The renewable energy investment company Rosebud Energy Deutschland is ready to invest $500 million in research in Israel for the production of algae-based bio jet fuel, the Israeli business newspaper Globes reported yesterday.
John Antoniadis, the CEO of the German company, met last week in Israel with Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan and Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau, as well as with potential strategic partners. Antoniadis revealed that Rosebud Energy Deutschland has a signed commitment from a large European airline to buy algae-based bio jet fuel from the company.
The third phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), scheduled to enter effect in 2013, is expected to greatly boost the market for green jet fuel. Under the new ETS regulations, airlines landing in EU member states will be required to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 15% a year, or else pay a fine for air pollution.
According to Dr. Isaac Berzin, founding director of the Institute for Renewable Energy Policy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, the fines will make algae-based biofuel a more viable alternative to conventional jet fuel. “A market for bio jet fuel has been created, which is competitive in price to regular fuel when the emissions fine is added,” he explains. Israel can play a leading role in this field, Berzin told Globes, but it must act quickly to exploit this window of opportunity.
Environment Minister Erdan concurs: “If there is a body willing to finance this, and the entrepreneur says that he already has a contract with a European airline for the sale of the product, all that’s left for us is to allocate land and find a way to get the carbon dioxide, which the algae consume, to the area. We only have to find the right way to do it.”