The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced the approval of a regional cooperation to help public and private institutions develop a sustainable biojet fuels industry employing different kinds of local organic feedstock.

This initiative will fund consultancy services, knowledge development, dissemination material and workshops on the sustainable use and production of biojet fuels, with the goal of demonstrating their feasibility for the local aviation sector, and for potential exports.  The IDB is partnering the aviation industry stakeholders that are leading the development of alternative aviation fuels, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, and the World Economic Forum, individual airlines, aircraft manufacturers and biofuel technology providers.

These institutions and companies are working together on regulations and targets for carbon emission reductions with the goal of displacing as much as 50 percent of jet fuel worldwide by alternative sources by 2050. One way for airlines to meet carbon emission targets is by purchasing carbon credits; another is to develop alternative fuels that would help meet the carbon emissions reduction requirements, while helping the industry to be more competitive by reducing fuel price volatility.

Options for alternative fuels in this sector are currently limited – jatropha primarily – because of the technical requirements of jet fuels. The IDB project will make it possible to explore and develop technologies that will produce feasible substitutes to traditional fuels in the aviation sector.  This would enable Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to play a lead role in the supply of a competitive value-added product (as it already does with ethanol and biodiesel), while contributing to local economic development and generating quality jobs. We expect the production cost to be lower in LAC than on other regions, specially the major jetfuel consumer ones.