Global Bioenergies to seek ASTM approval for its isobutene-based aviation fuel

Global Bioenergies and SkyNRG said they will work together to accelerate the commercialization of Global Bioenergies’ approach to process isobutene produced from forestry or agricultural wastes into a jet fuel blending component.

The companies will work towards the aviation industry’s approval allowing the addition of Global Bioenergies’ isobutene-based sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into ASTM D7566, the predominant jet fuel specification used by the industry, thereby enabling commercial use by airlines as quickly as possible.

The first batches of the bio-isobutene-based SAF were produced by Global Bioenergies in Leuna, Germany, and sent to SkyNRG for preliminary analysis, laying the basis for Tier 1 of the ASTM evaluation process. The evaluation process includes up to four stages: from Tier 1 up to Tier 4 (as described in ASTM Standard Practice D4054). Tier 1 tests consist of the analysis of physical and chemical properties of the fuel, such as composition, volatility (distillation curve and density), fluidity (freezing point and viscosity), net heat of combustion, corrosion and thermal stability.

The SAF batches are mainly composed of C12 iso-paraffins with good cold-flow properties, high octane and an energy content in the jet fuel range. The targeted C12 iso-paraffin molecules are the same as those present in conventional jet fuel. The product was obtained through oligomerization and hydrogenation of bio-isobutene. Both the pure product as well as a blend with fossil-based kerosene will be evaluated.

“We’re excited to work together with Global Bioenergies towards the commercialization of this new production pathway for sustainable aviation fuel. We think highly of Global Bioenergies’ fuel because it has the potential to be scalable and cost-effective, without sacrificing performance,” said Misha Valk, head of Business Development at SkyNRG.

Interest for sustainable aviation fuel is currently rising in Europe and the rest of the world because it is an essential solution to decarbonize the aviation industry, according to  Bernard Chaud, chief industrial strategy officer of Global Bioenergies.

“We expect that initiatives to be taken by governments will soon widely foster the market uptake of sustainable aviation fuel. We look forward to working together on aviation industry approval of our approach with our partner SkyNRG,” Chaud said.

“Jet fuel is the fastest developing segment in oil products, growing at a pace of 4-5% per year. This industry will rely on sustainable aviation fuel for a crucial contribution to reduce its carbon footprint. After having shown last week the reality of renewable gasoline in a first car on the road event with our partner Audi, we will soon show that our sustainable aviation fuel has a unique potential to concretely decarbonize the skies,” said Marc Delcourt, Global Bioenergies CEO.

Global Bioenergies is one of the few companies worldwide, and the only one in Europe, that is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation. The company initially focused its efforts on the production of isobutene, one of the most important petrochemical building blocks that can be converted into fuels, plastics, organic glass and elastomers. Global Bioenergies continues to improve the performance of its process, to operate its demonstration plant in Germany, and to prepare the first full-scale plant through a joint venture with Cristal Union, named IBN-One.

SkyNRG is the global market leader for sustainable aviation fuel, having supplied more than 25 airlines on all continents. SkyNRG sources, blends and distributes SAF, guarantees sustainability throughout the supply chain and helps to co-fund any price premium versus conventional jet fuel. At the same time, SkyNRG focuses on developing regional supply chains that offer a real sustainable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. SkyNRG has its operations RSB certified and is structurally advised by an independent Sustainability Board in which WWF International, European Climate Foundation, Solidaridad Network and the University of Groningen hold a seat.