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Australia can lead the way on low carbon air travel

25 May 2011
Australia can lead the way on low carbon air travel

MELBOURNE: The Climate Group today joined with aviation industry leaders including Boeing, Qantas and Virgin Australia, as well as the CSIRO, to launch a report outlining the viability of using sustainable bio-derived aviation fuel for Australia and New Zealand.

The report, Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation, predicts that over the next 20 years a new, sustainable, Australia-New Zealand aviation fuels industry could cut greenhouse gas emissions from air travel by 17 per cent, generate more than 12,000 jobs and reduce Australia’s reliance on aviation fuel imports by $2 billion per annum.

Rupert Posner, The Climate Group’s Global Director of Energy and a contributor to the 12-month project, said the report represented an important milestone in the development of a more sustainable aviation industry for the region.

“Tackling climate change does not mean abandoning air-travel and the huge benefits it has brought to Australia. The only way to effectively deal with climate change long term is with solutions that maintain or improve our quality of life. That is what a clean revolution is all about,” he said.

“Bio-derived aviation fuel is a proven technology that we know can help cut the emissions caused by flying. This report shows it is possible to pioneer a new Australian industry to produce it and create thousands of jobs in the process.

“Now we know it can be done, both economically and environmentally, the challenge for government and business is to swiftly make it happen.

“Australia can lead the way on low carbon air travel. The collaboration by all members of the aviation sector to undertake this ground breaking report bodes well for addressing the climate change challenge the industry undoubtedly faces.

Sustainable bio-derived jet fuel complies with social, environmental and economic criteria, which includes not impacting on food security or the environment and results in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."

The report found that the production of commercially viable quantities of aviation fuels derived from non-food biomass sources (eg: crop stubble, forestry residues, municipal waste and algae) is a feasible option for Australia and New Zealand. It also found there are currently sufficient biomass stocks to support a local jet fuel industry.

The report identifies several major actions that are required by 2015 to ensure the industry can be established. These include:

  • Creation of a supportive market structure and supply chain
  • Development of refining plants
  • Certification and independent verification to ensure sustainability of the fuel.

Participants in the study include: Airbus, Australian Defence Force, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Bioenergy Association of New Zealand, Biofuels Association of Australia, GE, Honeywell UOP, New South Wales Office of Biofuels, Pratt & Whitney, Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Rolls-Royce, Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Division, South Australian Department of Premier & Cabinet, The Climate Group and Victorian Department of Innovation, and Regional Development. The project also engaged international organisations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels.

Download a copy of the full report.

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