9 June 2010
The introduction of biofuel use for commercial airline operations could be handled in a phased approach, starting with validation flights on short-haul airline routes during the next five-to-six years, according to EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti.
Speaking to reporters during a Berlin Air Show press conference, Botti said a pilot programme with biofuel-powered aircraft can be organised on routes such as Munich-Hamburg and Paris-Toulouse, allowing a realistic demonstration of the new technology.
EADS has partnered with IGV GmbH in the development of algae-based biofuels. This IGV photobioreactor, which multiplies microalgae, is exhibited at the Berlin Air Show.
Such operations should involve the full range of partners in the biofuel value chain, including biotech companies, refiners, engine manufacturers and the airlines themselves, he added.
“A realistic demonstration on shorter-haul flights, supported by an appropriately-sized infrastructure, would show whether the use of biofuel will work in an industrial way,” Botti told international journalists. “We need to make sure the entire value chain will be profitable. I want to insist on this: we are not looking for subsidies – if this technology is to really come on line, we need to make sure everyone is profitable.”
If successful, Botti said EADS would like to see at least 10 per cent of the worldwide fleet operating on biofuel by 2030.