Qantas has announced its Los Angeles-based aircraft will be powered by biofuel from 2020, reducing the airline’s carbon emissions on its services operating between the US and Australia.
The goal is to have the LAX to Australia flight powered on an ongoing basis by 50% non-food plant based biofuel and 50% traditional jet fuel starting in 2020.
Over the next ten years, the airline will buy eight million gallons (30 million litres) of renewable jet fuel each year from US based bio-energy company, SG Preston.
The fuel consists of 50 per cent renewable jet fuel produced from non-food plant oils, blended with 50 per cent traditional jet fuel. Compared to standard jet fuel, the biofuel emits half the amount of carbon emissions per gallon over its life cycle.
CEO of Qantas International and Freight Gareth Evans said the commercial biofuel agreement is the first of its kind in Australian aviation history.
“The partnership with SG Preston is part of our commitment to lowering carbon emissions across our operations and sees us becoming the first Australian airline to use renewable jet fuel on an ongoing basis.
“Our agreement with SG Preston allows us to secure a supply for our Los Angeles-based aircraft, where we have a large fuel demand and where the biofuel industry is more advanced.
“Through our biofuel program we are also exploring renewable jet fuel opportunities in Australia and continue to work with suppliers to develop locally produced biofuels for aviation use.
Renewable jet fuel is chemically equivalent to, and meets the same technical, performance and safety standards as conventional jet fuel. SG Preston’s biofuel is produced from renewable plant oils, which do not compete with food production and which meet Qantas’ stringent sustainability certification requirements.
The announcement comes after a 5-year-long testing period. In 2012, Qantas and Jetstar operated what Qantas says were Australia’s first biofuel trial flights. Qantas’ A330 Sydney-Adelaide return service and Jetstar’s A320 Melbourne-Hobart return service were both powered with biofuel derived from used cooking oil (split with 50:50 conventional jet fuel) certified for use in commercial aviation.