Bombardier predicts biofuels in business jets before commercial aircraft

Washington DC
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Biofuel discussions at Bombardier have focused on business jet applications as the Canadian manufacturer's commercial customers turn their attention to the current economic downturn.

Bombardier says it is doing some "forward thinking" with respect to biofuels and is examining how it might harness these initially "to improve on the business jet side". Bombardier is "not yet ready" to discuss the types of biofuels that might be employed for business jets, it says.

The airframer is focusing on business jets since its commercial customers are not pushing for biofuels as they struggle with short-term issues and would be less likely to take on additional research and development expenses, Bombardier says.

The Canadian manufacturer will further outline its environmental efforts in a corporate responsibility report to be published around 16 December.

While Bombardier mulls over its biofuel options, competitor Embraer has postponed a 2008 alternative fuel trial, but continues to work on a number of biofuel efforts.

Of interest to Embraer is fuel made with babassu, derived from palm trees in Brazil. The Brazilian manufacturer expects jet fuel will be composed of 30% biofuel by 2020.