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Lufthansa Launches Six-Month Biofuel Trial on Scheduled Flights

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Lufthansa has launched a six-month biofuel trial on regular scheduled flights.

A Lufthansa Airbus A321, equipped with IAE engines (International Aero Engines), with the registration D-AIDG will fly the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route four times daily. One of its engines will run on a 50/50 mix of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene.

The biofuel for jet engines has been approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Since biokerosene has similar properties to those of conventional kerosene it can be used for all aircraft types without any need for modifications to the aircraft or its engines.

The first flight of the six-month trial, operating under flight number LH013, took off on Friday from Hamburg at 11.15 hrs (CET) bound for Frankfurt.

During the six months test run period, the use of biofuel will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1,500 tonnes.

Christoph Franz, Chairman and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, said that next to reducing CO2 emissions the main aim of this long-term operational trial, was to examine the effects of biofuel on the maintenance and lifespan of aircraft engines.

The biosynthetic kerosene used by Lufthansa is derived from pure biomass (biomass to liquids BtL) and consists of jatropha, camelina and animal fats.

The fuel used by Lufthansa is produced by Neste Oil, a Finnish oil company. Neste has extensive experience in the production of biofuels and has been a successful partner of Lufthansa for many years.

Fuel quality is a critical issue in aviation. Neste Oils NExBTL technology is very well-suited to producing aviation fuel that meets the aviation industrys toughest quality standard, said Matti Lievonen, Neste Oil's President and CEO. Being a pioneer in this area, we are very proud to co-operate with Airbus and Lufthansa. We believe that renewable aviation fuels have real potential for the future.

Lufthansa puts the total costs of conducting the biofuel project at about 6.6 million euros. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology has awarded 2.5 million euros in funding for this project, which is part of a larger project known as FAIR (Future Aircraft Research) set up to examine other issues besides the compatibility of biofuels, including new propulsion and aircraft concepts and other fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The use of biosynthetic kerosene is one element of the four-pillar climate protection strategy pursued by Lufthansa with a view to reducing overall CO2 emissions in the air transport sector. By combining a range of different measures for example, ongoing fleet modernisation, technology improvements to aircraft and engines, operational measures such as engine washing or the use of lighter materials and an improved infrastructure Lufthansa aims to achieve the ambitious environmental goals set out in its strategy.

 The implementation of new technologies has seen Lufthansa improve its fuel efficiency by over 30% since 1991. Today the Lufthansa fleet has an average fuel consumption of 4.2 litres per 100 passenger-kilometres.

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