Boeing was the first company to fly a biofuel-powered aircraft across the Pacific Ocean, and now the company is opening a major operation in China that will be brewing the biofuel they need to run these revolutionary planes. Gizmag reports that Boeing is partnering with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) to produce biofuel in a pilot plant that would ensure a constant and consistent supply of vegetable-based fuel for the planes in what’s being called the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Project.
The plant was officially opened on October 22, 2014, and will use technology developed by Hangzhou Energy and Environmental Engineering Technology to remove contaminates from used cooking oil to turn it into aviation fuel, which is mixed with regular jet fuel to power Boeing aircrafts.
Gizmag reports that the plant is expected to produce 160 gallons of fuel per day, with production estimates from the two companies of up to 500 million gallons of biofuel per year from the lone plant in China. As things currently stand, the pilot plant is just a tester to determine the feasibility of producing biofuel for aviation in large volumes.
Boeing’s biofuel-powered aircraft is currently being operated by All Nippon Airways of Japan, and estimates show it produces 30 percent less emissions than a conventional plane of similar size – with 20 percent of that attributed to the plane’s energy-efficient features such as carbon fiber body construction.