High hopes for Quebec-made biofuel
Q UEBEC-DEVELOPED MUSTARD SEED BIOFUEL USED IN UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT
Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight heading to Zurich from San Francisco on Friday were to be propelled in part by a biofuel created by a Quebec company aiming to clean up the skies.
Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. is the firm behind the biofuel made from Carinata mustard and company founder and president Steve Fabijanski believes it could help dramatically decarbonize the aviation industry.
“For me, this is a very good example of Canadian innovation and especially innovation from Quebec in terms of looking at green solutions,” he said in an interview from Paris with The Canadian Press.
Thirty per cent of the jet fuel used in the Boeing was to be replaced by the biofuel, leading the company to proclaim the plane will emit 30 per cent less greenhouse gases than a regular flight.
Fabijanski said he believes his company’s product is the greenest biofuel ever used in a plane to date and that partnering with United Airlines will serve as a showcase for attracting new projects.
With a flight time of 11 hours, the California-toSwitzerland flight would be the longest transatlantic trip to date using biofuels and the second time Agrisoma’s mustard-based product was used in a commercial flight.
Last Jan. 28, it was used in a 15-hour transpacific Qantas Airways flight between Australia and the United States. In that instance, the biofuel replaced 10 per cent of the jet fuel.
Currently, the technical and regulatory rules limit to 50 per cent the amount of biofuel that can be used in commercial aircraft.
“Fifty per cent is the goal (for the company) and at 50 per cent, you’re making a significant impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Fabijanski.
As the number of air passengers has steadily grown, the aviation industry has set as a goal reducing CO2 emissions by 50 per cent compared to 2005 levels. The industry is responsible for two to three per cent of global emissions.
Steven Guilbeault, an environmental activist and cofounder of Equiterre, says Agrisoma’s biofuel paves the way for air carriers to take a significant step in reducing their carbon footprint.
“As an ecologist, what matters to me is that this type of technology is spreading and, as a Quebecer, I won’t hide the fact it makes me proud that it was developed in our backyard,” he said.