Honeywell announced its UOP Ecofining technology supported the world’s first jet flights using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced from algal oil.
Two commercial flights, which were recently completed in Japan, used a blend containing renewable jet fuel created from microalgae feedstock using the Ecofining process. The commercial flights were the first use of the new ASTM D7566 Annex 7 standard for fuel used in commercial jet engines, and were carried out by Japan Airlines on an Airbus A350-900, and All Nippon Airways on a Boeing 787-8.
The microalgae oil feed was produced by the Japanese-based IHI Corporation, which approached UOP with the novel algal oil for production of renewable jet fuel through the use of UOP Ecofining, the first technology used for commercial production of SAF. Honeywell helped pioneer SAF production with its UOP Ecofining process, which has been used to produce SAF commercially since 2016.
Following a rigorous testing process , the SAF produced by the UOP’s Ecofining™ technology from the algal oil at UOP facilities in McCook, Ill received regulatory approval from ASTM to meet jet fuel standard D7566 Annex 7.
Fuel that conforms to the ASTM D7566 Annex 7 standard has the same material properties as existing jet fuel (kerosene), and even if it is mixed with existing fuel, it does not require modification of existing infrastructure or aircraft materials such as engines or fuel supply facilities. As a drop in-fuel, it can be used in the operation of commercial aircraft around the world as well as in Japan.
“We began working on this next-generation technology to reduce CO2 emissions related to air transportation, and chose to work with Honeywell UOP with its proven track record with Ecofining technology,” said Tomoo Mizuno, Associated Director and Head of Algae based Bio-fuel Group, of IHI Corporation. “After the successful large-scale culturing of microalgae to produce the algal oil and testing in Thailand, we worked with UOP to develop batches of the fuel in the U.S.”
The UOP Ecofining process remains the only commercially demonstrated process for 100% production of SAF in the world. Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™ produced by this process is blended seamlessly with petroleum-based jet fuel at commercial scale. When used in up to a 50% blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight.
“Expanding the feedstock base into algal-based fuels is an important step in producing SAF,” said Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “The UOP Ecofining process has proven to be suitable for many types of renewable feeds including algal oil. We look forward to working with IHI on expanding algal fuels to the entire industry.”
The UOP Ecofining process, jointly developed with Eni SpA, converts non-edible natural oils, animal fats and other waste feedstocks to Honeywell Green Diesel™ and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™, which is materially chemically identical to petroleum-based counterparts. Both products offer improved performance over commercial petroleum-based diesel and jet fuels, and can be used as a drop-in replacement for up to a 10% blend with petroleum aviation fuel in aircraft with no equipment modifications.
The Ecofining technology is used in most 100%-biofeed units producing renewable diesel and all the licensed renewable jet fuel production in the world today. UOP currently has licensed 24 Ecofining units in eleven countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks.
Based in Tokyo, the IHI Corporation is a manufacturer of heavy machinery, including aircraft jet engines, rocket propulsion systems. IHI also constructs LPG and LNG plants and power plants.