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Sinopec recycles kictchen waste to engine power

08-16-2012 10:30 BJT

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China’s largest oil company is planning to produce aviation fuel from used cooking oil. There have been successful examples where European companies run their airlines with biofuels to save energy, and it is hoped China will achieve similar results.

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is now literally the case, as China’s largest oil company is trying very hard to extract fuel from kitchen waste. Sinopec’s largest refinery has already completed production trials, reaching the capacity of producing 20,000 tons of aviation biofuel from used cooking oil each year.

And the company is now expected to be ready for review by China’s aviation authorities in January 2013. But how soon can Chinese airlines fly on the new power source?

Liu Dehua, director of Institute of Applied Chemistry, Tsinghua University, said, "Biofuel will be used more and more in the aviation industry but only at a gradual pace. Although we already have the technology to produce it, it still will take a very long time for us to see large scale production of biofuel from used cooking oil."

A growing number of airlines are now trying to tap biofuel in a bid to cut emissions, as airlines powered by it will be partly or even fully exempted from the European Union’s carbon tax when they fly to and from Europe. The UK and the Netherlands have both successfully launched such flights.

Liu Dehua said, "Those airlines that have biofuel powered flights are mostly for testing rather than commercial purposes, for China at the moment the refining process costs as much as two or three times higher than regular jet fuel."

The expert says government incentives and support are essential, especially in the initial stage of new energy development, as is with all types of renewable energy development in the world.

Sinopec is said to be now in talks with some food chains for used cooking oil supplies, in the meantime experts say running airlines on biofuel will likely be a demanding task, as the production costs and emissions must be carefully looked into, before the operations go into full swing.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CCTV.com

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