KLM conducted a flight partly powered by a camelina-based biofuel. The flight took off from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for a one-hour demonstration. On board were a number of Dutch government officials and industry partners - the first time passengers have been aboard a biofuels demonstration flight. The camelina was reportedly sourced from Great Plains-The Camelina company.
KLM has also announced the formation of a joint-venture company to develop sustainable biofuels called SkyEnergy, together with North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will advise the consortium in relation to ecological aspects.
The first biofuels trial flight took place in February 2008 when Virgin Airlines tested a fuel mix made from babassu palm and coconut oil. Last December an Air New Zealand Boeing 747 test flight used a 50% mix of biofuel from the plant jatropha. Following this, Continental Airlines flew one of its Boeing 737 aircraft on a 50% biofuel mix from algae and jatropha and Japan Airlines flew a Boeing 747 with a 50% blend of biofuel made from camelina, jatropha and algae.
BA announced that it would test four alternative fuels for a trial in a Rolls Royce test bed early next year. The company said that the fuel it chose would not impact food, water or land, although it did not offer details on how this would be achieved in a press release.
Lufthansa said that it would convert up to 10 percent of its fuel usage to biofuels by 2020, as a part of its overall effort to reduce emissions by 25 percent in that time frame. compared to 2006 levels. The company, which announced a set of measures to improve environmental efficiency, also said that it would reduce NOX emissions by 80 percent from 2000 levels.
Malaysia Airlines indicated that the airline expects to convert to biofuels as soon as they reach commercial viability in Southeast Asia. The airline’s CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala made the comments while launching a “MAS Goes Green” initiative, which channels voluntary funds from customers into a Forest Research Institute-managed trust fund for sanctioned forest conservation projects.
Airbus and Honeywell recently announced a partnership that they said would replace up to 30 percent of jet fuel with biofuels. The partnership, which includes Jet Blue and the International Aero Engines consortium, said their biofuels would be produced from algae and other non-food vegetable oils. The International Aero Engines consortium includes Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. Fuels will be developed by Honeywell UOP, which last year won a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) for development of biofuels for the US military.
Although not the only airline in the world to remain on a non-biofuel strategy, Qantas states that "First generation biofuels (corn, palm oil, soy, mustard) do not meet aviation’s technical standards, as they have low energy content and compete with food crops so are unacceptable to the aviation industry."
The WWF-Australia takes a fairly conservative approach to Biofuels, and cites Electric Vehilces & Hybrids as the most promising of the transport fuels (nothing regarding alternative fuel in aviation)
It looks as if we (Australia) may not be the leader in the growing research on aviation alternative fuels, but we may corner the market on Biofuel skepticism. ML
24 November 2009
- Biofuels Digest
- Jim Lane