Finnish biofuels producer Neste says it believes in the possibilities of developing renewable aviation fuels despite Swiss authorities cancelling a planned pilot project at Geneva airport.
Neste was supposed to work with Geneva airport to replace 1% of its fuel consumption with biofuel, but Switzerland’s authorities pulled their support for the plan in mid-August, reported Reuters on 23 August.
The company – which hoped that upcoming changes to CO2 emissions regulation in aviation would boost its biofuels business – had considered the Geneva scheme an important step in developing this segment.
However, Neste head of renewable products Kaisa Hietala told Reuters that the Geneva project’s cancellation would not impact on Neste’s plans.
“It was surprising, a disappointment, but we have other partners to proceed with and there are more coming in the pipeline,” Hietala said.
Neste had announced similar projects with Dallas airport in Texas, USA, and with American Airlines, while both Boeing and Lufthansa had flown test flights on Neste renewable jet fuel.
“At the moment, what holds back this market is high price and availability, but when the market is created, there will be more interest,” said Hietala.
Neste was planning to expand its biofuel production capacity in Singapore that would enable the firm to produce sufficient volumes for the aviation market beginning in 2022.
The firm had also increased the share of waste feedstocks in its biofuels, with more than 80% of its feedstock supply coming from waste and residue streams, such as animal fats.
In the first half of 2018, biofuels for road traffic constituted 70% of Neste’s core profit of €679M (US$792.1M).
In competition with Neste, US-based company AltAir Fuels had also tested renewable jet fuels with pilot projects.
The International Civil Aviation Organization was targeting carbon-neutral growth in aviation from 2020.