"Accelerating Development
& Commercialization of
Sustainable Aviation Fuel"

Case Study: GOL

GOL flight 9290, the first HEFA fueled experimental flight in Brazil/June 19th 2012.

Mr. Adalberto Bogsan, VP Technical of GOL, Mr Pedro Scorza, Director Operations of GOL
Mr. Adalberto Bogsan, VP Technical of GOL, Mr Pedro Scorza, Director Operations of GOL
With the ASTM certification of the BioSPK under D7566 on July 1st, 2011, GOL Airlines started internal discussions for a commercial flight during the opening ceremony of RIO+20 in 2012. The milestone flight is part of the company’s renewable fuels commitment under the SAFUG pledge to support the development of an integrated bio-SPK value chain in Brazil, a “field to wing” collaborative platform, to meet the agricultural challenge of sustainable feedstock production, leverage on the country’s immense land and labor resources, and supportive governmental biofuel policy, though still missing the inclusion of the bio-SPK chapter.

Curcas Diesel Brasil, the integrator of the Brazilian Biojetfuel Platform, was retained to support the planning and lead the work group for the first HEFA fueled commercial flight in Brazil.

The first step taken was to sponsor, together with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Embrapa Agroenergia, the Brazilian Biojetfuel Platform, and Inter-American Development Bank, the II Brazilian Congress on Jatropha Research and the I PanAmerican Workshop on Sustainability and Scalability of Jatropha plantations in the Americas, held on Nov 29th - Dec 1st, 2011 in Brasilia, D.F.. Supporting the R&D effort of this feedstock is critical to the global domestication effort to establish Jatropha as a viable alternative, that does not compete with food cultures, and meet the agricultural challenge for sustainable feedstock production in the Americas. These events jump started a Pan American Jatropha Research and Development Program coordinated by IICA for the Americas and Caribbean to integrate and optimize the R&D efforts in the Americas.

The second step, the gap analysis done in Q1 2012 for the commercial flight project, identified the lack of readily available tolling facilities in the world for the timely hydro processing of Jatropha oil consolidated from Brazilian Family farmers and agribusiness. This led to a temporary suspension of the flight project, while searching for additional alternatives of HEFA availability. In addition to this processing restriction, the other gap identified was the lack of update of the ANP regulation to include the bio-SPK specification, conditio sine qua non for a commercial flight.

(left to right): Mr. Paul Bryant, VP of Technology of Boeing Brasil, Mr. Adalberto Bogsan, VP Technical of GOL, Minister Fernando Pimentel, Brazilian Minister of Development, Commerce and Export, Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of ICAO, and Gustavo do Vale, President of INFRAERO.
(left to right): Mr. Paul Bryant, VP of Technology of Boeing Brasil, Mr. Adalberto Bogsan, VP Technical of GOL, Minister Fernando Pimentel, Brazilian Minister of Development, Commerce and Export, Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of ICAO, and Gustavo do Vale, President of INFRAERO.
The third step happened when ICAO called on Brazilian airlines for alternatives for the fourth leg of the historic four leg journey of the Secretary General of ICAO from Montreal into RIO+20, for a timely arrival in Rio for the ICAO Aviation Day at RIO+20. GOL accepted the challenge to provide a HEFA fueled experimental flight as the fourth leg of Secretary General of ICAO journey and a special work group with a mini mission control center was set up to meet the very tight logistics framework. The challenge was to provide a fast track entry procedure for the Secretary General and staff, coordinated with local immigration authorities at the arrival of Aeromexico’s flight at the Sao Paulo International Airport (GRU), transport the group by helicopter (to bypass potential delays caused by traffic jams of São Paulo) to the City Central Airport (CGH) for the timely boarding of flight GOL #9290 together with other authorities and distinguished guest. Punctual landing of the GOL flight at the Rio de Janeiro city central airport (SDU), was supported by the fuel saving RNP-AR approach system developed in a joint venture with GOL, DECEA (Brazilian Airspace Management) and GE, for additional carbon saving.

The success of this first HEFA fueled flight in Brazil was attributed to a perfect coordination by mission control center with the superb cooperation of the supply and logistic chain.

The HEFA supplied by UOP was produced from UCO and ICO at its Pasadena, TX plant, with import logistics from Pasadena, TX to Campinas (VCP), SP provided by AirBP, and blending with JetA1 and final FFP delivery by BR Aviation. The flight was sponsored by Boeing, BR Aviation, Curcas and IDB.

The GOL demand for a commercial HEFA flight at RIO+20 has triggered a positive reaction from ANP – the Brazilian Oil and Biofuels Regulatory Agency, and revision of RANP 37/2009 was started on July 17th, 2012.