Virgin Australia is turning its fuel into a green product with trials of a sustainable aviation fuel pumped through Brisbane airport’s fuel supply system.

Announced this morning, the initiative will see US-based renewable fuel and chemical producer Gevo Inc supply sustainable aviation fuel, or biojet, to the fuel supply infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

The biojet, which meets recognised international quality and safety standards, is planned to be blended with traditional jet fuel and supplied on flights departing Brisbane, including Virgin Australia flights, over a two year period.

It’s the first time in Australia that biojet will be supplied through an airport’s regular fuel supply system.

Virgin Australia planes

The Virgin Australia Group will be responsible for coordinating the purchase, supply and blending of the fuels and will work closely with the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), Gevo Inc and other stakeholders to implement the initiative. The first shipment of biojet from Gevo Inc is expected to be received and used over the coming months.

Biojet emits lower levels of carbon emissions compared to traditional fossil jet fuel and can be derived from sustainable sources including sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave. Biojet undergoes rigorous safety certification testing and is already used at major airports in Oslo and Los Angeles, including for Virgin Australia’s services between Los Angeles and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia Group Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “This initiative builds on Virgin Australia’s commitment to be a leader in the commercialisation of the sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia. The project announced today is critical to testing the fuel supply chain infrastructure in Australia to ensure that Virgin Australia and Brisbane Airport are ready for the commercial supply of these exciting fuels.”

The Queensland Government strongly supports the initiative. Speaking from Brisbane Airport, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Biojet is fast becoming a staple of the aviation industry, and Brisbane is joining major airports such as Los Angeles and Oslo in embracing a sustainable aviation future.

“Although the aviation biojet fuel sector is quite new, there has been more than a decade of work behind it and hundreds of thousands of hours of fuel testing to prove the fuels are compatible with fossil based fuels. The first aviation biojet fuels were approved for commercial flights in 2011,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

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