Lufthansa has launched the world’s first scheduled flights powered by biofuel. The German carrier, in collaboration with Airbus, has started a six-month biofuel trial using biosynthetic kerosene on its flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt. An Airbus A321 will fly the route four times daily, with one of its engines filled with a 50/50 mix of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene. During the six months test run period, the use of biofuel is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1,500 tonnes.
Christoph Franz, Chairman & 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.”
He added that the trials would also examine the effects of biofuel on the maintenance and lifespan of aircraft engines.
The biosynthetic kerosene used by Lufthansa is consists of jatropha, camelina and animal fats. The airline stressed that it will also ensure that materials used in the biofuel are sourced from a sustainable supply, that they are not in direct competition with food production, and that no rainforests are destroyed. The fuel used by Lufthansa is produced by Neste Oil, a Finnish oil company.
Lufthansa puts the total costs of conducting the biofuel project at about EUR6.6 million (US$9.3 million). Of this, EUR2.5 million has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics & Technology, as part of a larger project known as FAIR (Future Aircraft Research) set up to examine other issues besides the compatibility of biofuels, including new propulsion and aircraft concepts and other fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).