Boeing and a Swiss academic establishment have joined forces in efforts to co-ordinate and simplify certification standards for biomass-derived jet fuels.
Concerns have been raised by environmental groups that certain types of biomass may harm local populations, particularly in the Third World, by taking up agricultural land that is used to produce food. Sustainable biomass sources must not distort the food chain, compete for fresh water resources or lead to habitat loss.
The US airframer and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are creating the Sustainable Biomass Consortium, a research initiative aimed at bringing together voluntary standards and regulatory requirements for the biomass used to create fuel.
"Having harmonised standards for sustainable biofuel development is crucial," says Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice-president of environmental and aviation policy Billy Glover.
"Our industry needs these fuel sources and this consortium will help ensure we have a transparent way to collaborate among certification processes that guide us towards a more sustainable future."
Sustainable biofuels are a key element of the aviation industry's strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.