MONTRÉAL, 6 December 2012 − Some encouraging results posted by a sustainable alternative biofuels research project out of Qatar University have attracted praise from the President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Roberto Kobeh González.
Kobeh was visiting the facility as part of his itinerary during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-18) in Doha, where he presented a status update on ICAO’s progress on several climate change mitigation fronts, including alternative fuels.
“We really welcome this project as an example of the varying biofuel solutions that can be applied in different areas around the globe,” stressed Kobeh. “The Qatar project is notable in that it is State-backed and employs resources natural to the surroundings. These do not depend on arable land vital to food consumption.”
A laboratory research team at Qatar University initially produced biofuel from organisms abundant in the country’s highly saline waters. The experiment was eventually scaled up to larger outdoor tanks and is currently being upgraded to 25,000 specially-designed research ponds. If successful, efforts will be further expanded to a pre-commercialization pilot plant with a capacity of 1.5 million litres.
In his remarks on the opening day of the Doha Climate Change Conference, Kobeh emphasized that alternative fuels are an essential part of the ICAO strategy as its Member States seek to meet their responsibilities and realize a sustainable future for international civil aviation.
“Commercial flights on sustainable alternative fuels are now a reality,” he noted. “Airlines are using drop-in biofuels that do not require changes to aircraft design or fuel delivery systems. Facilitating the availability of such fuels at competitive prices and in sufficient quantities for use in aviation is the next challenge, one for which an ICAO expert group is currently developing global policies.”
In addition to its efforts in the alternative and biofuels area, ICAO and the aviation sector are continuing to pursue emissions mitigation measures which include improved aircraft technology and Standards, more efficient operations, a new C02 certification standard for aircraft, State action plans and market-based measures.