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Sustainable solutions a high priority

The aviation industry is searching for sustainable fuel solutions to reduce its carbon footprint.

Around 815 million tons of CO2 emissions were produced by air travel last year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 2% of the annual global amount created by human actions.

Researchers at University of Delaware (UD) are working to make bio-based fuels from corncobs and wood chips. The UD team has developed a technique which can produce fuel from this lignocellulosic biomass.

Affiliated to the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI), an Energy Frontier Research Center backed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the UD team is benefitting from having access to leading scientists attached to the nine institutions linked to CCEI.

“The low temperature and high selectivity of our process can enable cost-competitive and sustainable production of bio-based aviation fuels from lignocellulosic biomass,” said Basudeb Saha, CCEI Associate Director.

Airlines are keen to go down this route, with Qantas announcing earlier this month, that by the end of the decade, its aircraft in Los Angeles will be powered by biofuels.

And the industry needs to take these steps, as by 2035, the IATA estimates there will be 7.2 billion air passengers, up from 3.8 billion last year.

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