China Eastern Airlines carries out test flight using palm oil – and is considering more

China Eastern Airlines has conducted a first test flight of a biofuel blend sourced and produced in China. The fuel was produced from used cooking oil and palm oil though one source says the fuel for this flight was just palm oil, as its processing  is cheaper than processing used cooking oil.  The use of palm oil as jet fuel has serious environmental problems, due to the loss of tropical rainforest to produce palm oil plantations, which leads to high carbon emissions. The destruction of rainforest causes substantial biodiversity loss. The use of palm oil for jet fuel also conflicts with food use of palm oil. Palm oil is an inappropriate fuel for aviation, and more responsible airlines have not used it. For any biofuel to be environmentally sustainable they would need to be produced from feedstocks that have no impact on biodiversity, land and water use – as well as having lower lifetime carbon emissions. The airline says, in one report, that  it will begin to fly commercial services on 100% biofuels. Until now biofuels have been used in combination with traditional jet fuel from fossil sources.   China Eastern has not yet released a timetable of when the commercial services will begin.



“China Eastern extends its environmental responsibilities [sic] with biofuel test flight and fuel-saving Sharklet wing-tips”

Thu 23 May 2013 (GreenAir online)

China Eastern Airlines has conducted a first test flight of a biofuel blend sourced and produced in China.

The airline carried out the 85-minute flight from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport using an Airbus A320 aircraft following a series of ground-based engine performance tests of the CAAC-certified fuel. The hybrid China Jet Biofuel-1 product, made up of used cooking oil and palm oil, was developed jointly by China Eastern, China Petroleum Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and China Aviation Oil Holding Company, with Sinopec producing and supplying the blended fuel.

The airline has also just taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel-saving wing-tip devices, becoming China’s first carrier to do so. It says it is committed to being a domestic industry leader in environmental protection. [sic]

The biofuel test flight crew, selected from the airline’s most experienced personnel, carried out biofuel temperature measurements during the cruise phase, impact of the biofuel at altitude and pre-flight and post-flight checks of the engine probes and ports. Other data were recorded during the flight to assess quality, safety and fuel economy, reports the airline.

“This is a breakthrough as well as a milestone for Chinese civil aviation in terms of our own development of aviation biofuel production,” China Eastern Airlines’ Michelle Lipan told GreenAir. “As a trend-setting air carrier in China, we are committed to fulfilling our social responsibilities in terms of environmental protection and sustainable development.” [An unbelievable comment, from an airline burning palm oil as fuel. Stunning greenwash. AirportWatch comment].

The airline, one of China’s largest, became the first Airbus operator in 1985 and now operates a fleet of over 230 Airbus aircraft. The Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre has delivered 126 new aircraft since June 2009 and plans to deliver 46 more this year. Delivered and entering commercial service last week, the China Eastern Sharklet-fitted A320 was also the first such aircraft assembled by the Centre. The airline says it is planning 97 more aircraft to be fitted with the devices, which Airbus says can save operators up to four per cent fuel burn on longer range sectors.

Next year, China Eastern will begin its trans-Pacific fleet renewal programme, replacing four-engined Airbus A340 aircraft with twin-engined Boeing 777s, which it estimates will save around one ton of fuel per hour.

The airline is also undertaking other environmental efforts and last year became a Chinese civil aviation pioneer of Less Paper Cockpits, and Level-1 Electronic Flight Bags have been introduced into its A330 fleet. China Eastern has also started using natural and biodegradable materials in its cabin catering.

China Eastern Airlines
Airbus – Winglets



Chinese airline to start biofuel-powered commerical flights

Move comes after China Eastern Airlines conducts successful trial of Sinopac-produced fuel made from palm oil and recycled cooking oil

By BusinessGreen staff

25 Apr 2013

China Eastern Airlines has said it plans to introduce biofuel-powered commercial flights, after yesterday completing its first successful trial of green aviation fuel.

An Airbus A320 landed at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport yesterday morning after completing an 85-minute flight using a biofuel made from a blend of palm oil and recycled cooking oil produced by Sinopec.

State media reported that Captain Liu Zhimin, who piloted Wednesday’s flight, performed several extreme manoeuvres but found no significant difference between the biofuel and standard aviation fuel.

China Daily also said the compannow plans to introduce biofuel to commercial flights, although the timetable for the roll-out remains unclear.

“We have developed two kinds of biofuel, palm oil and waste cooking oil, and the fuel we used during this flight was palm oil,” Huang Zhongwen, deputy director of publicity for Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co, told China Daily.

“We have the capability of turning waste cooking oil into jet fuel, although the cost will be higher than producing ordinary fuel.”

The trial by China Eastern Airlines, the country’s second largest carrier by passenger numbers, follows a 2011 Air China demonstration of fuel produced from domestically grown energy crop jatropha.

Several other major carriers, including KLM, Lufthansa, BA and United, have also conducted experiments with greener fuels from various feedstocks to counter rising oil prices and tackle the sector’s emissions.

And earlier this month, the White House extended a programme to support the production of one billion gallons (3.8 billion litres) of aviation biofuels by 2018.

Fuels made from products such as cooking oil, waste or algae are considered more sustainable as they do not compete with food production, although question marks remain over palm oil, which in some cases has been linked to rainforest destruction.

Experts maintain that if aviation biofuels are to prove environmentally sustainable they will ultimately need to be produced from feedstocks that have a limited impact on land and water use.




China conducts its first successful bio-fueled airline flight

Published: April 24, 2013 at 7:33 PM

SHANGHAI, (UPI) — China says is has successfully conducted its first airline flight powered by self-developed biofuel made mainly from palm oil and recycled cooking oil.

An Airbus A320 operated by China Eastern Airlines landed at Shanghai Wednesday after an 85-minute journey using aviation biofuel produced by Sinopec, the country’s top oil refiner, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

China is the fourth country, after the United States, France and Finland, to produce bio-jet-fuel.

The biofuel produced sufficient power during the test flight and “was no different from traditional fuels,” Capt. Liu Zhimin and co-pilot Zhou Xiaoqing said.

If it passes reviews by the Flight Criteria Department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Sinopec will be granted the country’s first permit of its kind for commercial use of biofuel, officials said.

Company spokesman Lyu Dapeng acknowledged the cost of refining aviation biofuel is currently higher than that for conventional fuels, but said alternative fuel will become mainstream.

The International Air Transport Association has forecast 30 percent of aviation fuel will be biofuel by 2020, Xinhua reported.



China Eastern Airlines has announced that it will begin to fly commercial services on 100% biofuels. Until now biofuels have been used for flights in combination with traditional jet fuel from fossil sources.   China Eastern has not yet released a timetable of when the commercial services will begin.