Working Together Key to Aviation's Green Future

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Japan Airlines have conducted a flight partly powered by a biofuel produced from the plant camelina. The Boeing 747-300 took off from Tokyo's Haneda Airport for a flight lasting around one and a half hours.

Camelina Plants

The declaration signed last year in Geneva set the stage for action at a global level to combat aviation's climate change impact. Although our industry represents just two percent of world manmade CO2 emissions, industry leaders have recognised that all parts of the economy have to play their part in reducing environmental impact.

In the latest in a series of sustainable biofuel test flights that have taken place around the world, Japan Airlines conducted a flight partly powered by a biofuel produced from the plant camelina. The Boeing 747-300 took off from Tokyo's Haneda Airport for a flight lasting around one and a half hours.

In the past month, an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 test flight used a 50% mix of biofuel from the plant jatropha and Continental Airlines flew one of its Boeing 737 aircraft on a 50% biofuel mix from algae and jatropha. Today's Japan Airlines flight will use biofuel made from camelina, jatropha and algae.

Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group, the only global organisation representing all parts of the commercial air transport sector, said, "the biofuel test flights occurring around the world on different engine and aircraft types, using different sustainable biofuel feed stocks are strong examples of the progress being made by aviation in exploring how biofuels can reduce our carbon footprint.

"In flying a test using three types of biofuel, Japan Airlines will demonstrate how aviation is able to pursue a range of biofuel options, not just rely on one source. This is important as we look to sustainable biofuels as an alternative energy source for aviation. The ability to blend supplies from different sources will enable a more secure supply and regional diversity."

The aviation industry is pursuing sustainable biofuel options that can be 'dropped-in' to existing jet fuel, enabling airlines to use increasing amounts of biofuel as the supply becomes available. The test flights over the past month will be followed by rigorous analysis of the results and more tests until the aviation industry is fully satisfied that the biofuel is safe to use in flight. The biofuels will then go through Government regulatory certification before being rolled out commercially.

"The most encouraging part of these trials is the tremendous cooperation that has been displayed by all parts of the industry involved. Today's test is the culmination of a lot of work completed over the past year by Japan Airlines, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell UOP as well as the biofuel source providers. Aviation is setting the standard for cross-industry cooperation projects to reduce our environmental impact."

In April 2008, a group of aviation industry leaders signed the Aviation Industry Commitment to Action on Climate Change in Geneva, Switzerland. This declaration brought together industry leaders - representing airports, airlines, air traffic control organisations and the biggest aircraft and engine manufacturers in the world.

Steele remarked, "The declaration signed last year in Geneva set the stage for action at a global level to combat aviation's climate change impact. Although our industry represents just two percent of world manmade CO2 emissions, industry leaders have recognised that all parts of the economy have to play their part in reducing environmental impact."

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Haldane Dodd
Enviro.aero
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