Continental Airlines, Boeing
and GE Aviation are planning to conduct a biofuels demonstration flight in the first half of 2009 in an effort to
identify sustainable fuel solutions for the aviation industry.
The biofuel flight will use a Boeing Next-Generation 737 equipped with CFM International CFM56-7B engines. CFM is a 50/50 joint company
of General Electric Company and Snecma (SAFRAN Group). In the months leading up to the flight, Continental, Boeing and GE will work
together and with an undisclosed fuel provider to identify sustainable fuel sources that don’t impact food crops, water resources or
contribute to deforestation, and which can be produced in sufficient quantities to support a pre-flight test schedule that includes laboratory
and ground-based jet engine performance testing to ensure compliance with stringent aviation fuel
performance and safety requirements.
“Exploring sustainable biofuels is a logical and exciting new step in our environmental commitment. For more than a decade, we have been
focused on reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions, while providing industry-leading service to the places our customers want to
go,” said Mark Moran, Continental Airlines executive vice president of operations. “Boeing and GE Aviation have been frontrunners in
pioneering technology that will benefit the aviation industry, customers, and the environment, and we are pleased to benefit from their
expertise in this venture.”
As part of a broader industry effort, Boeing and other industry thought leaders, including airlines and engine manufacturers, are helping to
guide the aviation sector toward sustainable biofuels produced through advanced biomass conversion technologies and processes that
have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their lifecycle. Sustainable biofuels for aviation incorporate second-generation
methodologies relative to fuel source selection and processing, which are uniquely suited for aerospace use. These biofuels can then be
blended with kerosene fuel (Jet-A) to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
“Continental is taking an important step in advancing the use of sustainable biofuels in aviation,” said Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of
GE Aviation. “Working with our jet engine team at CFM International, GE has considerable experience in evaluating biofuels in jet engines
for aviation and in aeroderivative engines for marine and industrial applications. GE and CFM are eager to get started in supporting
Continental’s exciting program.”
Continental’s participation in this project is part of a company-wide commitment to environmental responsibility. The airline has achieved a
35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption per mainline revenue passenger mile flown over the past 10 years.
This is due in large part to the efforts of its employees in streamlining operational procedures and to an investment of more than $12 billion
to acquire 270 fuel-efficient aircraft and related equipment.
airline has also reduced, by 75%, nitrogen oxide emissions from ground equipment at the carrier’s largest hub, in Houston,
through switching to electric ground service equipment and other new technology. This technology is now being tested for use in cold
other recent news regarding: