Coalition of visionary airlines and leading fuel technology innovator join World's first Global Algae Trade Association to advocate for further development as sustainable fuel source
SEATTLE, JUNE 19, 2008 - Leading global air carriers Air New Zealand, Continental, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and biofuel technology developer UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, today announced they will be the first wave of aviation-related members to join the newly formed Algal Biomass Organization (ABO).
Together with Boeing (NYSE:BA), which co-chairs the ABO, the airlines are advocating for the identification and acceleration of new generations of fuel sources for the industry that have lower life cycle carbon emissions; in this case sustainable algae-based biofuels.
"There is significant interest across multiple sectors in the potential of algae as an energy source and nowhere is that more evident than in aviation," said Billy Glover, ABO co-chair and managing director of Environmental Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"Air transportation is a vital contributor to global economic prosperity, but is being threatened by record rises in fuel costs. Together we recognize that algae have the potential to help offset those fuel costs, while also contributing to improved environmental performance for the aviation industry."
Boeing and leading airlines are stepping forward to help commercialize sustainable, next-generation biofuels for use in commercial jetliners, with algae being one of the plant-based fuel sources being explored. Air New Zealand, Continental, Virgin Atlantic, Honeywell's UOP, and Boeing will work together through the ABO to generate more sustainable fuel options by pushing for long-term innovation and investment in algae as an energy form.
Air New Zealand Deputy Chief Executive Norm Thompson says the Algal Biomass Organization will play a pivotal role in the development of more sustainable fuels for aviation.
"No one airline, research organization or scientific group holds the key to making air travel more environmentally sustainable. It must be a collective effort across research organizations, aircraft and engine manufacturers, fuel companies, refiners and airlines. Therefore, we are naturally delighted to be at the forefront of this latest effort to take aviation into a greener future," says Mr Thompson.
"Algae really could be a solution to help airlines produce lower carbon emissions. Crucially, it is a source of fuel which doesn't lead to deforestation or the taking away of land or water from the cultivation of essential food crops," said Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard Branson.
"Virgin Atlantic is delighted to be supporting the work of the Algal Biomass Organization in building knowledge of this innovative new technology, and accelerating the commercialization of algae to help produce a more sustainable aviation industry."
"The use of algae and other second generation feedstocks is absolutely necessary to achieve long-term, sustainable biofuels," said Jennifer Holmgren, director of UOP Renewable Energy and Chemicals.
"The efforts of companies like Boeing, Air New Zealand, Continental and Virgin Atlantic Airways will help to bring the focus and effort that is needed to ultimately make these resources a commercial reality."
With a portfolio approach to sustainable biofuels likely necessary, multiple biomass sources including algae, jatropha, halophytes and others are being evaluated against stringent sustainability criteria including non-competition with food, fresh water or land-use resources. The group's involvement in the ABO highlights the aviation industry's move toward identification, development and certification of advanced generation fuel sources. Working with refining segment leaders like UOP will help ensure that advanced generation biofuels can be produced in the most sustainable and energy efficient manner possible.
To effectively address a high volume of claims being made regarding algae and its potential, 400 leading global algae experts established the Algal Biomass Organization to advocate for viable algae markets and technologies. Unlike other second-generation biofuel options, algae will require technological breakthroughs to become viable and the ABO will provide a single, collective voice regarding ongoing efforts.
Algae have shown significant potential to address some of the world's most pressing issues, such as climate and pollution concerns including carbon emission reductions, alternative fuel sources and global economic development. As one of the fastest growing and most productive plants in the world, the unique characteristics of algae enable them to be developed for a number of uses:
Renewable Fuels: Algae are an ideal low cost, renewable and environmentally progressive raw material that can be converted into biofuels. They can grow rapidly (doubling in biomass in as little as a few hours), require limited nutrients, and can annually deliver up to 2,000-5,000 gallons of fuel per acre of non-arable land.
Environment: Algae do not require fresh water to thrive and so they will not compete for limited supplies of fresh water. In addition, they can also be used to clean wastewater and to recycle greenhouse gases such as CO2, NOx and SOx. As the algae grow, they can be harvested and converted to next- generation biofuels.
Economic Development: As developing nations continue to look for ways to spur economic development, algae-based industries can be a central part of an overall strategy. Many developing nations currently import nearly 100 percent of their fuel. An algae-based energy strategy provides a way to either reduce oil import costs, create fuel/feedstock export revenue, or both without competing with food crops.
About the ABO:
The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and advocate for the development of commercially-viable transportation and power generation fuels as well as other non-energy applications for algae biomass. Its membership is comprised of people, companies and organizations across the value chain.
More information about ABO, including its leadership, membership, costs, benefits and members and their affiliations, is available at http://www.algalbiomass.org/. Member organizations will gather for the 2nd Annual Algae Biomass Summit in Seattle in October.
NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.
For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.