Wed, Nov 12, 2008
747-400 Powered By Sustainable Fuel To Fly December 3
Air New Zealand and Boeing announced Tuesday that December 3
will be the date for the
airline's sustainable biofuels flight from Auckland using a
747-400 jetliner. Conducted in partnership with
Rolls-Royce and UOP, a Honeywell company, one of the airplane's
four Rolls-Royce RB211 engines will be powered in part using
advanced generation biofuels derived from jatropha.
If successful, Air New Zealand will become the first airline to
use a commercially viable biofuel sourced using sustainability best
practices, according to Boeing.
"This flight strongly supports our efforts to be the world's
most environmentally responsible airline," said Air New Zealand
Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe. "We recently demonstrated the
fuel and environmental gains that can be achieved through advanced
operational procedures using Boeing 777s. We're also modernizing
our fleet as we await our Trent 1000-powered 787-9 Dreamliners,
which will burn 20 percent less fuel than the planes they replace.
Introducing a new generation of sustainable fuels is the next
logical step in our efforts to further save fuel and reduce
Jatropha is a plant that grows to
approximately three meters high and produces seeds that contain
inedible lipid oil that is used to produce fuel. Each seed produces
between 30 and 40 percent of its mass in oil and jatropha can be
grown in a range of difficult conditions, including arid and
otherwise non-arable areas, leaving prime areas available for food
As part of the fuel verification process, UK-based engine maker
Rolls-Royce's technical team conducted extensive laboratory testing
to ensure compatibility with today's jet engine components and to
validate the fuel meets stringent performance criteria for aviation
"In preparation for Air New Zealand's test flight we achieved
our near-term goal -- identifying and sourcing the first
large-scale run of sustainable biofuel for commercial aviation,"
said Boeing Commercial Airplane's Managing Director of
Environmental Strategy Billy Glover. "The processing technology
exists today, and based on results we've seen, it's highly
encouraging that this fuel not only met but exceeded three key
criteria for the next generation of jet fuel: higher than expected
jet fuel yields, very low freeze point and good energy density,"
Glover explained. "That tells us we're on the right path to
certification and commercial availability."
Additional flight specifics will be announced closer to the
actual flight date.
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