Frequent flyers could soon not have to worry about being lambasted about their carbon footprint after the successful commercial trial of a biojet fuel produced from woody chips via gasification Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis technology.

Japan’s Toyo Engineering in collaboration with New Energy, Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Mitsubishi Power, Jera and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency achieved the flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from woody biomass.

"Based on the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), SAF derived from woody biomass through FT synthesis technology can reduce more than 90% of CO2 compared to regular petroleum-derived aviation fuel," Toyo told Upstream.

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The SAF was used on a Japan Airlines’ commercial flight from Tokyo to Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, on 17 June.

The project has been in development for four years under the auspices of NEDO's Biojet Fuel Production Technology Development Project, which envisages commercialisation of biojet fuel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions attributable to jet fuel usage.

The demonstration plant, which can process 0.7 tonnes per day of woody biomass and produce around 27 litres per day of neat biojet fuel, was built on the premises of Jera’s Shin-Nagoya thermal power station.

The aviation industry, including the ICAO, is working on measures to curb global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with aircraft operations, and the introduction of SAF is positioned as one of the effective means, added Toyo.

The Japanese company said it would “continue to promote efforts toward the establishment of commercial-scale biojet fuel production technology with its FT synthesis technology and contribute to carbon neutrality and reduction of global environmental load in the aviation field”.