KLM Royal Ducth Airlines will fly more than 200 flights between Paris and Amsterdam using bio kerosene starting in September 2011. Hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel is processed using used cooking oil and handled by Dynamic Fuels at its Geismar plant and supplied by SkyNRG.
Dynamic Fuels is a joint venture formed in 2007 between Syntroleum Corporation and Tyson Foods for the production of synthetic fuels from animal fats and greases. Tyson Foods is one of the largest chicken providers in the world and Syntroleum Corporation is an American company engaged in development and commercialization of proprietary gas to liquids (GTL) and coal to liquids (CTL) processes known jointly as the Syntroleum Process. The plant will use Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining Technology to make the renewable fuels from the feedstocks of Tyson Foods.
Bio-Synfining is essentially a biomass-optimized third-stage of Syntroleum’s full Fischer-Tropsch-based synthetic fuels process. The three basic elements of which are (1) gasification, (2) the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, and (3) the upgrading of the resulting F-T wax. Bio-Synfining in essence treats fats, greases and vegetables oils as a Fischer-Tropsch wax and upgrades them to renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel.
Currently hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel is being engineered to be combined with conventional jet fuel for up to a 50% blend. That being said, KLM is open to using different materials to reach their end product goal of full bio kerosene. The only restraint is that the end product must meet a range of sustainability criteria such as reductions in CO2 emissions and minimum negative impact on biodiversity and food supply. All biofeuls that are used by KLM must have the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene and must not require any adjustments to aircraft engines or infrastructure.
KLM does support the view held and published in the WWF’s Energy Report which states that alternative fuels made from biomass are the only appropriate replacement for fossil fuels for specific industries such as the airline industry:
“The route to 100% sustainable energy is enormously challenging. The costs of biofuels need to come down substantially and permanently. This can be achieved through innovation, collaboration and the right legislation that stimulates biofuel in the airline industry, but with an eye on honest competition. We really need to move forward together to attain continuous access to sustainable fuel.” —managing director Camiel Eurlings
The idea of using food for fuel is indeed controversial. KLM is, thankfully, acknowledging the negative impact of food for fuel, taking steps to limit the impact on food supplies, and siding with environmental agencies such as the WWF. KLM has been committed to developing sustainable biofuel since 2007 and is an industry leader in the field of fuel efficiency.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.