At the time of writing this article, QANTAS flight 1120 is en route from Adelaide to Sydney on a return journey using a new sustainable aviation fuel derived from recycled cooking oil. Prior to launch earlier this morning, QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce announced that QANTAS would be conducting a feasibility study into the potential for an Australian sustainable aviation fuel industry.
The study, expected to start in May of this year and with technical support from Shell and funding from the Australian Government, will explore the conditions needed for the production of aviation biofuel from sustainable sources within Australia, said Joyce.
“Today is a historic occasion in Australian aviation,” Mr Joyce said. “We are delighted to be operating Australia’s first sustainable aviation fuel flights and to be launching a study into the feasibility of producing such fuel in this country.”
“Alternatives to conventional jet fuel are vital to the aviation industry meeting ambitious targets for carbon-neutral growth and emissions reduction.
“Australia has the skills, resources and infrastructure to take a lead in this emerging sector, which the CSIRO has estimated could generate up to 12,000 jobs over the next 20 years. But there are also significant challenges – which is why we need to establish a clear plan.
“Until sustainable aviation fuel is produced commercially at a price competitive with conventional jet fuel, we will not be able to realise its true benefits. This study aims to tell us how that can be achieved in Australia.”
Today’s flights were powered by a 50:50 blend of biofuel and conventional jet fuel, supplied by SkyNRG and certified for use in commercial aviation. The blend’s ‘life cycle’ carbon footprint is around 60 per cent smaller than that of conventional jet fuel.