China begins testing first local aviation biofuel

Date: 
February 29, 2012

China Petrochemical Corp, or Sinopec Group, announced yesterday that it had successfully produced China’s first jet biofuel at its chemical plant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province

Sinopec, which contributes 73 percent of China’s jet fuel, said it has applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) aviation administration to undergo an aircraft airworthiness examination.

CAAC acknowledged yesterday that it had officially started to test Sinopec’s biofuel through laboratory experiments and test flights in accordance with relevant procedures and international standards, but did not say when the biofuel may be approved for use in commercial aircraft.

If successful this could be a major step towards China’s ambitions of reducing the use of fossil fuels to power its aviation fleet and meet its emissions targets

China is expected to use 12 million metric tonnes of aviation biofuels by 2020, accounting for 30 percent of the country's total use of jet fuel, according to Li Jian, deputy director of the CAAC.

The market value of jet biofuels will exceed 120 billion yuan (USD19 billion) by 2020, Li told the China Daily said on Tuesday.

He said the new carbon-emissions tax the European Union is imposing on airlines will prompt China to develop jet biofuels, which will be put into wide commercial use before 2020, when the country is expected to be using more than 40 million metric tonnes of jet fuel a year.

Li said the move has demonstrated China's carbon emission reduction efforts, as aviation biofuel, which is made from renewable resources, produces much less carbon dioxide than traditional aviation kerosene in flight. Sinopec is also actively seeking new raw materials for aviation biofuel, including waste cooking oil and seaweeds, according to the company.