Japan Airlines Finds Biofuel More Efficient Than Petro-Fuel in Test Flight

boeing 747-300 photo

Not the JAL plane, but still a 747-300.... Photo: planegeezer via flickr

Earlier in the month Continental Airlines completed a test flight using biofuels, and now a few weeks later Japan Airlines has joined a (slowly) expanding number of airlines trying to green their fuel usage. The fuel used was a mixture of jatropha oil, algae oil, and camelina oil (the first time that feedstock has been employed in a jet fuel). Which is all fine and good, but perhaps the most interesting (and promising) thing to come out of the test flight is this:JAL Flight Confirms Continental's Efficiency Improvement Findings

In ground tests conducted yesterday, the pilots reported that the biofuel was more fuel efficient than 100 percent traditional jet-A fuel (kerosene), a finding consistent with the Continental test last month, and indicates that biofuels may not only be a carbon-neutral option, but a more fuel efficient one.

JAL’s test flight was made in a Boeing 747-300, which took off from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The fuel mixture was 50-50 biofuel/Jet-A and powered the one of the aircraft’s four engines. No modifications were made to the engine to allow it to run on biofuels.

Second-Generation Biofuels Used
The exact composition of the biofuel mixture was 84% camelina, less than 16% jatropha, and less than 1% algae. All of these are second-generation biofuel feedstocks which, it is claimed, will not compete for land on which food crops could be grown. That’s certainly the case for algae and camelina (which can be grown in rotation with wheat to improve wheat crop yields), but less so for jatropha. Though jatropha can grow on some seriously degraded land, there is evidence that to obtain consistent crop yields that such land is not ideal.

More: JAL

via: Biofuels Digest
Aviation Biofuels
Algae, Jatropha Tapped to Power Continental Airlines’ Biofuel Test Flight
Aviation Biofuels Could Be Commercially Used Within 3 Years: Boeing
Air New Zealand Sets Sustainable Biofuels Goal for 2013

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