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FedEx Aims for 30 Percent Biofuels by 2030

FedEx wants a third of its jet fuel to come from biofuels by 2030, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday in a speech delivered during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit.

The target, dubbed “30 by 30,” aims to take advantage of second-generation biofuels from feedstocks such as jatropha, algae, switchgrass and camelina, as first reported by GreenWire. FedEx provided text of Smith's remarks to

“Its goal is 30 percent alternative fuel use for aviation by 2030,” said Fred Smith, FedEx’s CEO and chairman. “And we pledge our support for environmentally friendly alternative fuel projects, which should be stepped up by funds designated for fuel research in the current stimulus package.”

There have been four successful biofuel demonstration flights during the last year, Smith said, using blends of petroleum and jatropha, algae and camelina.

The company is trading in the MD-11s it uses on long-range international routes for new 777Fs, as well as old 727s for new 757s, which are 47 percent more fuel-efficient.

FedEx has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its worldwide air operations by 20 percent by 2020, per available ton mile. Since 2005, it has reduced aircraft emissions by 3.7 percent by pound per available ton mile. 

Smith also pushed for electrifying road transportation; its FedEx vans drive less than 100 miles per day. “I realize this isn’t an aviation issue, but we already have the infrastructure for electrification and going electric for short-haul can affect the amount of petroleum much more than biofuel use for aviation,” he said.

While the environmental push is part of the company’s long-term strategy, Smith also lobbied for an overhaul of the country’s decrepit air traffic control system, which he contends has the potential to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent to 12 percent.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System will modernize communication, navigation and surveillance technologies and has already showed great promise in reducing air congestion, making routes more direct and increasing aviation safety.

FedEx and rival United Parcel Service are already saving money and fuel using continuous descents in Memphis and Louisville, while flights in Atlanta were able to shave 2.5 minutes from each flight, generating savings of about $105 million since 2006.

"FedEx" -- CC licensed by Flickr user Ack Ook.

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