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July 8, 2014

Brazilian Airline Experimenting with Biokerosene Fuel

The aviation industry in Brazil is experimenting with sustainable fuel technology as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. Estimates are that commercial aviation accounts for 2% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. The most promising sustainable fuel appears to biokerosene, which is a mixture of 4% corn oil and kerosene.

Airplanes utilizing this fuel have already been flown in Brazil. The aviation company Gol Airlines made its first biokerosene flight in early June and has since made over 200 flights using the new fuel. Gol Airlines imported 69 tons of biokerosene from a refinery in Pasadena, California, which has invested about a half a million dollars developing the fuel.

According to the International Air Transportation Association, by the year 2050, it is estimated that the aviation industry could use 125 billion liters of biokerosene per year. They would like to see 50% of the kerosene replaced over the next four decades with a more sustainable fuel such as biokerosene.

The governor of the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil believes there is a tremendous potential for the fuel and has launched a program designed to jumpstart the sustainable aviation fuel industry in his state. According to a spokesperson for the governor, the sustainable aviation fuel sector is a new frontier and he would like to see biokerosene to be as commonly used in aviation as ethanol is used in automobiles.