German airline concludes biofuel trial

German airline Lufthansa will be concluding its six – month biofuel trial with its first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight, between Frankfurt and Washington DC.
Lufthansa acknowledged that the future of their biofuel programme depends on their capability to source enough sustainable jet biofuels.

The Boeing 747-400 will be leaving towards Frankfurt bound for Washington DC and will carry a fuel mix of around 40 tonnes of a biosynthetic fuel. The airline predicts that this will reduce CO2 emissions by 38 tonnes; this is approximately equal to six scheduled flights between Frankfurt and Berlin. The company also stated that it is just as reliable as conventional as jet fuel and has, in fact, a higher energy density which allows fuel consumption to be reduced by over 1%.

The January 2012 flight appears to be the last turn in this successful trial, that has led to 1,187 Lufthansa domestic flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg using a 50/50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene in one of the plane’s engines.

Lufthansa has applauded the trial as a triumph. From mid-July to the end of December 2011it used up 1,566 tonnes of bio-kerosene mix, saving approximately 1,471 tonnes of CO2. The company advised that the higher energy density of biofuels resulted in a reduced fuel consumption by more than one per cent during flights, while the fuel also proved to be free of polluting sulphur and aromatic compounds.

“Our burnFAIR project went off smoothly and to our fullest satisfaction,” said Joachim Buse, vice president of aviation biofuel at Lufthansa.

“As expected, biofuel proved its worth in daily flight operations,” Buse added.

“As a next step, we will focus on the suitability, availability, sustainability and certification of raw materials,” he said. “However, Lufthansa will only continue the practical trial if we are able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations.”

Airlines all over the world are under extreme pressure to cut on emissions due to unstable oil prices and their inclusion into the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

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