Boeing-COMAC Tech Center unveils first biofuel research project
A newly formed technology center created by Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China has announced that Hangzhou Energy Engineering & Technology, Co. Ltd. will conduct the center's first research project.
HEET, a company with experience developing alternative energy technologies, will focus on ways to convert discarded cooking oil into a component of sustainable aviation biofuel at the Boeing-COMAC Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Center.
The project aims to identify contaminants in waste cooking oil, which often is described in China as "gutter oil," and processes that may treat and clean it for use as jet fuel. The focus of the project for the first year will be to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving significant cost reduction in converting gutter oils and other waste oils into jet fuel through improvement of conversion efficiency and associated technology.
The Boeing-COMAC technology center is working with China-based universities and research institutions to expand knowledge in areas such as sustainable aviation biofuels and air traffic management that improve commercial aviation's efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
Funded by both companies, the center opened in August at COMAC's new Beijing Aeronautical Science and Technology Research Institute.
"As one of the member organizations of COMAC, BASTRI was built for carrying out civil aviation industry research and we aim at expanding knowledge in sustainable aviation biofuels and carbon emissions reduction," said Qin Fuguang, president of BASTRI, COMAC. "China is the world's fastest growing aviation market and the biggest consumer of cooking oil. There's great potential for converting the waste cooking oil into sustainable aviation fuel. It's a good opportunity for Boeing, HEET and COMAC to work together and make efforts to protect the environment."
"HEET is a strong partner for the Boeing-COMAC technology center's 'gutter oil' research project," said Dong Yang Wu, vice president of Boeing Research & Technology - China. "We are excited about opportunities to partner with leading research capabilities in China to accelerate the global push for renewable jet fuels and support commercial aviation's growth while reducing its environmental footprint."
Waste cooking oil shows potential as a feedstock for sustainable aviation biofuel production and an alternative to petroleum-based fuel because China annually consumes approximately 29 million tons of cooking oil, while its aviation system uses 20 million tons of jet fuel. Finding more efficient ways to convert "gutter oil" into jet fuel could increase regional biofuel supplies and improve biofuel's affordability, enhancing the potential for commercial use.