At last week’s Paris Air Show strong examples of leadership in efforts to reduce air transport’s environmental footprint came from two sources that, at least in the eyes of sometimes sanctimonious European observers, have not been seen as being at the vanguard of such moves: the U.S. and business aviation. During the administration of former President George W. Bush, the U.S.
The Boeing 747-8 Freighter landed here at Paris Le Bourget Airport yesterday at 5:35 p.m., after completing the first transatlantic flight of a commercial airliner powered on all engines by a sustainable aviation biofuel.
Honeywell made history here in Paris on Saturday morning, landing its Gulfstream G450 jet at Le Bourget after the first transatlantic flight using biofuel. The trip’s green credentials can be measured in the 5.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) saved in the course of the seven-hour flight from the New York-area Morristown Airport. In fact, the aircraft crossed the Pond only partly powered by biofuel.
Washington state and its neighbors in the U.S. Pacific Northwest claim to have established an early leadership position in the development of sustainable aviation biofuels.
Eurocopter and parent company EADS have teamed with Argentina-based BioCombustibles del Chubut (BC) to study the feasibility of building an aviation biofuel factory in Brazil. The three companies signed an agreement in June. The biofuel, made from algae, could be used in Eurocopter’s diesel engines for light helicopters, which are now in the research stage (see AIN, February, page 44).
The alternative aviation fuel industry continues to conduct flight tests to validate the use of new jet-fuel blends. At the end of April, United Airlines became the first U.S. commercial carrier to fly using a certified synthetic-fuel blend that received ASTM approval last year.
Sweden is currently outlining a three-year test plan to test a locally developed biofuel in a Gripen, in a scheme that is partly funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In November 2007, Swedish Biofuels entered into an agreement with U.S.
How many coconuts does a Boeing 747 need to fly from London to Amsterdam?
Last year amid much fanfare, a Virgin Atlantic 747-400 with one of its four engines fueled by a mix of 80 percent jet-A and 20 percent coconut and babassu oils flew the route in 40 minutes. Had all four engines been flying on biofuels alone, it would have required the oil from several million coconuts.
Government, industry look to curb CO2 emissions
Green Flight International last month conducted the first flight of a jet using 100-percent biodiesel fuel. The experimental test flight was flown by an L-29, a military aircraft that is rated to fly on a variety of fuels, including heating oil, making it a “preferred platform” for testing biodiesel in jet engines.