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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

01 Jun 2009 04:06:43

Air New Zealand completes biofuel test flight

Air New Zealand completes biofuel test flight
Up to 1.4 tonnes of jet fuel could be saved on a typical 12-hour long-haul flight by including 50 percent biofuel in the blend, it has been suggested.

According to Air New Zealand, mixing sustainable jatropha biofuel with traditional Jet A1 led to the savings on a Boeing 747-400 test flight that was conducted in December last year.

Details of the flight, which was a joint initiative between the carrier, Boeing, engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and industry partners, were revealed at the Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington, US on May 28th.

Analysis of the operation indicated that using the blend improved fuel consumption on the long-haul flight by 1.2 percent, enough to lead to savings of approximately 4.5 tonnes in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.

Scientists estimated that a mix of 50 percent Jet A1 and 50 percent biofuel could improve fuel burn rates by approximately 1 percent over shorter distances.

Announcing the results, Air New Zealand's general manager of airline operations Captain David Morgan said: "Certainly the data from our biofuel test flight will be a critical component towards helping biofuel become a certified aviation fuel.

"We remain committed to our ambition of having ten percent of our fuel needs by 2013 met by alternative fuels, but appreciate there are many more steps to be taken by experts in other areas to deliver biofuel as a commercial aviation fuel source."

Seeds from the Jatropha plant contain lipid oils that are used to produce biofuel; it can be grown in difficult conditions including non-arable areas, meaning that it has minimal impact on global food production.



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