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Lufthansa has first commercial biofuel flight

Major 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 consumers.    

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.



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RE: Interim Solution
By Solandri on 7/21/2011 2:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
For those who don't want to look it up, the 300 kg Li-ion battery pack in the Nissan Leaf stores 24 kWh of energy. That's about the same as 2 kg of aviation fuel, about 5 kg if you take into account engine efficiency. Plus after you burn the fuel, its weight is gone. The battery pack still weighs the same even after it's completely flat. So the average weight of the batteries for the entire flight is essentially doubled compared to fuel. All-electric is totally nonviable for aviation.

The idea of props on larger planes has been tried before. Unfortunately, the public views props (really unducted turbofans) as "old tech" even though they aren't (the engine itself is still a jet turbine). There's considerable resistance to putting them on larger planes, even if they are more efficient. There are also maintenance and safety issues with them as well. McDonnell Douglas tried it on their MD-80 aircraft in the 1980s, but couldn't sell a single one to the airlines.
http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/propulsion/q0...


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