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July 12, 2012

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Local firm seals jet biofuel deal with SkyNRG

A SHANGHAI energy company will provide more than 10,000 tons of jet biofuel refined from waste cooking oil to a Dutch company with clients that include more than 20 major global airlines.

Shanghai Luming Environment Science Co Ltd has signed a letter of intent with Netherlands-based SkyNRG, a major jet biofuel supplier, to provide the refined swill oil, both companies told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

"The first 2,000 tons of biofuel will be sent to the Netherlands at the end of the month and it will be used to power commercial jets after further processing," said Chen Tiantian, a press officer of Shanghai Luming.

The biofuel from Shanghai will be used by SkyNRG's client airlines, including KLM, Air Canada and Qantas.

However, SkyNRG will first conduct a series of tests before the biofuel is used in aircraft, said the company's managing director, Dirk Kronemeijer.

"We have a strong ambition on the Chinese market where only 2 percent of wasted cooking oil is recycled, compared with 70 percent in the Netherlands," Kronemeijer told Shanghai Daily by telephone.

The waste cooking oil involves large amounts of animal fat that can be processed into bio kerosene after refining and chemical reactions. After further processing, its fuel value will qualify to power planes. Planes using the biofuel generate about 40 percent less emissions.

In Shanghai, waste oil collected from restaurants reaches more than 68 tons a day, said the city's food safety watchdog.

This comes as Shanghai tightens up the government-monitored collection of kitchen leftovers to block swill oil from being illegally recovered and recycled and prevent it from being used in restaurants.

Now, the large amount of kitchen oil has new uses.

Kronemeijer said the company plans to build a plant in China in the future to collect and refine swill oil into jet biofuel.

The company has been looking for waste cooking oil suppliers from China since last year and tests on such oil have been satisfactory, he added.

More than 15 commercial airlines have made test flights powered by processed waste cooking oil from the Amsterdam-based company.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, one of the three founding partners of the company, completed its first commercial biofuel flight carrying 171 passengers from Amsterdam to Paris in June 2011. It operated with a half blend of biofuel to regular kerosene.

In the latest test, Air Canada last month operated its first flight with jet fuel derived from recycled cooking oil.

Chinese carriers have also made efforts to develop biofuel under pressure from the European Union's carbon emission tax scheme.

A jumbo jet powered by fuel made from nut oil made a two-hour test flight last October in Beijing as part of a US-Chinese renewable energy partnership.

After the test, Zhang Hongying, a Civil Aviation Administration of China official, said biofuel is now ready for commercial flights in China.


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