Monday, June 1, 2009

[PBN] NZ: Air New Zealand sees big cost savings from new biofuel

From: Manilla Bulletin - 31/05/2009
More than 1.4 tonnes of jet fuel can be saved on a 12-hour flight powered by a new biofuel obtained from the seeds of the African jatropha plant, Air New Zealand said.
The airline said that scientists made the estimate after Air New Zealand conducted the world's first commercial aviation test flight using a 50-50 blend of jatropha fuel and standard jet fuel in a Boeing 747-400 powered by Rolls-Royce engines in December. Captain David Morgan, Air New Zealand's chief pilot, said that the highest blend of any type of biofuel was used in that test flight, a joint initiative with Boeing and Rolls-Royce.
He said the blend would now be submitted to rigorous industry evaluation with a view to being certified for everyday use.
Morgan said the blend would save 1.43 tonnes of fuel on a Boeing 747-400 12-hour flight over 5,800 nautical miles, keeping about 4.5 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere.
When shorter-range flights were included, overall savings were estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60-65 percent compared to jet fuel derived entirely from petroleum, he said.
Morgan said that Air New Zealand aimed to become the world's most environmentally sustainable airline, and it was proud to have played an important role in furthering the aviation industry's body of knowledge on sustainable alternative biofuels.
"We currently have a team looking at several different biofuel options," he said. "We remain committed to our ambition of having 10 per cent 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."
The airline said the jatropha oil used for the test flight came from seeds grown on environmentally sustainable farms in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and India.
It said jatropha, which produces seeds containing inedible lipid oil used to produce fuel, can be grown in a range of difficult conditions, including arid and otherwise non-arable areas, leaving prime farming areas available for food crops.
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