Amyris biojet fuels Airbus A350-900 for Cathay Pacific

By Amyris Inc. | June 14, 2016

Amyris Inc., the industrial bioscience company, recently announced that on May 29 Cathay Pacific commenced a two-year program of flights from Toulouse, France, to Hong Kong using Amyris renewable jet fuel.  The initial 12-hour flight was the longest flight using a renewable jet fuel to date, further underpinning the “drop-in” characteristics of Amyris biojet fuels. Cathay took delivery of a new Airbus A350-900 that flew from the Airbus facility in Toulouse to Hong Kong using a 10 percent biofuel jet blend provided by Amyris with the commercial and industrial support of Total S.A. The combination of the new airplane's improvements in fuel efficiency (about 25 percent better than current aircraft) and the fuel's properties resulted in an estimated 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions according to Cathay when compared to comparable flights in recent-generation aircraft using fossil fuels. All of Cathay's upcoming A350-900 aircraft deliveries over the next two years will use the Amyris/Total biojet fuel. 

"Amyris and Total have a leading position in the biojet space and we are excited by the potential of this quality fuel to help us achieve the objective of growing our fleet, whilst minimizing our CO2 emissions per passenger," said Jeff Ovens, head of Cathay Pacific's biofuel program.  "This two-year contract supporting regular, ultra-long haul flights, will provide us with valuable experience as we move closer toward commercial scale volumes of biojet becoming available over the next few years."

"We are proud of our accomplishments with Total in support of the future sustainability of air travel and believe we are leading in enabling the use of fossil fuel alternatives," said John Melo, Amyris president and CEO. "This is an exciting long-term opportunity to make a real difference in reducing the negative impact on our planet of both a growing population and increasing air travel. We are also encouraged to see airlines such as Cathay taking the lead, by committing to longer term contracts, investing in this emerging market and collaborating with suppliers such as Amyris.”

Amyris and Total created a sustainable sugar cane-derived, farnesene-based renewable jet fuel through a long-term renewable-fuels partnership using a process certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.  These flights represent another step toward projected long-term demand for farnesene for a variety of renewable products. In the area of jet fuels, the two parties have regularly showcased their advanced ability to sustainably fuel commercial jet transportation reliably and efficiently through existing infrastructure by fueling periodic flights for several major airlines. These flights are helping to pave the way for sustainable commercial air travel in the future based on improvements in biofuel economics.