Alaska Airlines last year completed 75 passenger flights running on a 20% biofuel blend made with reclaimed cooking oil. Recently, Air Canada went one step further, completing a flight from Toronto to Mexico City on a 50/50 blend of jet fuel and cooking oil.
The biofuel was supplied by SkyNRG, the same company that supplied the 20% blend to Alaskan Airlines, and manufactured by Dynamic Fuels. SkyNRG says that by using the 50/50 blend, the Air Canada plane’s emissions were cut by at least 40%. Aviation fuel is similar to diesel fuel, so using a biofuel blend to power an airliner is not really that complicated.
The Canadian flight was supported by Airbus and was part of an environmental demonstration by the International Civil Aviation Organization to coincide with last month’s Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Many airlines are hopping on the green band wagon. Lufthansa was the first airline to use biofuel in scheduled daily flight operations. The companies Airbus A321 flew the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route four times daily with one of its engines running on a 50/50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene in a six-month trial that ended in December 2011. Quantas has announced Australia’s first commercial fights powered by sustainable fuel will be on a Sydney-Adelaide return service flight this spring. And, in some friendly Canadian competition, Toronto based Porter Airlines claims to have conducted the first biofuel powered revenue flight in Canada on April 17th 2012.