A new project from Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room called RenewableJetFuels.org seeks to improve access to low-carbon jet fuels for airplanes and stimulate a shift to 50% sustainable fuels in the global airline industry by 2020. The new project was announced alongside the Durban climate talks, and seeks to fill the “information gap” between airlines and their choices of sustainable fuels.
Previously, airlines had access to very little information if they wanted to embrace sustainable jet fuels. And if they did find a company that provided low-carbon jet fuels, they had no effective way to rate the economic viability and stability of the company’s new fuels.
But that’s where RenewableJetFuels.org factors into the equation, as it provides an online database of companies aiming to produce commercial scale sustainable-fuel for aviation.
Not only does it reveal which companies actually have viable low-carbon jet fuels, it assesses and rates them in terms of economic and environmental sustainability. When producers make improvements to their fuel, they can submit the information to RenewableJetFuels.org for review by experts. Airlines therefore have access to up-to-date and accurate information on which producers are leading the way in low-carbon jet fuel.
Branson believes that providing airlines with access to the right information will accelerate the uptake of sustainable jet fuels.
“Unlike cars where there are millions of filling stations, there are only about 1,700 aviation stations in the world. So if you can get the right fuel, like mass-produced algae, then getting it to 1,700 outlets is not so difficult,” said Branson in an interview with the Guardian.
Already, Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic has pilot projects scheduled for a new low-carbon jet fuel derived from industrial waste. It plans to begin commercial operation of its new jet fuel by 2014 in China.
Image: snapshot from Carbon War Room video