Technology by US engineering conglomerate Honeywell has been used in the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from algal oil, the company announced on 16 November.

Honeywell said two commercial flights in Japan had been completed using a blend containing SAF created from microalgae feedstock using its UOP Ecofining process.

The Japan Airlines Airbus A350-900 flight and All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 flight were the first time the new ASTM D7566 Annex 7 standard for fuel had been used in commercial jet engines, the company said.

Honeywell said the Japanese-based company IHI Corporation, which produces the microalgae oil feed, had approached UOP to produce SAF using the algal oil using its UOP Ecofining process.

The SAF produced from the algal oil had received ASTM approval to meet jet fuel standard D7566 Annex 7, which meant it had the same properties as existing jet fuel (kerosene) – even if mixed with existing fuel –without modification of existing infrastructure, aircraft materials or fuel supply facilities, the company said.

“After the successful large-scale culturing of microalgae to produce the algal oil and testing in Thailand, we worked with UOP to develop batches of the fuel in the USA,” Tomoo Mizuno, associated director and head of IHI Group’s algae based biofuel group, said.

The SAF produced from algal oil could be used as a drop-in fuel, Honeywell said.

“Expanding the feedstock base into algal-based fuels is an important step in producing SAF,” Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions, said.

Honeywell UOP jointly developed the Ecofining process, which converts non-edible natural oils and animal fats and other waste feedstocks to Honeywell Green Diesel and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel, with Italy’s Eni SpA.

The UOP Ecofining process was currently in use in 24 units in 11 countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks, the company said.

To date, the company has 24 Ecofining units licensed in 11 countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks.

Tokyo-based IHI Corp is a manufacturer of heavy machinery, including aircraft jet engines and rocket propulsion systems and also constructs LPG and LNG plants and power plants.