Airbus, Boeing and Embraer Launch Joint Biofuels Project

The aircraft makers aim to come up with a so-called 'drop-in' technology that all airplane models could use, regardless of the make.

Plane manufacturers and bitter rivals Airbus SAS and Boeing Co., along with Brazil's Embraer SA, on Thursday announced a joint plan to develop affordable biofuels for the airplane industry.

The airplane sector leaders agreed to seek opportunities "to speak in unity" to government and biofuel producers "to support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources," a joint statement from the companies said.

The companies aim to come up with a so-called "drop-in" technology that all airplane models could use, regardless of the make.

Airbus (IW 1000/56) and Boeing (IW 500/15) already have launched programs independently to develop alternatives to kerosene -- a major greenhouse gas pollutant -- to power their airplanes.

"We are all committed to take a leading role in the development of technology programs that will facilitate aviation biofuels development and actual application faster than if we were doing it independently," said Paulo Cesar Silva, CEO of Embraer (IW 1000/644).

The aircraft makers said they are committed to reducing the industry's substantial carbon footprint, the term commonly used for emissions of greenhouse gases.

"We've achieved a lot in the last 10 years in reducing our industry's (carbon) CO2 footprint -- a 45% traffic growth with only 3% more fuel consumption," Airbus CEO Tom Enders said.

Airbus on Wednesday announced a project with airline Virgin Australia to explore biofuel production from eucalyptus leaves that grow in arid regions.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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