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Lufthansa and Airbus launch worlds first passenger bio-fuel flights

Lufthansa is launching the world’s first ever scheduled commercial passenger flights using bio-fuel in the first half of 2011, with an IAE (International Aero Engines) powered Airbus A321 aircraft. The daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt, will be the first in the world to use a bio-fuel blend made from 50 per cent Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). When it is consumed, fuel made from bio-mass material emits the CO2 it naturally absorbs when it grows, thereby helping neutralize overall CO2 emissions.

The daily flights will begin in April 2011 and will initially continue for a period of six months as part of the ‘Burn Fair’ R&T project to study the long term impact of sustainable bio-fuels on aircraft performance. Airbus’ role is to provide technical assistance and to monitor the fuel properties.

“We see great opportunities in the use of bio-synthetic kerosene. But we are first gathering experience with it in daily practice. Indeed, Lufthansa is the world’s first airline to utilise biofuel in flight operations. This is a further consistent step in the sustainability strategy, which Lufthansa has for years been successfully pursuing” said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Lufthansa CEO.

“Being a pioneer in this area, we are very proud that our renewable diesel technology is capable of meeting the strictest quality standards to help meet aviation needs,” says Matti Lievonen, Neste Oil’s President and CEO. “This technology has real potential for the future.”

“Daily bio-fuel flights are a significant step forward in our pursuit of a sustainable future for aviation. Airbus is bringing together feedstock producers, fuel refiners and airlines, and with today’s announcement of passenger flights, we have taken yet another step towards making this real,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.

The bio-fuel is being provided by Finland based Neste Oil, under a long term agreement with Lufthansa. The fuel will only be produced from sustainable feedstock sources to make sure that the bio-feedstock does not compete for food, water nor land. In addition Neste Oil are members of RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels) and RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)

Airbus’ alternative fuels roadmap aims at making sustainable alternative fuel a reality for aviation by bringing together stakeholders or the ‘value chain’ in a socially, industrially and sustainable way. In addition to its efforts with other airlines, such as the recent first bio-fuel flight in Latin America on November 22nd, in October 2009 an Airbus aircraft undertook the first commercial flight of 50 percent blended GTL, and in February 2008, an Airbus A380 aircraft successfully completed the world’s first ever flight by a commercial aircraft using Gas-to-Liquid (GTL).

Source: Airbus
Photo: Rob Vogelaar, ZAPP