The creation of an aviation biofuel production facility in Brazil will be evaluated by EADS, Eurocopter and BioCombustibles del Chubut under terms of a cooperative agreement signed at this monthâ€™s ILA Berlin Air Show.
The accord will benefit from the pioneering work in algae-based biofuels already conducted by EADS and BioCombustibles del Chubut, and it builds on Eurocopterâ€™s growing presence in Brazil.
â€œEADS understands the importance of working with all elements of the â€˜value chainâ€™ in developing biofuels as an alternate to fossil fuels used in aviation,â€ said EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti. â€œBy teaming with BioCombustibles del Chubut, we will benefit from the companyâ€™s unmatched experience in developing microalgae as a source of next-generation biofuels.â€
â€œThe signature of this agreement is the first step in changing the future of aviation as we know it today,â€ said Marcelo GonzÃ¡lez Machin, the president of BioCombustibles del Chubut. â€œFurthermore, through the production of this biofuel, the EADS Group will start a very significant social and productive change worldwide. It will be a revolutionary change, not only for the massive reductions in CO2 emissions that it is to provide, but also for production system that it will establish.â€
â€œEurocopter has made the development of more eco-friendly helicopters one of its priorities,â€ said Didier Renaux, Eurocopterâ€™s Business Engineering Vice President. â€œMoreover, the concept of local production of algae biofuel is particularly adapted to helicopter operations, and opens new business opportunities.â€
Under terms of the agreement signed at the Berlin Air Show, the team of EADS, Eurocopter and BioCombustibles del Chubut will perform feasibility studies using microalgae farming to produce aviation-grade biofuel. The feasibility of helicopter flight tests with the biofuel is currently under assessment.
A subsequent step could be the development of full-scale biofuel production plant in Brazil based on a confirmation of the technical and economic feasibility of such an operation.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, the Group â€“ comprising Airbus, Eurocopter, EADS Astrium and EADS Defence & Security â€“ generated revenues of â‚¬ 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the worldâ€™s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.
BioCombustibles del Chubut is a Patagonia, Argentina-based company specialized in the production of microalgae for oil and biofuels. It supplied the microalgae oil for the EADS-demonstrator Diamond Aircraft DA42 general aviation aircraft, which made daily demonstration flights at the 2010 Berlin Air Show â€“ a worldâ€™s first utilising pure algae biofuel.
Microalgae are microscopic organisms that use sunlight, water and minerals to grow by photosynthesis, while absorbing carbon dioxide greenhouse gases in the photosynthesis process. The microalgae reproduce more rapidly and create significantly more biomass (organic substance) per cultivated area, and their cultivation process does not compete with food production.
Grown for many years on a commercial basis for the development of products such as food supplements and cosmetics, microalgae have now emerged as one of the leading sources of alternative fuels.