Sustainable aviation fuels derived from biomass (plants, trees, algae, waste and other organic matter bio-oils) offer the single largest opportunity to reduce emissions for airlines in the medium term while ensuring long-term fuel security for the sector. The aviation industry is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and has set a target of carbon neutral growth from 2020. The use of these fuels will significantly contribute towards achieving that target.
Virgin Australia has been actively supporting the development of sustainable aviation fuels since 2008. Throughout this period we have worked with Governments and key industry players to address the challenges associated with the development of this promising and exciting new industry.
We continue to lead industry efforts toward establishing a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia, including through our role as a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG): an international group of airlines focused on accelerating the development and commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels.
Australia-first Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative
In October 2017 Virgin Australia Group announced an initiative to trial sustainable aviation fuel through Brisbane Airport’s fuel supply system.
The initiative will see US-based renewable fuel and chemical producer Gevo Inc supply sustainable aviation fuel, or biojet, to the fuel supply infrastructure at Brisbane Airport. The biojet, which meets recognised international quality and safety standards, is planned to be blended with traditional jet fuel and supplied on flights departing Brisbane, including Virgin Australia flights, over a two year period.
Biojet contributes lower levels of carbon emissions compared to traditional fossil jet fuel on a life cycle basis and can be derived from sustainable sources including sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave. Biojet undergoes rigorous safety certification testing and is already used at major airports in Oslo and Los Angeles, including for Virgin Australia’s services between Los Angeles and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.