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Suriya Arulselvan

Jun 15, 2016


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Please note that our updated proposal addresses the queries posed by the judges.  A brief explanation has been provided below:

- How would you convince the Chinese to invest in the technology and why would they be willing to undertake such a significant investment when others are not? 

China has an advantage in possessing skilled labor, substantial land, and suitable climatic conditions. Investing in scaling-up biofuels in China would reduce the country's dependence on oil imports, and also provide additional sources of rural income. Having made investments of a similar scale in wind, solar and other renewable sectors, China can be willing to undertake this initiative. 

- How do you propose the Chinese government could entice airlines to use the biofuels, despite the higher costs compared to conventional jet fuel.

Agreements can be made between the suppliers and airlines such as KLM, British Airways and United Airlines that have taken numerous initiatives in promoting RD&D efforts in biofuel. Strategic alignments can also be made with the European Union, which has included the aviation industry in its emission trading system.  Another option that can be explored is to set-up bioports where all the operators flying into these airports will be refueled by biofuel.

Ramping up the production volume improves the technology know-how and efficiency and will contribute in decreasing the production cost.  On broadly estimating using learning curve, the aviation biofuel would directly compete with conventional jet fuel, when the cumulative production by China and others reach 60 - 100 MT. 

-  Can you outline how you estimated the $50 billion figure and provide details on your calculations? How does this cost translate into a cost per barrel output per day (or other interesting metrics)? 

This has been addressed in detail in the "Proposal cost" section. 

- The type of feedstock used to produce aviation biofuels is extremely important. This can affect farm land to produce food and may not have as great of a lifecycle impact as previously thought. If the former, how would you try to avoid replacing food or feed production? Would this environmental benefit be worth it when comparing it to the societal cost of the displacement?

Since second-generation biofuel technology relies on feedstocks that can be produced on marginal lands rather than prime cropland, it can avoid direct conflict with food production in the country. Besides, biofuel feedstock cultivation requires the use of modern agricultural techniques.  This could benefit the farmers in improving food production as well. 

To understand the environmental benefit, we estimated that the annual production of 40 MT of biofuel would reduce the GHG emissions by 80 MT/year.