January 30, 2009

Biofuel Test Flight Of Boeing Jet A Success In Japan

Japan Airlines (JAL) conducted the world's first successful test flight of a Boeing airplane run on biofuel consisting mostly of a non-food energy crop called camelina.

The 90-minute demonstration, a joint effort between JAL, Boeing and engine-maker Pratt and Whitney, began as the Boeing 747-300 took off from Tokyo's Haneda airport on Friday. 

JAL, Asia's largest carrier, said that one of the aircraft's engines was powered by biofuel mixed with traditional kerosene jet oil.

"No modifications to the aircraft or engine were required for biofuel," said JAL in a statement.

"Today is an extremely important day for Japan Airlines, for aviation, and for the environment," said Haruka Nishimatsu, the company's president.

"The demonstration flight brings us ever closer to finding a greener alternative to traditional petroleum-based fuel."

"When biofuels are produced in sufficient amounts to make them commercially viable, we hope to be one of the first airlines in the world to start powering our aircraft using them," he added.

The biofuel used in the test flight was "a mixture of three second-generation biofuel feedstocks" of jatropha, camelina and algae, the company said.

"Second-generation feedstocks do not compete with natural food or water resources and do not contribute to deforestation practices."

The JAL test flight is Boeing's fourth biofuel project.


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