The Persian Gulf Emirate of Qatar, together with Qatar Airways, Qatar Science and Technology Park and Petroleum Company have started a new biofuel project to power commercial airliners, including large ones such as Airbus.
As noted in a Gulf Times article, along with Qatar’s own air transport and technology concerns, the Emirate has also enlisted the cooperation of the giant European Airbus consortium to be a partner in this venture, which will work towards a sustainable Biomass to Liquid (BTL) aviation fuel.
We’ve already noted some promising bio-fuel projects taking place in and around the Middle East, including one taking place out of bacteria from a salt lake in Iran using the microalgae, Chamydomonas. Another project, involving a company named MME New Diesel, will help provide a “bio-link” between Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinians. Biofuel can be good for the environment and peaceful cooperative endeavours.
The Qatar bio jet fuel project will operate as the Qatar Airways Bio-fuel Project (QABP), created by Qatar Airways after researching sustainable biomass-to-liquid jet fuel projects and possible by-products such as bio diesel. The project is in partnership with the US-based Verno Systems, a company providing advisory and management services in the advanced biofuel industry.
Qatar Airways CEO, Sheikh Akbar Al-Baker, said:
“QABP will initiate activities in preparing a detailed engineering and implementation plan for economically viable and sustainable bio fuel production, bio fuel investment strategy, advanced technology development program and ongoing market and strategic analysis.”
Scientists working on the project stress the importance of developing specific biofuel feed stocks that will not affect the food and fresh water supply chain. Though not specifically noted in the article, the use of biofuels such as algae could be a great benefit as these forms of algae can be grown in salt lakes and marshes, sewage waste water and other aquatic sources where these forms of algae would ordinarily be considered as a nuisance, with no viable value.
Qatar Airways was in the news last October when one of its airliners made a successful flight powered by a gas-to-liquid fuel blend. Although the outcome of this biofuel project will be very beneficial to Qatar Airways, the resulting fuels developed will be very useful to other airline companies as well.
As noted by Sheikh Al Baker:
“Everyone is concerned about environment protection, and Qatar Airways has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry and is getting closer to the ‘much talked about’ carbon neutral growth.”
Although Qatar Airways has both Boeing and Airbus passenger airlines in its fleet, Sheikh Al-Baker stressed the importance of Airbus’ interest in the project and noted that in the development of projects for alternative fuels, Airbus has been more interested in this subject than Boeing.
Photo via www.wikipedia.org
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