said Jim Lane, Editor of Biofuels Digest, which lays claim to being the world’s most widely-read biofuels daily. “When the chairman of United Airlines steps up at a conference and says ‘we’re ready to be the customer’, you know that biofuels have the potential to capture a 60 billion gallon market – for commercial airlines alone – worth more than $100 billion in sales per year.
“Among readers voting in the poll, and the editorial board, there was a clear sense that several companies and organizations had come together to advance this sector, and so the award is being shared by companies that have supplied fuels for testing and for use.
“It is also important to recognize the immense efforts of the end-user community – including Boeing, the Civil Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), the Sustainable Aviation Fuel User’s Group (SAFUG), ATA, ICAO, IATA, Continental Airlines, Japan Air Lines, Air New Zealand, KLM and Virgin Atlantic, among others, for their consistent and notable efforts in support of renewable aviation fuels.”
The award to UOP was given in recognition of the company’s significant licensing activity during 2009 for its hydroprocessing technology, utilized in converting renewable oils into renewable jet fuel.
“Though UOP has long been a leading supplier to oil refineries,” commented Lane, “they have clearly set a new standard in bringing advanced biofuels to the next level with their hydroprocessing technology, which has provided fuel for a number of flight tests by commercial airlines and the military over the past two years.
“In a tough year marked by financing delays, advanced biofuels for aviation have moved forward at a remarkably steady pace. UOP’s technology has proven to be an enabler of breakthroughs against the odds. That’s proven to be the winning formula in the marketplace as well as in these awards.”
CAAFI is a US-based cooperative effort launched in 2006 by airlines, airports, manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Administration to guide the development and deployment of alternative air transport fuels, and has since gathered around 300 members around the world. The ATW award identified CAAFI’s efforts in helping to lead approval of a new specification for alternative jet fuel that should pave the way for near-term approval of sustainable plant-based biofuels.
“ATA is extremely pleased that ATW has recognized how much CAAFI has accomplished in such a short time span to foster alternative aviation fuel development,” said James May, President and CEO of the Air Transport Association (ATA), which is a founding and principal member of CAAFI. “We are especially proud of our member airlines and all the other CAAFI players who are a part of this important partnership for their tremendous innovation in helping to make environmentally sound alternative energy a reality for aviation.”
The Airline of Year Award to Air New Zealand was in recognition of a commitment to safety, operational and customer service excellence, and also its leadership role in addressing environmental challenges facing the industry, including conducting the world’s first sustainable biofuel flight.
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