How green and scalable are WorldEnergy’s aviation biofuels made from wastes and residues?

Click here to read Biofuelwatch’s report about WorldEnergy’s aviation biofuels, sourced by KLM and United Airlines amongst others

Executive Summary

World Energy’s refinery in Paramount remains the world’s only regular producer of aviation biofuels, although it refuses to disclose the amount of aviation fuels it makes. Its model relies on three feedstocks: two of those are byproducts from industries which themselves are linked to very high greenhouse gas emissions and environmental harm, i.e. the livestock industry and corn ethanol.

All three feedstocks – tallow, used cooking oil/yellow grease, and distillers corn oil – are only available in very limited quantities which cannot increase in response to biofuel demand. Even in the unlikely event that all of those feedstocks worldwide could be turned into aviation biofuels, those would barely replace fossil fuel kerosene for a single week out of a year. Diverting food-grade tallow and distillers corn oil from non-biofuel uses pushes up the demand for palm oil and soya oil respectively as replacements for those displaced uses, contributing further to deforestation and the carbon emissions. 

Furthermore, diverting any feedstock from biofuel production for cars and trucks to aviation will push up demand for virgin vegetable oil unless it is compensated for by reduced biofuel use in road transport.