European airliner Lufthansa has taken its biofuel efforts to the next level
after launching a six-month 50/50 fuel-biofuel mix test in European flights.
The new "hydrotreated" jet fuel is based from wood chips and inedible
plants, such as different types of grass. The use of food-based crops
negatively leads to issues with rising food costs that plague U.S. and European
The new blend of regular jet fuel and biosynthetic food is now used by the
airline company's Airbus A321 aircraft. Beginning
last week, flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt had a 50/50 mix in one
engine with the other engine running on regular jet fuel. Passengers are
unable to notice any difference how the aircraft flies.
Government support has increased demand for ethanol, so corn crops have been in
high demand since 2005.
Lufthansa is interested in studying long-term engine health as they try to make
a transition from regular jet fuel to biofuels.
Although Lufthansa believes this new biofuel fuel blend will drastically reduce
CO2 emissions, some German environmental groups criticized the move.
According to one German environmental group, they believe Lufthansa and other
airliners traveling such short distances still is bad for the environment --
and try to promote train travel as a more eco-friendly mode of transportation.
Air France conducted a commercial biofuel flight in June, with the Boeing
737-800 using recycled cooking oil instead of jet fuel. Airliners are
anxious to avoid investing in jet fuel that greatly fluctuates in cost, and a
more eco-friendly option is very welcome.
Biofuels remain a major interest by the government and private sector,
especially among airlines trying to become more eco-friendly and reduce
costs. Airline biofuels consist of materials ranging from grass and algae
to organic waste that is processed into biofuel that can be used for
transportation and vehicles.