Qatar sets 2014 target for 100% synthetic fuel

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Qatar Airways believes 2014 is a reasonable timeframe for the development of a 100% synthetic jet fuel.

Carrier head of CSR, environment and fuel optimization Chris Schroeder says the most likely scenario is having a proof of concept synthetic fuel within four years split evenly between gas-to-liquid (GTL) and biomass-to-liquid (BTL) blends.

Qatar is working with Airbus and other partners in the "Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform" to pursue an architecture for biofuel production.

Schroeder, speaking at the ICAO Colloquium on Aviation and Climate Change, says the goal is to find home-grown feedstocks for use in biofuel production that pose no competition to the food chain.

In the medium term he says Qatar could possibly look at camelina as a feedstock, and also notes algae is particularly interesting "for our region".

Schroeder says Qatar is "not interested in joining the testing competition" for feedstocks possibly used in biofuels. What is now needed is "certification and availability".

Qatar is "happy to share its experiences" as it works to develop a biofuel framework, says Schroeder. "We want biofuels available at every destination we fly to."

In October 2009 Qatar completed a GTL revenue flight between London and Qatar. The fuel for the test flight was supplied by a Shell plant based in Bintulu, Malaysia. Shell and partner Qatar Petroleum are building a GTL plant with a targeted output of one million tonnes per year in 2012.