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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

ASTM International to begin balloting process for isobutene-to-SAF certification

Global Bioenergies announced Feb. 16 that ASTM International has scheduled the balloting process to certify sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced through its bio-isobutene technology.

“The balloting process, a key step for such certification, is now scheduled,” the company stated. “SAF is certified worldwide according to ASTM standard D7566, with an annex describing the fuel-specification requirements and maximum blend percentage with conventional jet fuels. This standard allows the certified products to be considered as ‘drop-in’ fuels, meaning they can safely be used in existing commercial aircraft and aviation-fuel infrastructure at international level. Inclusion of new SAF production pathways in the standard requires an extensive evaluation of the performance of the fuel followed by a balloting procedure.”

According to Global Bioenergies, its fuel has undergone performance evaluations from 2018-’23 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration; airplane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing; and engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation, Safran, Pratt & Whitney, and Honeywell.

“Starting on Feb. 27 and ongoing over several weeks, [the] balloting process at ASTM D02 Subcommittee J containing key aviation-industry stakeholders [will occur],” the company stated. “To proceed with the certification, unanimous agreement on the proposed changes to the standard are required.”

If the subcommittee voting round is positive, final consensus at the ASTM D02 main committee will be sought through a second ballot session in June, according to Global Bioenergies.

“Our collaboration with SkyNRG, the worldwide leader fostering the development of SAF, took place in the frame of the EU project,” said Bernard Chaud, the head of industrial strategy at Global Bioenergies. “Reaching the ballot stage of the ASTM-certification process is a great milestone for us. We’ll stay very attentive to all ASTM members’ comments during the process so as to provide all the answers and guarantees for commercial application to aeronautics.”

Marc Delcourt, co-founder and CEO at Global Bioenergies, added, “A positive vote of the ASTM Subcommittee J would be an amazing achievement for Global Bioenergies as only seven technologies have been certified so far. But in no case could we talk about crossing a finish line—such a positive decision would in fact become the concrete starting point of our SAF project. Improving further the performances of the process, as well as funding and building a large plant allowing the cost to be compatible with commercial application to air transportation, will be a long journey.”

Maarten van Dijk, co-founder and chief development officer at SkyNRG, said, “Collaboration between key industry experts is what is needed to drive innovation and build a more sustainable aviation industry. The partnership with Global Bioenergies is a perfect example of this. Jointly realizing ASTM certification of their isobutene-to-SAF pathway will be a significant milestone for this new technology. At SkyNRG we see this as an important step towards meeting the rising demand for sustainable aviation fuel in the future and help the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint and reach the target of net zero by 2050.”



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