Qatar Airways’s announcement of a biofuel program is noteworthy because the airline, with prior synthetic fuel efforts, has shown seriousness when it announced these type of ventures.
What’s more, it is significant in a way the airline’s gas-to-liquid initiatives were not. Qatar is a gas-rich country, so pursuing gas-to-liquid was a logical way to build up synthetic fuel credentials. It did relatively little, however, to make the carrier a greener-airline.
Qatar partners with Qatar Science & Technology Park and Qatar Petroleum and said they would start seriously exploring biomass-to-liquid projects.
The so called Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform (QABP) effort builds on a seven-month-long study the airline and its partners did with Verno Systems, a Seattle, Wash.-based company with expertise in biofuels. Now the work shifts to spelling out an engineering and implementation plan for biofuel production, and investment strategy, technology development, and market and other analyses.
QABP indicates it will use several different types of biomass as feedstock.
The venture is being supported by Airbus, which, as its rival Boeing, has been working with several airlines to support development work on alternative fuels.