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China Eastern Airlines Joins Airbus Clean Jet-Fuel Network Plans

China Eastern Airlines Corp. will join Airbus SAS plans to build clean jet-fuel capacity in the world’s fastest growing major economy to curb emissions.

The airline, based in Shanghai, will tie-up with a group of growers, distributors and government agencies that Airbus is uniting to help make clean fuel commercially viable in China, said Justin Dubon, a spokesman for Toulouse-based Airbus.

“We’re trying to help speed up the industrialization process and use of alternative fuels by airlines,” Dubon said today in a phone interview. “Our main challenge is producing enough sustainable feedstock to convert into adequate quantities of alternative aviation fuel for daily use.”

Airbus and Boeing Co. are among airplane producers building supply networks for alternative fuel in an aviation industry that makes up 2 percent of world carbon-dioxide output. Airbus in March joined a group including Virgin Australia to study use of eucalyptus mallee trees for fuel, and has an agreement with Brazil’s Embraer SA to collaborate on aviation biofuels.

China’s Tsinghua University joined the network in the country, Airbus said yesterday. Tsinghua will help select Chinese feedstocks to make fuel including from sources such as used cooking oil and algae. From 2013, the partners will seek to build production to commercially viable levels, Airbus said.

Airbus and Air Canada made North America’s first “perfect flight” with an Airbus A319 in June, using the most efficient aircraft, biofuel and lightweight cabin equipment to cut energy and carbon emissions to a minimum. Airbus, with biofuel capacity in Latin America, Australia, Europe and the Middle East, plans a chain of suppliers and producers for every continent this year.

Airlines have won approval from the U.S. technical standards body to fly passenger planes with a 50-50 blend of petroleum-based fuel and biofuel.

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