According to one of the key findings from the
Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 Rolls-Royce powered test flight
last year, up to 1.4 tonnes of fuel can be saved on a twelve-hour long haul flight
powered by a 50/50 blend of second generation jatropha sustainable
biofuel and traditional Jet A1.
The test flight,
a joint initiative between Air New Zealand, Boeing, Rolls-Royce
and Honeywell's UOP, was carried out on 30 December as part of a
drive for more sustainable air travel.
The biofuel test programme
included extensive on-the-ground and inflight tests of the engine
and aircraft components. During the comprehensive flight test,
analysis was carried out at various altitudes and under a variety
of operating conditions to measure the biofuel's performance
through the engine and fuel systems.
A report prepared by
Air New Zealand, Boeing and Rolls-Royce to analyse the data
collected throughout the flight says the biofuel selected has
demonstrated the potential for use as a drop in replacement to Jet
A1 at a blend ratio of up to 50:50. This material now needs to be
submitted to the rigorous industry evaluation and approval
protocol to enable it to be certified for everyday use.
The report also found that the biofuel's properties offer some
performance improvements over Jet A1 due to its higher net heat of
Using this biofuel blend, the fuel
burn for a Boeing 747-400 aircraft twelve-hour flight (5800
nautical miles) would improve by 1.2 %, saving 1.43 tonnes of
Such a reduction in fuel burn would result in a
significant reduction in carbon emissions, saving approximately
4.5 tonnes of CO2.
At shorter ranges, fuel burn will improve
by 1% when using a mix of 50% biofuel to 50 % Jet A1.
savings due to these hydrotreated bio-derived jet fuels from
naturally occurring oils is estimated to be a 60-65% reduction in
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to petroleum-derived jet
The report says the test flight has demonstrated that
more sustainable air travel can be achieved by refiners, airframe
manufacturers, engine makers and airlines working together. It
should also give those drafting fuel certification regulations
more confidence to push ahead and reduce the timeline for
certification of a bio-derived drop-in jet fuel to occur.
Air New Zealand General Manager
Airline Operations and Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan said it was Air New Zealand's goal to become the world's
most environmentally sustainable airline, and that it was proud to
have played an important role in furthering the industry's body of
knowledge on sustainable alternative biofuels.
have a team looking at several different biofuel options. We
remain committed to our ambition of having 10% 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," he said.
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