Flights that have been fuelled by biofuels


KLM to make one flight per week New York to Amsterdam for 6 months using 25% used cooking oil

March 13, 2013    KLM has announced that one of its weekly Boeing 777 flights from New York to Amsterdam – for 6 months – will now be made using 25% biofuel made from old cooking oil. [Not clear if that is in one engine or both]. The first such flight was last Thursday on Flight KL642 flight from JFK to Schiphol. The fuel is provided by SkyNRG and the project has been supported by (what does that mean?) a raft of KLM partners, including Schiphol Group, Delta Air Lines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the companies in the KLM’s Corporate BioFuel Program. KLM has started marketing its new biofuel flights to corporate customers, so companies like Accenture, Heineken, Nike, and Philips who use the KLM biofuel flights can say they have lower reported carbon emissions. There are only very limited supplies of used cooking oil, which is the only form of biofuel that can so far be regarded as environmentally sustainable. The industry’s hopes that it may be able to obtain huge amounts of so called “sustainable” fuels from algae are still years away.   Click here to view full story…


Gulfstream private jets flown on 50% biojet fuel made from Camelina grown in US

November 2, 2012    Gulfstream have flown 5 private jets from Savannah, Georgia to Orlando, Florida, using 50% biofuel – called Honeywell Green Jet Fuel – made from camelina supplied by Honeywell’s UOP. The fuel was a 50/50 blend with conventional kerosene. Honeywell says that camelina is an inedible plant grown in the US northwest where it is rotated with wheat and other cereal crops. Based on life-cycle analysis studies, Honeywell claims its camelina-based fuel “burn 68 % fewer CO2 emissions than petroleum-based jet fuel.” quote. They also claim that “Depending on the feedstock, the fuel can offer between a 65 and 85% reduction in GHG emissions.” Honeywell’s UOP Renewable Jet Fuel process technology was originally developed in 2007 under a contract from the US military to produce renewable military-grade jet fuel for the US military. Camelina does not appear to be free of problems, however. There may be reduced yield of wheat when grown in rotation with camelina. There is likely to be a need to fertilise the crop, to get an economic yield. It will not grow without enough water, so unless there is enough rain, it could need some irrigation. And so on.    Click here to view full story…


Canada claims world’s first 100% biofuel-powered civil jet flight

October 30, 2012     The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has flown the first civil jet powered by 100% unblended biofuel. The plane used was a Falcon 20, which is private jet that can carry 8 – 14 people, and it flew over Ottawa. The distance it flew is not stated. A 2nd aircraft, tailed the Falcon in flight and collected information on the emissions generated by the biofuel, which will be analysed. The drop-in fuel was produced using AgrisomaResonance Energy Feedstock, a dedicated industrial oilseed that was launched at commercial scale in 2012 across a broad region of western Canada. Resonance Energy Feedstock produces this industrial oil – produced from genetically modified Brassica carinata – which they say is a non-food oil. They don’t actually say its growing does not compete with producing food. To date, flights on biofuels have been restricted to a 50% blend with petroleum.    Click here to view full story…


Canadian researchers to carry out first test flight to use 100% jet biofuel from GM Brassica carinata

October 3, 2012     GreenAir reports that a joint initiative involving the National Research Council of Canada is working on the first-ever civil aircraft flight to use 100% unblended jet biofuel, which is under the brand name ReadiJet, A twin-engined Falcon 20 aircraft belonging to NRC will use fuel derived from Canadian-grown Brassica carinata supplied by Agrisoma Biosciences. They say this is a non-food crop which is grown on the Canadian southern Prairies. It appears that Brassica carinata is being genetically modified to produce the oils wanted for jet fuel. More than 40 commercial growers in Western Canada were contracted this year to grow over 6,000 acres (2,400ha) of the crop that will be used to create the fuel for the engine performance and emissions flight testing. In April a test flight used 1% of this fuel. They say the crop is grown on marginal ground in the brown soil zone regions of western Canada.   Click here to view full story…



Canada (of the tar sands) greenwash: 10% used cooking oil used to fly its athletes to Olympics

July 27, 2012    Canadian Olympic team members travelled from Montreal on an Air Canada Airbus A330. 20% of the fuel used to power the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered engines contained a 50/50 blend of conventional jet kerosene mixed with recycled cooking oil supplied by Dutch company SkyNRG. Last month, Air Canada conducted its first biofuel flight between Toronto and Mexico City as part of a series of commercial biofuel flights. The airlines hopes this tiny biofuel contribution will slightly reduce their athletes’ carbon footprint. Air Canada is also using conventional ways to cut fuel use, like single engine taxiing, reduced thrust take offs, and continuous descent. This is the same Canada that pulled out of the Kyoto protocol, due to its massive carbon emissions from shale oil.   Click here to view full story…


Sugar-based biofuel flight on 19th June, to coincide with Rio+20, purporting to be “sustainable”

June 5, 2012     Here’s a depressing story. Using jet fuel derived from sugarcane, and therefore not separate from food production, Azul Brazilian Airlines will put on a flight on 19th June. They say how desirable using sugarcane is for jet fuel, as it “can be produced sustainably in large-scale quantities in Brazil and other tropical countries.” And that jet fuel from sugarcane has “emission reduction potential”. This flight, to coincide with Rio+20 is just greenwash, and the industry capitalising on a marketing opportunity for a form of fuel is actually not sustainable, and that competes with land that could and should be used for food production.     Click here to view full story…


Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery flight USA to Tokyo with 10% used cooking oil and chicken fat

April 19, 2012    All Nippon Airways, in Japan, have used 10% biofuel (it does not say whether in one or more engines) from SkyNRG made partly from used cooking oil, in its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The plane flew from Washington to Tokyo. ANA says there were significant carbon savings – though two thirds of the carbon savings claimed come from the Dreamliner itself, rather than the fuel. There are known supply problems with used cooking oil, and there is not enough of it to be more than a token gesture for the aviation industry, on publicity flights. Boeing say the Dreamliner can carry 201 – 250 passengers on routes of up to 14,200 to 15,200 km; and 250 to 290 passengers on routes of up to14,800 to 15,750 km. Boeing claim it produces 20% less CO2 than a similarly-sized current commercial aircraft.  Click here to view full story…


Qantas trials used cooking oil from SkyNRG (Netherlands) in biofuels flight

April 12, 2012    Qantas will use recycled American cooking oil to help power a biofuel trial flight tomorrow (13th April). The aircraft will use a mix of biofuel and conventional jet fuel for the Sydney-Adelaide return service. Produced by Dutch firm SkyNRG, the fuel has been used by several other airlines. Qantas claims its “life cycle” carbon footprint is around 60% smaller than that of conventional jet fuel. It is part of a long-term plan to reduce a fuel bill that totalled A$3.6 billion last year. Last year they were enthusiastic about algal biofuel, but there is no mention of that now.    Click here to view full story..


Bombardier Q400 plane to make first Canadian commercial flight on 49% Camelina + 1% brassica

March 29, 2012     In mid-April, Porter Airlines plans to use one of its Bombardier 70- to 80-seat Q400 turboprop airliners to conduct the first biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada. It has already made a biofuel test flight. Rather cynically they are timing their flight close to Earth Day “to emphasize the contribution that biofuels are expected to make in helping the aviation industry meet its targeted reduction in emissions,” and there are a lot of worthy-sounding green sentiments expressed about carbon savings …. the usual over-optimistic greenwash stuff. The fuel they will use will be 50% biofuel, and of that 49% camelina and 1% Brassica carinata (a member of the brassica, cabbage, family). Targeted Growth Canada (TGC) produced the crop of Camelina. The Q400 is a relatively fuel efficient plane, with lower carbon emissions than a jet.    Click here to view full story…


Chilean flight from Santiago to Concepcion using partly used cooking oil fuel

March 9, 2012     A Chilean airline has operated a biofuel flight between Santiago and Concepcion, using an Airbus A320, using used cooking oil. There is the usual hype about biofuel flights, and statements about biofuels being a green future, hugely cutting carbon emissions etc etc. They say they “want to be pioneers in the use of renewable fuels in South America.” It is unclear if other flights are planned, or if they intend in future to use other “second generation” biofuels like jatropha, camelina and halophytes, or organic waste such as vegetable oils, or derived from algae. Click here to view full story…


200 more biofuel flights by KLM using cooking oil – while Lufthansa using Indonesian jatropha

February 24, 2012   Friends of the Earth International say the German airline Lufthansa has recently been using biokerosene made from jatropha, an inedible plant. The airline claims that flying on biokerosene is good for the environment despite numerous studies claiming the opposite. The jatropha used for Lufthansa’s test flights is grown in Indonesia by small scale farmers. The jatropha plants are often being grown at the cost of food production – jatropha competes with food crops such as maize for land – and the farmers are making a loss on the sale of the plants, so are struggling to survive. FoEI is asking people to write to Lufthansa and ask them to stop using biokerosene to fly their planes. KLM is continuing with 200 part biofuelled flights, 4 per week, using some biofuel from used cooking oil, between Schiphol and Paris.   Click here to view full story…


Qantas to fly first biofuel flights in early 2012

December 12, 2011    Qantas is planning Australia’s first biofuel commercial flight in early 2012, according to its CEO. More details are likely to be released in the new year. They aim to make 1.5% cuts annually in emissions by various savings, but believe only biofuels will enable them to make significant cuts. Qantas has signed agreements with Solazyme and Solena. Boeing is working with Hawai’i BioEnergy to see if biojet fuels can be made from sorghum (so much for not competing with food) and eucalyptus, to keep their tourists flying in.    Click here to view full story…


Thai Airways to launch biofuels-based 777 service on 22nd December

December 13, 2011    Thai Airways will fly its first biofuel commercial flight on 22nd December. Nowhere does it mention what the fuel is made from. All revenue from the first flight — TG104 Bangkok-Chiang Mai — will reportedly go towards an organization that furthers the development of alternative energy.  Click here to view full story…


Qantas, Solazyme and Solena to launch Australian biofuels flights in 2012

15th November 2011     Qantas has announced that Australia’s first commercial flight powered by “sustainable” fuel will be in early 2012. Qantas has signed agreements with Solazyme (in the USA), which is working with algae-based aviation fuels, and Solena (in the USA), which is experimenting with waste-based fuels. Qantas hopes to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% each year. Solarzyme’s fuel is called Solajet, and they aim to scale its production up to commercial levels.   Click here to view full story…


United Airlines biofuel flight on 7th Nov and Alaska Airlines on 9th Nov

7th November 2011   The United flight is a Boeing 737-800 from Houston to Chicago, using 40% Solarzyme fuel, with allegedly “sustainable” biofuel of unknown composition. The Alaska Airlines’ 1st commercial biofuel flight is Seattle to Washington. Alaska & its sister, Horizon Air, plan to fly 75 “selected” flights over the next few weeks using 20% fuel made from used cooking oil (a gimmick, as there is so little of the stuff) made by Dynamic Fuels. The fuel companies are in a race to scale up profitably.     Click here to view full story…

 Air China test-flies 50% jatropha biofuel-powered Boeing 747

30th October 2011     An Air China Boeing 747-400 took off from the Beijing airport, flew for 2 hours, and landed back at Beijing. It used 50% jatropha. This is one of a series of research projects launched last year by the US and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers. The fuel was developed by Boeing, Honeywell UOP, Chinese oil company PetroChina and Air China. They say a commercial biofuel should be available in three to five years.    Click here to view full story…


Air France Says Come Fry With Me to Paris in Jet Fueled by Old Cooking Oil

15th October 2011    Air France has flown an Airbus A321 passenger aircraft from Toulouse to Paris Orly airport (354 miles) with a fuel mix comprising 50% used cooking oil in both engines. They claim this was the “greenest” ever, due to the low carbon fuel, and due to helpful air traffic control and continuous descent approach (CDA) the plane flew the shortest available route. All this may have cut CO2 emissions to 54 grams per passenger per kilometre, about half the usual level.   Click here to view full story…


Camelina derived oil contributes to Spain’s first commercial biofuel flight carried out by Iberia

6th October 2011     An Iberia Airbus A320 has flown its first commercial flight, using a blended jet biofuel from camelina, from Madrid to Barcelona. It burned around 2,800kg of a mixture of 75% Jet A-1 fuel and 25% camelina in both engines. The camelina was grown in the US and supplied and processed by a variety of US companies. This is part of Spain’s pioneering ‘Green Flight’ programme to advance the use of biofuels in aviation. Iberia claims the fuel cut CO2 emissions by 20%.   Click here to view full story…

Thomson Airways’ test biofuels flight from Birmingham to Lanzarote is a hollow PR stunt

6th October 2011    Thomson Airways’ test biofuels flight from Birmingham to Lanzarote is a hollow PR stunt that paves the way for rainforest destruction. Thomson today launches the 1st UK commercial flight run on biofuels. The biofuels Thomson will now use include virgin plant oil from the US and babassu nuts from Brazil. Both are in short supply so Thomson is likely to use unsustainable alternatives. Their publicity aims to persuade the travelling public and government, erroneously, that these biofuel flights produce less CO2 and are “greener” than usual.  Click here to view full story…


Thomson Airways’ 50% cooking oil biofuel flight grounded after fuel delivery hitch

27th July 2011   The UK’s first commercial flight powered by “sustainable” biofuels has been postponed after delivery problems. Thomson Airways’ flight TOM7424 from Birmingham to Palma was scheduled for 28th July.  However, the airline said the green fuel pilot had been scraped as a delay beyond their control during the transportation of the fuel from the USA meant the testing process could not be done in time for the flight. Will probably take  place in September.

Finnair flies commercial flight Amsterdam to Helsinki on 50% cooking oil

 21st July 2011    Finnair has joined KLM and Lufthansa to use blended sustainable jet biofuel on a commercial scheduled flight.  Both engines of an Airbus A319 were fuelled with a mix of 50% biofuel derived from used cooking oil and 50% conventional jet fuel. The 1,500km journey between Amsterdam and Helsinki was the longest scheduled flight so far to use biofuel. Finnair plans to carry out a series of 4 such flights over the coming weeks. The fuel is from SkyNRG.

Lufthansa A321 partially powered (50%) by biofuel to enter service Friday

12th July 2011    Lufthansa plans start its scheduled biofuel flights Friday, launching a 6-month trial in which an IAE V2500-powered Airbus A321 will operate on the Frankfurt-Hamburg route.  It will use a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional kerosene in one engine, and is due to operate 8 daily legs between FRA and HAM. LH estimates it will save around 1,500 tons of CO2 emissions over the 6 months – but give no indication how this figure is obtained.

KLM operates first scheduled flight on 50% biokerosene from used cooking oil in both engines

30th June 2011    KLM has became the first airline to operate a commercial flight carrying 171 passengers on 50% biokerosene. A Boeing 737-800 flew from Schiphol to Paris.  KLM says they would be operating more than 200 flights to Paris on biokerosene in September. The fuel was supplied by Dynamic Fuels via SkyNRG, the consortium co-founded by KLM in 2009. “KLM is open to using different raw materials …. as long as they meet a range of sustainability criteria”.

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

23rd June 2011   KLM says it will fly more than 200 flights between Amsterdam and Paris on biokerosene made from used cooking oil.   It does not say what percent of the fuel the used oil will be. KLM then says it will use other fuels too, as long as they meet their sustainability criteria and include substantial CO2 reductions.  In practice there is nowhere near enough used cooking oil available, most of which is already used as biodiesel for land vehicles, and other uses.

Boeing will fly 747-8 freighter aircraft on 15% camelina biofuel from USA to Paris Air Show

19th June 2011     Boeing will fly a new 747-8 freighter from America to the Paris Air Show, (4,335 nautical miles) on 15% biofuel in each of the plane’s 4 engines.  Boeing notes that the fuel is a camelina biomix that was grown in Montana and processed by Honeywell’s UOP. The airplane will be on static display at the Paris Air Show June 21 and 22 and then leave the air show the evening of June 22 and fly to Cargolux headquarters at Luxembourg for a two-day visit.

Honeywell demo flight in Gulfstream G450 using one engine using 50% biofuel from camelina crosses Atlantic

19th June 2011    Honeywell has for the first time flown a business jet – Gulfstream G450 – across the Atlantic with one engine using a blend of of its “Green Jet Fuel” 50:50 oil from camelina and and traditional petroleum-based fuel and landed safely at Le Bourget Airport, Paris. The company said it was the first major test flight of such fuel by a business jet. According to Honeywell  the seven-hour flight saved “approximately 5.5 metric tons of net CO2 emissions.

Germany joins up with Lufthansa to sponsor biofuel 6 times worse than fossil fuels

20th April 2011    The German government is financing Lufthansa’s biofuel trials. A total €2.5 million of government money is being ploughed into the 6 month €6.6 million biofuel trial. A recent report by ActionAid and RSPB found that the development of jatropha plantations would produce 2.5 – 6 times more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. The German government is wasting taxpayers’ money on a technology that has few environmental benefits, and does much harm.

Air China plans transpacific jatropha biofuel test flight in 2011

2nd February 2011     Air China said it plans to operate a transpacific demonstration flight partially powered by biofuel in the 2nd half of 2011. CA is expected to use a Boeing 747 powered by Pratt & Whitney engines on the test flight. Boeing has agreed to partner with CA to provide technical support. PetroChina will provide jatropha-based fuel. The flight would follow a number of biofuel test flights including Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines and TAM.

Finnair postpones introduction of biofuel

1st February 2011    In December, Finnair announced it was in discussion with Nesté Oil to buy jet fuels made from logging waste. Their decision would depend on avialability, commercial viability etc.  Now Finnair has decided against using this biofuel in some flights this year, on grounds of cost and sustainability.  They are still interested if fuel can be produced from local wood chips. However these fuels are more costly than kerosene.

Finnair aims to become a launch customer for commercial airline jet biofuel flights in 2011

Date Added: 22nd December 2010

Following the announcement that Lufthansa is set to become the 1st airline to use biofuels on commercial flights, it has emerged that Finnair is also in discussions with the same biofuel supplier, Finland’s Neste Oil, to be the 1st user of “sustainable” jet fuels derived from logging waste. When the first commercial biofuel flights will take place will depend on the availability of biomass and biofuel certification for commercial use. (GreenAir)
Click here to view full story…

Lufthansa first airline to use biofuel on commercial flights next spring

30th November 2010   In April 2011, Lufthansa is to begin a 6-month trial with an Airbus A321 on scheduled commercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt route. Pending certification, one of the aircraft’s engines will use a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional kerosene. The purpose of the project is to conduct a long term study on the effect of biofuel on engine maintenance and life. Lufthansa is the first airline to test this fuel over a long period. The Federal Govt is giving €2.5m for the Lufthansa project.

Biofuel approval nears, Lufhansa plans service trial in spring 2011 – fuel partly from palm oil

29th November 2010   With the aviation fuels subcommittee of standards-setter ASTM to meet next week to decide on approval of bio-jet fuels, Lufthansa has announced plans for a 6-month in-service trail of a 50:50 mix of biofuel and conventional kerosene using an Airbus A321.  ASTM has already approved 50% blends of synthetic paraffinic kerosenes (SPKs) produced from coal, natural gas or biomass using the Fischer-Tropsch process. The bio-SPKs may be next, by March 2011.   ttp://

Brazilian airline TAM flies an Airbus A320 45 minute flight on 50% jatropha biofuel

24th November 2010    On 22 Nov an Airbus A320 powered by CFM56 engines was flown off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, fuelled by a 50:50 blend of biofuel and conventional aviation fuel. The 45-minute flight, which was conducted by Brazil’s largest airline TAM, used biodiesel derived from jatropha seeds in what has been named the first experimental flight in South America using aviation fuel. The biofuel was processed by UOP LLC, a Honeywell group member.

US Navy tests new fuel in MH-60S Seahawk Helicopter. US navy want 50% biofuels by 2020

18th November 2010    Moving closer to achieving the objective of decreasing its need for petroleum-based fuels, the Navy flew an MH-60S Seahawk on a 50/50 biofuel blend.  The helicopter tested a fuel mixture made from the Camelina seed, which is in the same family of plants as the mustard seed and rapeseed. Camelina  – in theory – needs little water or nitrogen to flourish and can be grown on marginal agricultural soil. The US military want biofuels for energy security.

South African flight using Sasol coal to liquid synthetic fuel

22nd September 2010     Sasol has provided fuel, from a coal to liquids process, for “the world’s first jet flight using fully synthetic fuel”. It said a passenger aircraft using its own-developed and internationally approved fuel made the flight from Gauteng to Cape Town. However, the carbon emissions from its manufacture are very high, and Sasol is aware is can only be viable if there is effective carbon capture and storage. CTL is very unlikely to be a helpful strategy for the industry.

EADS sets 1st public algae-biofuel flight at ILA air show in Berlin

9th June 2010    EADS will make the world’s 1st public flight of an aircraft with an engine powered solely by 3rd-generation algae-derived biofuel at ILA. A Diamond DA42 with Austro Engine AE300 diesel powerplants has been flying for a couple of weeks with one engine using 100% biofuel, and the other burning regular kerosene jet fuel.  In the past blends have been used, but this is the first 100% use. They claim it burns more cleanly, but this is in doubt.

KLM’s First (one eighth) Biofuel Flight Takes Off

23rd November 2009    KLM has operated its first passenger flight powered by “sustainable biokerosene.” During the 1.5 hour flight above the Netherlands, one engine of the Boeing 747 ran on a mixture of 50% biofuel from camelina, and 50% traditional kerosene. The other 3 engines ran on 100% normal kerosene. KLM said the biofuel used on the flight “reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional kerosene.” They plan to get certification by the end of 2010.

Airline claims first with flight by natural gas

14th October 2009    Qatar Airways said it had put paying passengers on a flight powered by fuel made from natural gas for the first time, in what could be an important step in the industry’s attempts to lower dependence on oil-based fuel. Shell developed the 50-50 blend of synthetic gas-to-liquids (GTL) kerosene and conventional oil-based kerosene used on the flight. An AEF member said GTL was useful for local airport air quality but has a higher carbon footprint than ordinary fuel. (FT)


First US flight of jatropha and algae-fuelled jet

8th January 2009     A US airline has completed the first test flight of a plane powered by biofuel derived from algae and jatropha. It was a 90-minute flight by a Continental Boeing 737-800. test is the latest in a series of demonstration flights by the aviation industry, which hopes to be using biofuels within 5 years. The flight was the first to use a twin-engine commercial aircraft (rather than a four-engine plane) to test a biofuel blend. (BBC)


NZ airline flies jetliner partly run on veggie oil

30th December 2008    An Air New Zealand passenger jet powered in part by jatropha oil completed a two-hour flight to test a biofuel they hope could lower airplane emissions and cut costs. One engine of a Boeing 747-400 was powered by a 50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel. While Air New Zealand couldn’t say whether the blend would be cheaper than standard jet fuel. Tests show jatropha has an even lower freezing point than jet fuel. (Washington Post)

Virgin Boeing 747 flew from London to Amsterdam on coconut and babassu

25th February 2008   On Sunday, a Virgin Airlines Boeing 747 took off from London’s Heathrow Airport en route to Amsterdam. This short flight may prove to be a giant leap forward for the aviation industry. The aircraft did not carry passengers – but it was the first commercial aircraft to fly partly under the power of biofuels. (BBC)
One hundred and fifty thousand coconuts and a quantity of babassu oil could only ran 20% of one of the four tanks of the aircraft.