SHANGHAI -- Boeing (IW 500/13) has set up a facility with a Chinese firm to transform waste cooking oil -- the source of repeated food safety scandals -- into jet fuel, it said Wednesday.
Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) will use a plant plant in the eastern city of Hangzhou to convert "gutter oil", a Chinese term for used cooking oil.
COMAC is the country's main commercial aircraft company, and could eventually compete with the US firm. It is building a regional jet and narrow body airliner, the C919.
The two companies estimate that waste oil in China could yield 500 million gallons of biofuel annually.
Sustainably produced biofuel, which reduces carbon emissions by 50% to 80% compared to petroleum through its lifecycle, is expected to play a key role in supporting aviation's growth while meeting environmental goals.
China is a key market for Boeing, which estimates China will need 6,020 new airplanes valued at $870 billion through 2033.
Boeing and COMAC have been collaborating since 2012 to support the growth of China's commercial aviation industry. Their Boeing-COMAC Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Center in Beijing works with Chinese universities and research institutions to expand knowledge in areas that improve aviation's efficiency, such as aviation biofuel and air traffic management.
Biofuel produced by the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project will meet international specifications approved in 2011 for jet fuel made from plant oils and animal fats. This type of biofuel has already been used for more than 1,600 commercial flights.
Boeing rival Airbus and Chinese energy giant Sinopec said in 2012 that they would also develop renewable aviation fuel production for regular commercial use in China.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014, IW Staff