The Dutch airline company KLM has started powering planes with a fuel mixture that is 25% used (and refined) cooking oil, and 75% jet fuel. These regular flights represent a big step forward in alternative fuel flight.
The cooking oil used is obtained from restaurants in the U.S state of Louisiana. The oil was formerly used to fry catfish, cracklins, and other treats. After being used to prepare your food, it is refined at a plant near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, then carried to New York for use in the passenger jets. I’m sure it would feel good to eat at a restaurant that donates its oil to help reduce emissions.
Some believe that it smells like fast food, but, it is claimed to be totally safe for the jets, and reduce emissions by up to 80%. Using it is just like using jet fuel, and it is unnoticeable to pilots. These advantages are wonderful.
As usual, there is a downside, as most new technologies require work to get off the ground: The cooking oil-based fuel is cost-prohibitive. It may be difficult to expand this to struggling airlines that can hardly afford basic, normal operation. But if the costs come down, this could be a very reasonable response to ever-increasing oil prices.
“A lot still has to happen before biofuel will be available on a large scale and for it to be economically competitive in relation to fossil-fuel kerosene,” KLM said in a statement. “We cannot achieve this alone. We absolutely need the commitment and support of all the relevant parties: business, government and society.”.
The jets used are of the Boeing 777 type, and they will undergo 25 transatlantic test flights, as other jets have done.