Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Air New Zealand test-runs on vegetable oil

Air New Zealand operated a 2-hr. 747-400 biofuel test flight from Auckland on Dec. 29 using a 50/50 blend of jatropha-based fuel and standard jet fuel to power one of the aircraft's Rolls-Royce RB211s.

Chief Pilot David Morgan, who was onboard the aircraft, said the flight crew conducted "a wide variety of tests under normal and nonnormal operating conditions, designed to test the biofuel to the fullest extent." For example, when the aircraft reached an altitude of 20,000-25,000 ft., the main fuel pump for the engine partially powered by the biofuel was switched off to test the lubricity of the fuel, ensuring its friction did not slow down flow. The jatropha-derived fuel was supplied by Terasol Energy.

Continental Airlines also plans to operate a 737-800 test flight using a fuel blend including components derived from algae and jatropha. International Air Transport Association (IATA) plans jet-fuel to contain 10% of bio-fuel by 2017.

More details HERE

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