Gulf Air joins research on aviation bio-fuel
Manama, September 25, 2008
Gulf Air has joined an industry consortium which aims to develop bio-fuel for aircraft by 2013.
Bahrain's national carrier is the only Middle East airline taking part in the project. It is partnering with eight other airlines, including Air France and KLM, along with Boeing and refining technology developer, Honeywell UOP, to fund research which will produce environmentally-friendly economic fuel.
The consortium's charter is to enable the commercial use of renewable fuel sources that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while lessening commercial aviation's exposure to oil price volatility and dependence on fossil fuels.
'Gulf Air has always been a pioneering airline, and this agreement underlines our commitment to actually tackling climate change through the introduction of clean and green technologies,' said Gulf Air chief executive officer Bjorn Naf.
'The project will provide cheaper fuel with a considerably lower carbon footprint than traditional aviation fuel and its production is geared to have no impact on existing food production,' he said.
'Gulf Air's goals for innovation, sustainability, and greener flying are bold and comprehensive,' he added.
'By being actively involved in this bio-fuel initiative, Gulf Air believes it can play a key role in addressing today's environmental challenges, and help build a better future for our children, the local community and the world,' he said.
'Our long term corporate social responsibility (CSR) vision combines economic benefit with conservation and sustainability,' said Gulf Air chief strategy officer Tero Taskila, who is heading the bio-fuel initiative.
'The bio-fuel programme is one of our first initiatives towards achieving our vision which we hope in the long run will result in substantial return on investment for all the stakeholders.
'Airlines that have introduced next generation sustainability programmes have already seen substantial cost savings while efficiently managing their carbon footprint.'
The consortium has announced two initial sustainability research projects.
Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, through funding provided by Boeing, will conduct the first comprehensive sustainability assessment of jatropha curcas, a poisonous shrub that can be used to produce bio-fuels.
And the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) will conduct a comprehensive assessment of algae for the creation of fuel, to ensure it meets the group's stringent sustainability criteria.
'This consortium comes at just the right time to help airlines cut costs and decrease their greenhouse gas emissions,' said NRDC senior attorney Liz Barratt-Brown.
'If done right, sustainable bio-fuels could lower the airlines' carbon footprint at a time when all industries need to be moving away from fuels with high levels of global warming pollution, especially high carbon tar sands and liquid coal.' - TradeArabia News Service