Honeywell partners in biobased jet fuels project

By Hope Deutscher
Honeywell Aerospace and Des Plaines, Ill.-based UOP LLC, a Honeywell International company, are partnering with Airbus SAS, JetBlue Airways and International Aero Engines to study the use of sustainable biofuels in commercial aircrafts.

Renewable energy technology that would convert feedstocks to commercial aviation fuels will be developed and tested. The project will specifically focus on second-generation feedstocks such as algae, which don't compete with food or water resources.

The exact timeline for this project is still in development, said Susan Gross, communications manager for UOP. "Airbus has stated that it hopes to be testing fuel on aircraft within 24 months and have the fuel approved for use on commercial aircraft within three years," she said.

Each of the partners play a specific role in studying and understanding the use of renewable fuels on commercial airlines based on their talents and expertise, Gross said. Airbus will test the fuel on all airframe components. UOP will develop the processes to convert the biological feedstocks to fuel, and Honeywell Aerospace will assess the performance of the fuel as it relates to the aircraft auxiliary power unit. International Aero Engines will review and approve the characteristics of the alternative fuel for use in a commercial engine application, and assess the performance and emission characteristics of the engines as they use this alternative fuel. JetBlue Airways will take all in-service operational aspects into consideration and will participate in much of the ground- and flight-testing of the fuel once all preliminary tests have been conducted with satisfactory results.

"Biofuels hold tremendous potential to meet growing fuel demand while reducing life cycle greenhouse gas emissions," said Jennifer Holmgren, director of the renewable energy and chemicals business for UOP. "This partnership brings together a range of aviation and process technology expertise to study and verify the best path toward the sustainable
use of biofuels in aviation."

Honeywell Aerospace, which provides expertise in engine technology for commercial aircraft, has been setting the standards in low emissions and fuel efficiency, including a wide range of auxiliary power units for Airbus aircraft. "Honeywell is working alongside key customers to find innovative solutions to meet passenger and operator demands for higher standards in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Greg Albert, Honeywell Aerospace vice president for Airbus programs. "We believe this joint effort, along with Honeywell's advanced technology solutions in air traffic management, have the potential to significantly decrease pollutants."