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Keywords:

  • biofuels;
  • microalgae;
  • aviation;
  • AHP

The negative environmental impact of the aviation industry, related mainly to the gaseous emissions from turbine exhausts, is increasing with the increased demand on travel. In addition to the adverse environmental effects, the currently used aviation fuel is posing economic burdens on the air transport sector, with the increase in crude oil prices. Therefore, the aviation industry is investigating the potential of substituting the currently used aviation fuel with alternative fuels—mainly those derived from biofuels. Of all the available sources of biofuels, numerous studies indicate that those derived from algae seem to be the most promising, in terms of providing a viable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. This study explores the feasibility of microalgal jet fuel, taking into consideration technological, environmental, and economic aspects, using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Two scenarios are explored, with one stressing on the environmental importance and the second on the economic importance of the alternative jet fuel. The results indicate that microalgal derived jet fuel can only compete with conventional jet fuel, when giving the environmental criterion the higher weight. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 721–733, 2013