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Building a Supply Chain to Go From Seed to Sky

June 18, 2013
Several workshops took place at BIO’s World Congress today including Building the Aviation Biofuels Supply Chain Network. The workshops are designed for specific and focused discussions on business or technical information and this one looked at Agrisoma as a case study for building an aviation supply chain network.

Agrisoma is working to ensure the delivery of a viable petroleum replacement by leading activities across the energy feedstock value chain. A major milestone was reached on October 29, 2012, when the world’s first 100 percent biofuel powered flight took place over Canada’s skies. A true seed-to-sky story. This came together as a result of strong partnerships especially within the Saskatchewan community, said Steve Fabijanski of Agrisoma.

Steve invited many of Agrisoma’s partners on stage to share their role in making this possible including Ag-West Bio,Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy, Genome Prairie, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, POS Biosciences, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Applied Research Associates, National Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It was truly a collaborative effort.

Workshop moderator Jim Lane, editor and publisher for Biofuels Digest, saluted the Canadian attitude towards partnerships that made this possible. Jim asked panelists to discuss the barriers around continued growth for aviation biofuels and it really came down to certainty. Growers want certainty that they’re going to make money, refining partners want certainty that they’ll have final customers, and airlines want certainty that the feedstock will be there so they’ll have something to fuel their planes.

With a population approaching 9 billion by 2050 and lifestyles changing around the world, Jim noted the importance of aviation biofuels: “If everyone around the world had your energy footprint, let’s consider that impact. We would need six times as much energy as we have today - not double, not triple but six times.”

Putting that into context, he informed the room that the U.S. petroleum reserve would only last 6 months if it had to handle that kind of output.

“So you have a choice,” Jim continued. “Develop these technologies, find another planet or find a reason to deny your neighbor the lifestyle you enjoy. The first one seems best to me.”