Aviation biofuel from Total & Amyris, innovation for responsible performance
Total is committed to developing new energies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Along with solar, bioenergy is a strategic development focus for the Group, which is involved in ambitious research programs with innovative start-ups, such as the California-based company Amyris.
Together, Total and Amyris are innovating for the future of aviation and developing a renewable jet fuel that significantly reduces CO2 emissions.
The Total and Amyris team conducts its research at the Emeryville laboratory in California, where the team tests the performance and resistance of yeasts during fermentation.
Large-scale production of farnesane began in 2013 at the first Amyris refinery in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. In the background, the sugar fermentation silos.
At the Paris Air Show in June 2013, Airbus, Air France, Safran and Total organized the maiden European flight of a plane using the bio jet fuel developed by Total and Amyris.
In January 2014 at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways, in partnership with Boeing, Total, Takreer and the Masdar Institute, organized the first demonstration flight in the Middle East, using a Boeing 777 powered by Total/Amyris aviation biofuel.
In September 2014, Lufthansa made its first commercial flight, between Frankfurt and Berlin, using the certified biofuel developed by Total and Amyris.
Toulouse Blagnac Airport in France.
Every week between October 2014 and January 2015, Air France's “Lab'Line for the Future” service between Toulouse and Paris used the jet biofuel developed by Total and Amyris.
Kamel is an aircraft refueller at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in France.
Here he's refuelling Air France's Lab'Line for the Future flight with the aviation biofuel developed by Total and Amyris.
May 2016: Total and Amyris fuelled 23 Nice-Paris flights during the Cannes Film Festival, in partnership with Air France.
Total & Amyris: A Leading-Edge Biotech Partnership
Since 2010, Total has been working with Amyris, an American company that specializes in biotechnology and the development of renewable products for fuels and green chemistry. This partnership resulted in Total taking a stake in Amyris, and in a collaborative agreement on research and development.
Their research has enabled the teams to develop a procedure for converting sugar into farnesane, Amyris's building block molecule that can be incorporated directly into diesel or aviation fuels and requires no technical modifications to engines. Produced in Brazil in a plant certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), farnesane can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90%1 compared with fossil fuels.
A Breakthrough Solution for Airlines
To combat climate change, the air transport sector has committed to halving its greenhouse gas emissions by 20502. Given continued growth in global air transport, this ambitious aim will require improvements in the performance of aircraft and engines, on the ground and in flight, and the increasing use of aviation biofuels.
Total and its partner Amyris have developed a practical solution, an aviation biofuel containing 10% farnesane. This blend cuts CO2 emissions by 5% and particulate matter emissions from engines by 3%.
In June 2014, after two years of tests and numerous demonstration flights, the biofuel developed by Total and Amyris was certified by ASTM International3, an international body that specifies standards and properties. Now that the Total-Amyris renewable jet fuel has been included in global industry specifications, the two companies have begun marketing this breakthrough solution to airlines around the world.
The first commercial flights using the aviation biofuel developed by Total and Amyris took place in summer 2014, on flights operated by GOL in Brazil and Lufthansa in Germany. Between October 2014 and January 2015, this aviation biofuel was used on scheduled flights: for example, Air France's “Lab'Line for the Future” includes a weekly service on its Toulouse-Paris route. In 2015, farnesane received the Total Ecosolution4 label, proving its eco-performance credentials. In 2016, Total and Amyris fuelled 23 flights between Nice and Paris with biofuel during the Cannes Film Festival and are supplying Cathay Pacific with fuel for several flights between Toulouse and Hong Kong to deliver the Airbus A350s the airline has ordered from the French aircraft manufacturer.
Towards A Competitive Biofuel Available Everywhere
To promote the global marketing of aviation biofuels, Total is drawing on the operational excellence of its subsidiary Air Total International. With 11 million tonnes sold annually, Total is a world leader in the distribution of jet fuels. Operating in 300 airports in more than 70 countries around the world and a market leader in Europe and Africa, Air Total International is contributing all its technical and logistical expertise to the commercial development of this new biofuel for aviation.
The large-scale adoption of biofuels by airlines remains a challenge for the coming years. Total and Amyris are making their solutions more competitive and sustainable. The longer-term goal is to produce advanced renewable jet fuel from “cellulosic” sugars, extracted from the non-food part of plants. With the progress to date and in partnership with innovative companies, Total is helping make more sustainable aviation fuels accessible on a global scale.
1 Environmental Science & Technology Study, November 2014
2 Compared with 2005 levels (source ATAG 2009)
3 ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials
4 Through innovation and continuous improvement, the Total Ecosolutions programme aims to develop products and services to help our customers — both businesses and consumers — to reduce their environmental footprint.