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Air New Zealand, Continental, Virgin Atlantic and UOP join Newly Formed Algal Biomass Organization

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Air New Zealand, Continental, Virgin Atlantic, and biofuel technology developer UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, are the first wave of aviation-related members to join the newly formed Algal Biomass Organization (ABO).

Together with Boeing, which co-chairs the ABO, the airlines are advocating for the identification and acceleration of new generations of fuel sources for the industry that have lower life cycle carbon emissions; in this case sustainable algae-based biofuels.

"There is significant interest across multiple sectors in the potential of algae as an energy source and nowhere is that more evident than in aviation," said Billy Glover, ABO co-chair and managing director of Environmental Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Air transportation is a vital contributor to global economic prosperity, but is being threatened by record rises in fuel costs. Together we recognize that algae have the potential to help offset those fuel costs, while also contributing to improved environmental performance for the aviation industry."

Boeing and leading airlines are stepping forward to help commercialize sustainable, next-generation biofuels for use in commercial jetliners, with algae being one of the plant-based fuel sources being explored. Air New Zealand, Continental, Virgin Atlantic, Honeywell's  UOP, and Boeing will work together through the ABO to generate more sustainable fuel options by pushing for long-term innovation and investment in algae as an energy form.

"Algae really could be a solution to help airlines produce lower carbon emissions. Crucially, it is a source of fuel which doesn't lead to deforestation or the taking away of land or water from the cultivation of essential food crops," said Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard Branson. "Virgin Atlantic is delighted to be supporting the work of the Algal Biomass Organization in building knowledge of this innovative new technology, and accelerating the commercialization of algae to help produce a more sustainable aviation industry."

With a portfolio approach to sustainable biofuels likely necessary, multiple biomass sources including algae, jatropha, halophytes and others are being evaluated against stringent sustainability criteria including non-competition with food, fresh water or land-use resources. The group's involvement in the ABO highlights the aviation industry's move toward identification, development and certification of advanced generation fuel sources. Working with refining segment leaders like UOP will help ensure that advanced generation biofuels can be produced in the most sustainable and energy efficient manner possible.

To effectively address a high volume of claims being made regarding algae and its potential, 400 leading global algae experts established the Algal Biomass Organization to advocate for viable algae markets and technologies. Unlike other second-generation biofuel options, algae will require technological breakthroughs to become viable and the ABO will provide a single, collective voice regarding ongoing efforts.

Algae have shown significant potential to address some of the world's most pressing issues, such as climate and pollution concerns including carbon emission reductions, alternative fuel sources and global economic development. As one of the fastest growing and most productive plants in the world, the unique characteristics of algae enable them to be developed for a number of uses:

Renewable Fuels: Algae are an ideal low cost, renewable and environmentally progressive raw material that can be converted into biofuels. They can grow rapidly (doubling in biomass in as little as a few hours), require limited nutrients, and can annually deliver up to 2,000-5,000 gallons of fuel per acre of non-arable land.

Environment: Algae do not require fresh water to thrive and so they will not compete for limited supplies of fresh water. In addition, they can also be used to clean wastewater and to recycle greenhouse gases such as CO2, NOx and SOx. As the algae grow, they can be harvested and converted to next- generation biofuels.

Economic Development: As developing nations continue to look for ways to spur economic development, algae-based industries can be a central part of an overall strategy. Many developing nations currently import nearly 100 percent of their fuel. An algae-based energy strategy provides a way to either reduce oil import costs, create fuel/feedstock export revenue, or both without competing with food crops.

See other recent news regarding: Airlines, Aviation, Flights, HotelsPromotions, New Hotels, Biofuels, Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic, Continental Airlines, Boeing

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