Lufthansa To Lift Off With Biofuels

If you’re traveling in Germany, not only is there a good chance that a portion of your electricity will be coming from wind power, but if you’re traveling as well from Frankfurt to Hamburg via Lufthansa, there’s a good chance that your flight will be powered, in part, by synthetic biofuel.

According to a recent release, as of April of 2011, Lufthansa will begin a six-month trial with one of its Airbus A321s having one of the aircraft’s engines burning a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional kerosene (pending certification). This will provide a long-term trial by which to study the effects of biofuel on engine maintenance and engine life, while at the same time saving the airline around 1,500 tons of CO2 emissions, according to Lufthansa Chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

Luftansa biofuels

image via Lufthansa

Fuel quality is a critical issue in the aviation industry, as it needs to hold up under extremely cold conditions and have a high energy content. For its Frankfurt-Hamburg-Frankfurt pilot project, Lufthansa will be using Neste Oil’s NExBTL, a “pure hydrocarbon” with a chemical composition identical to that of conventional jet fuel which also meets these specifications.

Lufthansa’s biofuel plans are also not the only green fuel efforts we’ve seen of late in aviation. Honeywell earlier this year introduced green fuel for military aircraft, while United Airlines has been testing its own natural gas synthetic jet fuel mixture. There’s even been some diesel-powered helicopter action of late as well.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.