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Global Bioenergies and SkyNRG to collaborate on ASTM-certification

France-headed Global Bioenergies (GBE), an industrial biotechnology process developer, and SkyNRG, a global market leader in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), have announced that they will collaborate to accelerate the commercialization of GBE’s approach to process isobutene into a jet fuel blending component.

Fermentation unit of Global Bioenergies Leuna biomass-to-isobutene demo plant (photo Gunter Binsack).
Fermentation unit of Global Bioenergies Leuna biomass-to-isobutene demo plant (photo Gunter Binsack). Fermentation unit of Global Bioenergies Leuna biomass-to-isobutene demo plant (photo Gunter Binsack).

The companies will work towards the aviation industry’s approval allowing the addition of GBE’s isobutene-based SAF into ASTM D7566, the predominant jet fuel specification used by the industry, thereby enabling commercial use by airlines as quickly as possible.

We look forward to working together on aviation industry approval of our approach with our partner SkyNRG. Interest for sustainable aviation fuel is currently rising in Europe and all around the world because it is an essential solution to decarbonize this industry. We expect that initiatives to be taken by governments will soon widely foster the market uptake of sustainable aviation fuel, said Bernard Chaud, Chief Industrial Strategy Officer at Global Bioenergies.

The first batches of the isobutene-based SAF were produced by Global Bioenergies in Leuna, Germany and sent to SkyNRG for preliminary analysis, laying the basis for Tier 1 of the ASTM evaluation process.

We’re excited to work together with Global Bioenergies towards the commercialization of this new production pathway for sustainable aviation fuel. We think highly of Global Bioenergies’ fuel because it has the potential to be scalable and cost-effective, without sacrificing performance, said Misha Valk, Head of Business Development at SkyNRG.

Four stage evaluation process

The evaluation process includes up to four stages: from Tier 1 up to Tier 4 as described in ASTM Standard Practice D4054.

Tier 1 tests consist of the analysis of physical and chemical properties of the fuel, such as composition, volatility (distillation curve and density), fluidity (freezing point and viscosity), net heat of combustion, corrosion and thermal stability.

The SAF batches are mainly composed of C12 iso-paraffins with very good “cold-flow” properties, high octane and an energy content in the jet fuel range. The targeted C12 iso-paraffin molecules are the same as those present in conventional jet fuel.

The product was obtained through oligomerization and hydrogenation of bio-isobutene. Both the pure product as well as a blend with fossil-based kerosene will be evaluated. GBE’s high-quality SAF can be produced from forestry or agricultural wastes.

Jet fuel is the fastest developing segment in oil products, growing at a pace of 4-5 percent per year. This industry will rely on sustainable aviation fuel for a crucial contribution to reduce its carbon footprint. After having shown last week the reality of renewable gasoline in a first car on the road event with our partner Audi, we will soon show that our sustainable aviation fuel has a unique potential to concretely decarbonize the skies, remarked Marc Delcourt, Chief Executive Officer at Global Bioenergies.

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