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Boeing to produce jet fuel using gutter oil

2014-08-15 21:28 Ecns.cn Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

(ECNS) – China's gutter oil isn't all bad after all – it will help fly planes in the near future.

Boeing and its Chinese partner, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), are building a production line to turn gutter oil into aviation fuel. They can produce half a ton of such fuel every day starting next month.

In 2012, the two set up an Aviation Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction Technology Center to explore converting waste oil into jet fuel.

China has been struggling with gutter oil, or used cooking oil that is often resold to customers. Meanwhile, it consumes more than 20 million tons of jet fuel a year, creating a strong impetus to find a way to convert the country's waste oil into fuel.

"As the world's potentially biggest aviation market, China has a huge demand for aviation biofuel," said Wu Dongyang, Boeing vice president of Chinese technology and R&D. "Developing biofuel is also in line with the country's goal to tackle environmental pollution with sustainable energy."

China started research on aviation biofuel in 2009. In 2011, it launched the first trial flight of a passenger plane powered by a mix of biofuel and traditional aviation fuel. But the research faces great challenges, especially in cost, according to Ma Longlong, director of China's Bioenergy Industry Technology Innovation Alliance.

Wu said the Boeing program has cut the cost to less than half of traditional fossil fuel. If the government could offer a stimulus, the gutter oil-turned-biofuel could be put into large scale commercial use within 10 years, he said.

Boeing also partners with other countries, including the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, to develop sustainable biofuel.


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