Two commercial flights, which were recently completed in Japan, used a blend containing renewable jet fuel created from microalgae. Employing the Honeywell/UOP Ecofining process, the commercial flights were the first use of the new ASTM D7566 Annex 7 standard for fuel used in commercial jet engines. The flights were carried out by Japan Airlines on an Airbus A350-900, and All Nippon Airways on a Boeing 787-8.
The microalgae oil feed was produced by the Japanese-based IHI Corporation, which approached UOP with the novel algal oil for production of renewable jet fuel using UOP Ecofining. The first technology used for commercial production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF,) Honeywell UOP’s Ecofining process has been used to produce SAF commercially since 2016.
Following a rigorous testing process, the SAF produced by the UOP’s received regulatory approval from ASTM to meet jet fuel standard D7566 Annex 7. Fuel that conforms to this standard has the same material properties as existing jet fuel (kerosene), and even if it is mixed with existing fuel, it does not require modification of existing infrastructure or aircraft materials such as engines or fuel supply facilities. As a drop in-fuel, it can be used in the operation of commercial aircraft around the world as well as in Japan.
“We began working on this next-generation technology to reduce CO₂ emissions related to air transportation,” said Tomoo Mizuno, Associated Director and Head of Algae-based Biofuel Group, of IHI Corporation. “And we chose to work with Honeywell UOP due to its proven track record with Ecofining technology. After the successful large-scale culturing of microalgae to produce the algal oil and testing in Thailand, we worked with UOP to develop batches of the fuel in the U.S.”
The UOP technology remains the only commercially demonstrated process for 100% production of SAF in the world. Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™ produced this way is blended seamlessly with petroleum-based jet fuel at commercial scale. When used in up to a 50% blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight.
Jointly developed with Eni SpA, the UOP Ecofining process converts non-edible natural oils, animal fats and other waste feedstocks to Honeywell Green Diesel™ and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™, which is chemically identical to petroleum-based counterparts. Both products offer improved performance over commercial petroleum-based diesel and jet fuels and can be used as a drop-in replacement for up to a 10% blend with petroleum aviation fuel in aircraft with no equipment modifications.
The Ecofining technology is used in most 100%-biofeed units producing renewable diesel and all the licensed renewable jet fuel production in the world today. UOP currently has licensed 24 Ecofining units in eleven countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks.
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