Today Lufthansa has launched a 6 month biofuel trial on regular scheduled flights. The route selected for the test flights is Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg and it will be covered by an Airbus 321 with the registration D-AIDG. One of the two engines of the aircraft will run on a 50/50 mix of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene. The engines don’t need to be modified in order to run on biokerosene since it has similar properties of those of conventional fuel. The (ASTM) American Society for Testing and Materials has approved the biofuel for jet engines. The first flight of this six month period will be LH013 from Hamburg to Frankfurt. During the test period the reduction of CO2 emissions will be up to 1.500 tonnes.
Christoph Franz, Chairman and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, said: “Lufthansa is the first airline worldwide to use biofuel in scheduled daily flight operations. We are thus continuing to steadily implement our proven and successful strategy for sustainability.” As air transport is the only mode of transport that will remain dependent upon liquid fuels for the foreseeable future, the aviation industry and the research community must develop and test alternatives. “Fossil raw materials are finite,” Franz cautioned. He added that next to reducing CO2 emissions the main aim of this long-term operational trial, was to examine the effects of biofuel on the maintenance and lifespan of aircraft engines.
This biosynthetic kerosene is derived from biomass (biomass to liquids – BtL) which consists of jatropha, camelina and animal fats.
Lufthansa biofuel suppliers must provide proof of the sustainability of their processes meeting the criteria stipulated by European Parliament and the Council in the Renewable Energy Directive.
The use of biosynthetic kerosene is one element of the four-pillar climate protection strategy pursued by Lufthansa with a view to reducing overall CO2 emissions in the air transport sector. By combining a range of different measures – for example, ongoing fleet modernization, technology improvements to aircraft and engines, operational measures such as engine washing or the use of lighter materials and an improved infrastructure – Lufthansa aims to achieve the ambitious environmental goals set out in its strategy. The implementation of new technologies has seen Lufthansa improve its fuel efficiency by over 30 per cent since 1991. Today the Lufthansa fleet has an average fuel consumption of 4.2 litres per 100 passenger-kilometers.
The first commercial flight using a mixture of kerosene and synthetic kerosene was Qatar Airways Airbus A340-600 from London’s Gatwick to Doha on October 12 th 2009.