European Aeronautic Defence And Space (EADS) and its subsidiary, Eurocopter, have signed a deal with an Argentinean biofuels supplier to evaluate the potential for an algae-based biofuel, according to a company press release.
EADS and BioCombustibles del Chubut signed the deal at the ILA Berlin Air Show, at which EADS debuted the first aircraft, a twin engine Diamond DA42, to be powered solely by algae. BioCombustibles provided the fuel for the aircraft.
Under terms of the agreement, 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 also announced that it has partnered with Aero Composites Saintonge and the Greencri-cri Association to build a four-engine all-electric aircraft, which the company plans to debut at the Green Aviation Show. The new aircraft makes use of a lightweight composite structure and is powered by lithium batteries. The aircraft is capable of 30 minutes of flight at 110 km/h, or 15 minutes at speeds reaching up to 250 km/h, and a climb rate of approximately 5.3 m/sec.
EADS has said it can replace 10 percent of its jet aviation fuel with biofuels by 2040, while FedEx hopes to replace 30 percent of its fuel supply with biofuels by 2030. Continental Airlines, Boeing and GE Aviation have all conducted biofuels demonstration flights in an effort to identify sustainable fuel solutions for the aviation industry.