KLM to launch commercial flights in September Amsterdam – Paris on biofuel (? used cooking oil ?)

In practice there is nowhere near enough used cooking oil available to fuel planes,
other than as a publicity gimmick.  Most of the used oil is already used as biodiesel
for land vehicles, and other uses. There is nowhere like enough used oil to fuel
the road vehicles that would like to use it now.

 22.6.2011 (Reuters)
KLM press release:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has taken another important step in aviation sustainability.
In September KLM will launch more than 200 flights being operated on biokerosene
between Amsterdam and Paris.
[Nothing to say what % of the fuel will be the used oil] .
 “KLM has once again shown it is stimulating the development of biokerosene”,
according to managing director Camiel Eurlings. “In November 2009 we demonstrated
that it was technically possible to fly on biokerosene. Now, a year and a half
after our first demonstration flight on Camelina, a new phase has been entered
around the world, that of certification. Authorisation will soon be granted to
operate commercial flights on biofuel. I am especially proud to announce that
KLM will take this substantial step in September”.

The flights will be operated on biofuel made from Used Cooking Oil.  KLM is open
to using different raw materials for the end product, as long as they meet a range
of sustainability criteria, including substantial reductions in CO2 emissions
and minimum negative impact on biodiversity and food supply. All biofuels used
by KLM also have to meet precisely the same technical specifications as traditional
kerosene and must not require any adjustments to aircraft engines or infrastructure. 

The fuel is produced by Dynamic Fuels and supplied by SkyNRG, the consortium
launched by KLM and North Sea Group and Spring Associates in 2009. SkyNRG is actively
developing a sustainable production chain for aviation biofuels. The sustainability
of alternative kerosene depends on many factors and is assessed on a case-by-case
basis. In order to be able in future to reach the right decisions in this area,
SkyNRG is advised by an independent Sustainability Board, consisting of the Dutch
wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Solidaridad, and the Copernicus
Institute of the University of Utrecht. A positive recommendation from the Sustainability
Board carries a lot of weight for KLM.

KLM also supports the view published in the WWF’s Energy Report which indicates
that alternative fuels made from biomass are the only appropriate replacement
for fossil fuels for such sectors as the airline industry. Eurlings: “The route
to 100% sustainable energy is enormously challenging. The costs of biofuels need
to come down substantially and permanently. This can be achieved through innovation,
collaboration and the right legislation that stimulates biofuel in the airline
industry, but with an eye on honest competition. We really need to move forward
together to attain continuous access to sustainable fuel”.

KLM has been committed to developing sustainable biofuel since 2007. Air France KLM is also an industry leader in the field of fuel efficiency. Air France KLM
has been sector leader of de Dow Jones Sustainability Index for six successive

For more information:

KLM Media Relations, tel. + (31) 020 – 649 45 45 


see also
BBC   23.6.2011
KLM plans to fly planes on reused cooking oil
As of 2000, the United States was producing in excess of 11 billion liters (2.9 billion U.S. gallons) of waste
vegetable oil annually, mainly from industrial
deep fryers in potato processing plants, snack food factories and fast food restaurants. If all those 11 billion liters could be collected and used to replace the energy
equivalent amount of petroleum (an ideal case), almost 1% of US oil consumption
could be offset.[10] Use of waste vegetable oil as a fuel competes with some
other uses of the commodity, which has effects on its price as a fuel and increases its
cost as an input to the other uses as well.

Currently, the largest uses of waste vegetable oil in the U.S. are for animal feed, pet food, and cosmetics. Since 2002, an increasing number of European Union countries have prohibited the inclusion of waste vegetable oil from catering in animal feed. Waste cooking oils from food manufacturing, however, as well
as fresh or unused cooking oil, continues to be used in animal feed.[18]

More recently, waste oil has become known for its ability to be refined into
biodiesel fuel.
The Ecologist, November 2009
According to research by the BBC, the catering industry in the UK produces about
50-90 million litres of waste cooking oil each year, while Ireland discards more
than 10,000 tonnes of waste vegetable oil annually.
July 2008
There’s simply not enough cooking oil in the UK to take over from diesel entirely
according to the government’s
Better Regulation Commission. Current waste oil supplies could only feasibly power around one-350th of the
UK’s cars. In fact, the Energy Systems Research Unit estimates that the UK can
only produce enough
biodiesel from waste veggie oil to displace less than 0.6% of conventional diesel.
The idea of running the world’s cars on waste cooking oil is also mainly fantasy.
There’s very little used cooking oil to spare, because globally it’s already being
recycled into things like soap and animal feeds.

Rather more important, used cooking oil is a drop in the ocean when it comes
to supplying the West’s transport needs. According to a  report from New York’s
Cornell University:

“[Used cooking oil] has an available potential to produce almost 1.7  billion
gallons of [biodiesel] [which is] 1.1% of [America’s]  petroleum imports today.”

(A litre of cooking oil does not give out a litre of biodiesel. Much of the cooking
oil used to cook french fries is eaten as part of the fries and much of the waste
cooking oil left over is unusable solids.)

Because of the shortage of used cooking oils for conversion to biodiesel, there
is a global race to produce vegetable oils to meet the demand. This demand has
driven up food prices, making it much harder for poor people to feed their families. 
Also, forests are being cleared to grow crops like palm oil for biodiesel, meaning
that some biofuels are actually contributing to global warming by removing forests
that would have absorbed C02.