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Virgin Australia first with sustainable aviation fuel supply at Brisbane Airport

In Queensland, Australia, Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd, a Virgin Group company, has announced that it has achieved an Australian first, with the successful completion of a trial to deliver sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through Brisbane Airport’s (BNE) general fuel supply system.

Working in partnership with the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation, US-based biofuel producer Gevo, Inc., and supply chain partners Caltex and DB Schenker, Virgin Australia led the procurement and blending of sustainable aviation fuel, or biojet, with traditional jet fuel for supply into the fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

This is the first time that sustainable aviation fuel has been delivered through the general fuel supply system at any airport in Australia and makes Brisbane Airport one of the few airports globally where this has occurred.

An Australian first – Virgin Australia Airlines has completed the successful completion of a trial to deliver sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through Brisbane Airport’s (BNE) general fuel supply system (photo courtesy Virgin Australia).

As a result of the trial, biojet fuel has now been used to fuel 195 domestic and international flights departing from Brisbane Airport, travelling more than 430 000 km to destinations across Queensland, Australia and around the globe.

According to Virgin Australia, biojet meets recognised international quality and safety standards and contributes to lower levels of carbon emissions compared to traditional fossil jet fuel on a life-cycle basis. It can be derived from sustainable sources including sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave and is already in use at major airports in Oslo (OSL), Norway and Los Angeles (LAX), US.

Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive, Rob Sharp, said the airline was proud to lead the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel into the fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

Virgin Australia is leading the way in the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel in Australia. We recognise that there is a great opportunity to develop a thriving sustainable fuels industry, which will help to reduce emissions and drive investment and jobs growth in Australia. The successful completion of the trial at Brisbane Airport is the first important step in ensuring Australian airports and the fuel supply chain will be ready for the regular supply of sustainable fuels in Australia. We would like to thank the Queensland Government and our partners for their involvement and look forward to fuelling more flights departing from Brisbane Airport with biojet over the next 12-18 months, Rob Sharp said.

Speaking from Brisbane Airport, Queensland Premier, the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk, said she was pleased with the work that had been undertaken with the trial to progress developing a local biofuels industry in Australia.

This is another step forward in a homegrown biofuels industry – one that my government is supporting. Our own biofuels producers have a ready customer in Virgin Australia and I look forward to their cooperation growing, Premier Palaszczuk said.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, Gert-Jan de Graaff, said the initiative was clearly aligned with BAC’s strategy to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

BAC is committed to reducing Brisbane Airport’s impact on the environment and putting in place programs that help us to manage and minimise the long-term impacts of climate change. We are very proud to be the first airport in Australia, and one of only a few hubs in the world, to have biofuel as part of its fuel supply system as it will help reduce Brisbane Airport’s carbon footprint even further by assisting the airlines to reduce their emissions, Gert-Jan de Graaff said.

Caltex Executive General Manager, Fuels & Infrastructure, Louise Warner, said that Caltex was delighted to support Virgin Australia’s trial of biojet in the Australian airspace.

Our team at Lytton used their extensive supply chain skills and jet fuel quality control knowledge to manage the successful biojet supply trial, right here in Queensland. As a proud Australian company and Australia’s largest supplier of transport fuels, we support the investigation of alternative fuels such as biojet as part of the future fuel options for Australia, and we acknowledge Virgin Australia’s leadership in achieving this important milestone, she said.

In a separate statement, Dr Patrick R. Gruber, CEO of Gevo, offered his congratulations and commented on the potential of renewable resource-based jet fuel produced in Queensland.

Gevo recognizes that Australia, and Queensland, in particular, have great potential to produce renewable low-carbon jet fuel from a variety of raw materials.  The establishment of production capabilities for renewable jet fuel in Australia would not only be good for economic growth, leveraging the abundant raw materials, but more importantly, it could lead to domestic jet fuel production which could reduce Australia’s dependence on imported jet fuel.  We look forward to continuing to work with Queensland, Virgin Australia, feedstock suppliers, and other partners in Australia to make a Queensland-based production of renewable jet fuel a reality, said Dr Gruber.

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