We develop future biofuels Biofuels offer long-term potential

Alternative fuels

We are working with customers and fuel companies to ensure that future biofuels, which will be part of the solution for aviation towards 2050, meet our requirements. These fuels must be technically suitable for use in engines and aircraft fuel systems. They must also meet sustainability criteria, including not competing for land or fresh water supplies at the expense of food crops. Finally they must be used in the most effective way to maximise the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

For example, as part of the US Federal Aviation Administration's CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy Emissions and Noise) technologies programme, we are undertaking a programme along with British Airways to evaluate novel sustainable aviation fuels or fuel blends. These fuels have been selected based on their novelty relative to fuels currently certified. The aim of the programme is to advance the scientific understanding of the performance of these fuels which may offer the prospect of significantly lower life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional kerosene. The programme also supports the inclusion of non-petroleum based products in jet fuel to provide benefits in terms of fuel price stability, availability and possibly engine performance and emissions.

The results and information from this programme will contribute to existing industry work streams aimed at enabling the increased use of sustainable fuels for aviation.The rig and engine testing is being carried out in our University Technology Centre at the University of Sheffield, UK and at our testing facilities in Derby, UK. One of the rig tests will use a British Airways gas turbine auxiliary power unit. Fifty per cent of the funding has been provided by the US FAA CLEEN Technologies programme.

Related case studies