First Commercial Biofuel Airplane Test Completed Successfully

Airlines are under increased pressure to lower their carbon footprints and to lower fuel costs. Therefore, Air New Zealand has successfully completed the world's first biofuel commercial test flight with a Boeing 747-400, powered by Rolls-Royce jet engines. They passed the test with flying colors.

This successful test should help Air New Zealand hit its self-imposed target of replacing 10 percent of its 9 million barrels of fuel used annually with biofuels by 2013. If the company meets it's goal, some 400,000 tons of CO2 might not be relased into the atmosphere. For the test flight, one of the jet's two engines used jatrpopha-based oil and the other used normal Jet A1 fuel.

Jatropha oil is reported to freeze at an even lower temperature than standard-grade jet fuel and is not used as for food. This makes it a great option for aviation biofuels. The oil for these tests is produced in East Africa and India and is cost competitive with normal jet fuel.

The airline has announced that, in the long-run it plans to fuel its entire fleet of domestic and international aircraft on 100 per cent biofuel.

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