Boeing and EPFL form research initiative to increase collaboration and lower costs on regulatory requirements and certification for renewable jet fuel

Boeing and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have formed the Sustainable Biomass Consortium, a research initiative focused on increasing collaboration between voluntary standards and regulatory requirements for biomass used to create jet fuel and bioenergy for other sectors. The consortium also will seek to lower overall sustainability certification costs.

The Sustainable Biomass Consortium will conduct collaborative research with environmental organizations, governments and civil society groups to help align regional and regulatory requirements, while bolstering the ability to provide independent verification of the sustainability and traceability of biomass sources.

The consortium will work closely with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), with the

intent of putting aviation on a path to compliance and accreditation, while providing guidance for developing local economies and access to other markets.

Research projects will commence in April 2011 and the scope of work over the next two years will include projects in China, Africa, the EU, Latin America, North America and Australasia. Specifics will be announced as projects are launched, and more than 10 are currently in development.

With increasing environmental, regulatory and social pressures on aviation, having harmonized standards for sustainable biofuel development is crucial. Our industry needs these fuel sources and this consortium will help ensure we have a transparent way to collaborate among certification processes that guide us toward a more sustainable future.

—Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environmental and Aviation Policy Billy Glover

In partnership with important international stakeholders, the EPFL Energy Center established the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and initiated the development of a highly recognized standard for sustainable biofuels production. Now that the certification using the RSB standard is being launched, the Sustainable Biomass consortium provides a unique opportunity to initiate a process to further make sustainability certification even more practical and needs-oriented.

—Energy Center Director, Professor Hans Björn Püttgen

The Sustainable Biomass Consortium will use current aviation biofuel initiatives to launch its regional benchmarking efforts, based on the global sustainability standard of the RSB, which this week announced its certification system. Boeing and EPFL are also funding the creation of a fact base for transparent analysis of existing sustainability standards and supporting aspects including the construction of verification and tracking systems. The effort is expected to take 3-5 years and is open to other third-party participation.

Sustainable biofuel development is a key element of aviation’s strategy for lowering its carbon emissions. Only biomass sources that provide an overall lifecycle carbon reduction benefit, don’t distort the global food-chain, compete with fresh water resources or lead to natural habitat loss or unintended land use change are being considered.

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