Amyris/Total enter into two-year agreement to supply renewable jet fuel for Cathay Pacific A350 delivery flights
Using Amyris renewable jet fuel, Cathay Pacific's first A350 arrives in Hong Kong
Wed 15 June 2016 – A 10% blend of Amyris renewable jet fuel was used to power the delivery flight of the first Airbus A350 XWB to enter the Cathay Pacific fleet. With support from fuel giant Total, the flight marked the start of an agreement with Cathay that will see the blended sustainable sugar cane-derived fuel used on all A350 delivery flights over the next two years. The A350-900 flight from the manufacturer’s base in Toulouse to Hong Kong was the longest to date using renewable jet fuel, claim the partners. The combination of the new aircraft’s 25% improvement in fuel efficiency and the renewable fuel’s properties resulted in an estimated 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to flights of the aircraft it will replace. In 2014, Cathay also entered into an equity deal and offtake agreement with US municipal solid waste to jet fuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy.
The Amyris renewable jet fuel process, which has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, involves converting plant sugars through fermentation into a hydrocarbon molecular structure called farnesene. The fuel is produced at the Amyris biorefinery in south-eastern Brazil and has already been used in commercial flights by Brazilian carrier GOL, following ASTM certification for the process in 2014 (see article).
“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 Amyris CEO John Melo. “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.”
Cathay has ordered 48 A350-900 aircraft in all and this first aircraft will be used mainly on regional flights until more arrive to join the fleet from the third quarter of this year, when the aircraft will be deployed on various long-haul routes, including London Gatwick and Dusseldorf.
Commenting on the Amyris agreement, the Head of Cathay Pacific’s Biofuel Programme, Jeff Ovens, said: “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.”
Under its arrangement with Fulcrum, Cathay has negotiated a long-term supply agreement for an initial 375 million US gallons of jet biofuel over 10 years, representing around 2% of the carrier’s annual jet fuel consumption (see article).