Lufthansa launches scheduled flights using biofuel

Lufthansa is the first airline worldwide to use biosynthetic kerosene in scheduled flight operations

Lufthansa is today (15th July 2011) launching a six-month biofuel trial on regular scheduled flights. A Lufthansa Airbus A321 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.

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

As air transport is the only mode of transport that will remain dependent upon liquid fuels for the foreseeable future, the aviation industry and the research community must develop and test alternatives.

The main aim of this long-term operational trial is 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 and consists of jatropha, camelina and animal fats. In the procurement of biofuel, Lufthansa ensures that it originates from a sustainable supply and production process. Suppliers must provide proof of the sustainability of their processes and meet the criteria stipulated by the European Parliament and the Council in the Renewable Energy Directive.

"Lufthansa guarantees that the production of its biofuel is not in direct competition with food production and that no rainforests are destroyed,” Dr. Christoph Franz, Chairman and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, said.

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).

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