Did It Smell Like French Fries?We wrote about Alaska Airline doing some test flights with a mix of 20% biofuel made from cooking oil, and it now seems like Air Canada upped the ante with a test-flight using 50% biofuel also made from cooking oil. Yesterday, before the plane took off, Air Canada wrote: "Flight AC991 from Toronto to Mexico City is expected to generate at least 40 per cent fewer emissions by using jet fuel derived from recycled cooking oil and through other fuel-saving measures, making it the most environmentally-friendly flight ever flown by Air Canada. The flight is supported by Airbus and is part of an environmental demonstration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to coincide with the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development."
The biofuel is made by a company called SkyNRG from recycled cooking oil. What simplifies matters is that their blend gets recertified under normal jet fuel standards and can be safely used without modifying the aircraft's systems.
"Air Canada fully accepts its responsibility to reduce its footprint and our first flight using biofuel tangibly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the environment. Since 1990 our airline has become 30 per cent more fuel efficient and we are determined to increase these gains through cutting-edge measures such as those being showcased with this Toronto-Mexico City flight, our greenest ever," said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada. "The flight, supported by Airbus, will link with other biofuel flights from Canada to Rio de Janeiro arranged under the auspices of ICAO to underscore the aviation industry's commitment to the environment at the UN sustainability conference."
While reducing unnecessary flying and improving the fuel-efficiency of planes are good ways to reduce CO2 emissions from aviation, it's a bit much to expect all flying to stop, so the remaining ones should definitely transition over to carbon-neutral fuel over time. It seems to be the most realistic solution to the growing emissions coming from that industry (and before we blame "the industry", let's remember that they don't fly empty planes.. We're all responsible).
Note that the photos used here aren't from the actual biofuel test flight, as Air Canada didn't release photos of it.