Qantas Airlines and Quebec, Canada based Agrisoma Biosciences have signed what they claim is the ‘first-ever’ ‘farm-to-flight’ deal. The agreement will see farmers in Australia growing a Canadian oilseed used to make bio jet fuel.
Agrisoma will work with Australian farmers to grow the Carinata seed, a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed that produces high-quality oil ideal for renewable aviation jet fuel and renewable diesel fuel.
“Our long-term goal with this partnership is to grow the crop at a target of 400,000 hectares which will ultimately produce more than 200 million litres of bio jet fuel for airlines,” said Steven Fabijanski, Agrisoma’s Ph.D. President and CEO.
Earlier this year, Australian airline Qantas announced that its Los Angeles airport based aircraft would all be powered by biofuels from 2020 in a bid to reduce emissions on its US to Australia services. In 2018, to showcase the benefits of Agrisoma’s biofuel, Qantas will operate the ‘world’s first’ biofuel flight between the US and Australia.
“We are constantly looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions across our operations but when it comes to using renewable jet fuel, until now, there has not been a locally grown option at the scale we need to power our fleet,” said CEO Qantas International, Alison Webster.
What is Carinata?
A ‘drop-in’ crop that requires no specialised production or processing techniques, Carinata also has a low water requirement. According to a statement from Agrisoma, field trials in Gatton, Queensland and Bordertown, South Australia, have demonstrated it should do very well in the Australian climate.
When crushed, the seed also produces a secondary benefit to farmers; a high protein, non-GMO meal for the expanding Australian livestock, dairy and poultry market.
The plan for Australia is based upon Agrisoma’s current commercial production of Carinata in the USA and South America supplying the European renewable fuels market and Non-GMO animal feed demand.