Global Bioenergies and Swift Fuel plan the first international flight of an aircraft powered by aviation gasoline made from over 97% renewable resources

·5 min read


Global Bioenergies and Swift Fuel plan the first international flight of an aircraft powered by aviation gasoline made from over 97% renewable resources

  • A one-hour flight from Saarbrücken to Reims

  • Aviation gasoline, a one billion-litre market in Europe and the USA

  • A step towards the emergence of an aviation biofuel sector

Evry (France), 14 June 2021 - Global Bioenergies (Euronext Growth: ALGBE), a French company that develops petroleum derivative substitutes made from renewable resources, and Swift Fuel GmbH, a specialist in “green” aircraft fuels, are planning on 15 June 2021 the first international flight powered by a fuel made from over 97% renewable sources. A VAN RV_8 aircraft will leave Saarbrücken, Germany, and land at Reims en Champagne airfield (Prunay) during a ceremony attended by Jean Rottner, President of the Grand Est Region, Roland Theis, Saarland Secretary of State for Justice and Plenipotentiary for European Affairs, Catherine Vautrin, President of the Grand Reims urban community, and Arnaud Robinet, Mayor of Reims.

Composed of over 97% biofuel, the aviation gasoline used for this flight is an environmentally friendly alternative to the 100LL fuel usually marketed for piston-engine aircraft.

This technological achievement is the first step towards a bio-based aviation fuel market. Avgas (short for “aviation gasoline”), which is used for piston-engine aircraft, represents a market of 100 million litres per year in Europe and 900 million litres in the United States, or a total of one billion litres in those two markets alone. The gasoline developed by Swift Fuel for this historic flight is lead-free and made up of over 97% plant-based compounds produced by Global Bioenergies.

A bio-based aviation fuel, the result of over 10 years of R&D

Since 2008, Global Bioenergies has been developing a fermentation process for the conversion of renewable resources into isobutene and its derivatives, which are useful in areas as diverse as fuels, ingredients for cosmetics and materials. In 2014, the company set up a pilot plant in association with ARD at the Bazancourt-Pomacle agro-industrial complex near Reims, which brings together leaders in agricultural processing, such as Cristal Union and ADM. This was followed in 2017 by the inauguration of an industrial demo plant ten times larger on the Leuna refinery site in Germany. The company recently announced the establishment of a production unit based in Bazancourt-Pomacle, which is currently under construction.

Since 2011, Swift has been developing environmentally friendly aviation fuels with the main focus on unleaded alternatives for current 100LL. Five years ago, the company introduced UL 94 in the US marketplace, the first lead-free aviation gasoline for the majority of airplanes. Consequently, Swift conducted research on 100R, an unleaded fuel that can be used by the entire fleet and has a minimum of 10% renewable content. The certification by the FAA and subsequently other aviation authorities around the world is ongoing.

Grand Reims, a world-class bio-refinery cluster

In recent years, Grand Reims has become a world-class centre of excellence in bio-refinery (food processing, production of biofuels, energy, cosmetic active ingredients, surfactants, etc.). “The region and its aspirational outlook have attracted leading green chemistry companies such as Global Bioenergies, which has just announced the upcoming relocation of its isobutene production to Pomacle. This first European flight of an aircraft powered by biosourced gasoline partly developed by ARD on the BioDémo platform is a source of pride for the Grand Reims area and, more broadly, for the Grand East Region”, declared Catherine Vautrin, President of the Grand Reims urban community.

The Grand Est Region has made the Bioeconomy a priority for economic and sustainable development in its territories. It has just adopted a sector contract for the sustainable development of biofuels in the Grand Est Region, signed with 44 players in the sector, in order to become the European leader in the production of sustainable biofuels. The challenge is to double the share of sustainable biofuels in the regional energy mix for mobility within 3 to 5 years, particularly for light, heavy, rail, river and air vehicles.

Today, the Region has 6 bioethanol and biodiesel production sites, 39 methanization sites for injection into the network and plans to have 30 hydrogen stations by 2030.

A century after the first city-to-city flight by aviation pioneer Henri Farman, which landed in Reims, initiatives in the field of sustainable aviation biofuels are multiplying. This first cross-border flight of an aircraft powered by fuel made from over 97% renewable sources is a historic step towards the decarbonisation of the aviation sector. “We look forward to working with our partners for the emergence of a truly green aviation fuel sector,” said Bernard Chaud, Head of Industrial Strategy at Global Bioenergies.

Thomas Albuzat, CEO of Swift Fuel, concluded: “Swift’s focus is the certification of its 100R alternative fuel, which can satisfy the entire piston-powered fleet. It is free of lead and other toxic additives and therefore better for health and the environment. Additionally, the fuel burns much cleaner which reduces maintenance costs for pilots and operators. It currently contains 10% renewables, but with the compounds supplied by Global Bioenergies which are ideally suited for 100R, we can even provide a completely renewable fuel. Swift calls on investors and public authorities to support the project.”


Global Bioenergies has developed a process to convert plant-derived resources into a key family of ingredients used in the cosmetics industry. The process was first developed in a laboratory, where the Company is further enhancing performance. It now operates as a pilot and a demo plant, with sufficient capacity to enable the Company to access the market by first creating a long-lasting makeup home brand. The Company is gradually increasing its production capacities and is looking to improve the environmental footprint of not only the cosmetics industry but also that of other areas such as transportation and materials. Global Bioenergies is listed on Euronext Growth Paris (FR0011052257 – ALGBE).

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