The global aviation industry is responsible for more than 2 percent of human-produced carbon dioxide emissions. To put a dent in that statistic, scientists have been actively searching for cost-effective and eco-friendly aviation fuels derived from natural resources.
In recent years, microalgae have proved themselves as an ideal candidate for that purpose due to their impressive potential for the efficient production of sustainable biofuels. Now, a new facility in Europe could finally help get things rolling on a scale larger than ever before.
The first biofuel in the sky
The facility, located in Istanbul, is dubbed as Europe’s first carbon-negative biorefinery. Its purpose is to use algae to make a variety of sustainable products for multiple sectors in Turkey, with a focus on biofuel for the aviation sector.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, a biorefinery essentially takes organic material and turns it into useful products. In this case, the facility will use both microalgae and macroalgae to create a variety of products, from food supplements to fertilizer to jet fuel.
Funded in large part by the European Union the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology, the project aims to provide a sustainable fuel alternative that would help wean the energy sector off fossil fuels.
When will this biofuel take off?
The biorefinery is located on the campus of Bogazici University, close to the Black Sea where all the algae cultivation takes place. The 2,500-square meter facility can process about 1,200 tons of wet algae mass per year.
Currently, the biorefinery is still in its early stages of producing bio-jet fuel, which can be blended at 1 to ten percent with standard jet fuel, reports euronews. The first batch of biofuel to hit the skies is expected to be used in a domestic flight with Turkish Airlines by the end of the year.