Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Virgin Australia Expands Biofuel Possibilities With New Partnership

Virgin Australia working towards better Sustainability

At Virgin Australia, we are always keen to support projects that foster the environment, Australian innovation and regional economies. That’s why we were drawn to Licella; an Australian-based biofuel company that has developed a unique, new process that converts waste into sustainable, aviation fuel.

Virgin Australia sustainability program

David White Virgin Australia Manager of Sustainability and Climate Change (left), Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy (middle) & Robert Boyd Virgin Australia Principal Economic Analyst (right) at the opening of the Demonstration Facility at Somersby.

This month we were excited to announce that Virgin Australia will play a role in developing this breakthrough technology called Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (CAT-HTR). First-off, we will be assisting with further testing of the fuel CAT-HTR produces, with the aim of supporting its certification and reaching a commercial-off take agreement down the track.

Don’t let the technical name ‘CAT-HTR’ mislead you, this is a remarkably straightforward technology. You see – unlike current methods that require multiple processes – Licella’s CAT-HTR involves just one-step. By using water technology, CAT-HTR breaks down waste in one, continuous flow to create high quality bio-crude oil. What’s more, because it uses water, CAT-HTR is potentially a much cleaner and more cost-effective alternative to current methods.

We’re not the only ones embracing the great potential of this technology. Thanks to a generous grant from the Australian Federal Government, this week Licella was able to open a new Demonstration Plant at Somersby on the NSW Central Coast, which will be dedicated to further testing CAT-HTR. Our alliance partner Air New Zealand has also announced its support, which is great because we need a coordinated effort to develop sustainable alternative fuel!

We are excited to be a part of Licella’s bright future and look forward to sharing more updates on our sustainability strategy with you in the New Year.


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