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Boeing says its fleet will be able to fly on 100% biofuel by 2030

Fri 22nd January, 2021 6:09pm
By Eric M. Johnson
    SEATTLE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Boeing Co  BA.N  said on Friday
it will begin delivering commercial airplanes capable of flying
on 100% biofuel by the end of the decade, calling reducing
environmental damage from fossil fuels the "challenge of our
lifetime."
    Boeing's goal - which requires advances to jet systems,
raising fuel-blending requirements, and safety certification by
global regulators - is central to a broader industry target of
slashing carbon emissions in half by 2050, the U.S. planemaker
said. 
    "It's a tremendous challenge, it's the challenge of our
lifetime," Boeing Director of Sustainability Strategy Sean
Newsum told Reuters. "Aviation is committed to doing its part to
reduce its carbon footprint."
    Commercial flying currently accounts for about 2% of global
carbon emissions and about 12% of transport emissions, according
to data cited by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
    Boeing essentially has just a decade to reach its target
because jetliners that enter service in 2030 will typically stay
in service through 2050. 
    The world's largest aerospace company must also confront the
task hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic and the 20-month
grounding of its best-selling jetliner after fatal crashes,
which has strained its finances and engineering resources. 
    Boeing isn't starting from scratch. In 2018, it staged the
world's first commercial airplane flight using 100% biofuel on a
FedEx Corp  FDX.N  777 freighter.
    Boeing and European rival Airbus SE  AIR.PA  also work on
reducing carbon emissions through weight and drag reduction on
new aircraft.
    As it is now, biofuels are mixed directly with conventional
jet fuel up to a 50/50 blend, which is the maximum allowed under
current fuel specifications, Boeing said.
    Boeing first must determine what changes to make to enable
safe flight on alternative fuels derived from used vegetable
oil, animal fats, sugar cane, waste and other sources.
    Boeing needs to work with groups that set fuel
specifications such ASTM International to raise the blending
limit to allow expanded use, and then convince aviation
regulators globally to certify the planes as safe, Boeing said. 

 (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Aurora
Ellis)
 ((Eric.m.johnson@thomsonreuters.com; +1 206 707 1218; Follow me
on Twitter @ByEricMJohnson;))
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