Neste Oil has joined the ITAKA (Initiative Towards Sustainable Kerosene for Aviation) project, which is being funded by the European Union (EU) to support the commercialization and use of renewable aviation fuel in Europe, the company confirmed on Thursday.
Neste Oil's role in the consortium will be to produce the renewable fuel used in the project.
The 36-month ITAKA project has been granted about 10 million Euros of funding under the EU's seventh framework program for research and development (2007-2013).
In addition to Neste Oil, the consortium is made up of Airbus, BIOTEHGEN, Camelina Company Espanã, CLH, EADS IW, Embraer, EPFL, MMU, SENASA, RE-CORD, and SkyNRG.
Neste Oil will produce a total of 4,000 tons of NExBTL renewable aviation fuel as part of the project, primarily from sustainably produced Spanish camelina oil, and possibly also used cooking oil.
The resulting renewable fuel, together with the camelina oil used to produce it, will be certified in accordance with the European Commission-approved RSB EU RED certification system, according to the company.
The renewable fuel will be blended with conventional fossil aviation fuel in accordance with the appropriate ASTM standard to create a 50/50 blend that will then be distributed to European airlines for use on their commercial flights.
Rather than aiming for any commercial gain from the project, the members of the consortium will focus on building up common research and test data on the use of renewable aviation fuel, in areas such as logistics and the practical issues related to fueling associated with scheduled flights in Europe.
The project is also aimed at supporting the goal of the European Aviation Biofuels Flightpath initiative of producing 2 million tons of renewable fuel for airline use annually by 2020.
Neste Oil has already carried out trials on the use of NExBTL renewable aviation fuel in commercial service. During a recent six-month trial, Lufthansa flew a total of 1,187 flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg using NExBTL renewable aviation fuel, as well as one intercontinental flight between Frankfurt and Washington DC.
These flights showed that the fuel is ideally suited to commercial use, according to Neste officials, and contributed a reduction of over 1,500 tons in CO2 emissions and an approximately 1% reduction in fuel consumption.