Lufthansa Cargo encourages green fuel trials

SINCE 2008 airlines including Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand and Continental Airlines to name a few, have operated test flights partly fuelled by biofuel – a fuel created by blending oily plants such as camelina, jatropha and algae with kerosene. Now Lufthansa and its cargo subsidiary are beginning their own environmentally-friendly fuel tests.

On 1 March Lufthansa Cargo held its Cargo Climate Care Conference in Frankfurt as a means to promote the use of biofuel.

“Lufthansa Cargo did not back away from its responsibility to environment protection, even as we had the worst recession in post-war history, and did research and deploy lighter aircraft,” Karl-Heinze Koepfle, chairman of Lufthansa Cargo, said.

Lufthansa passenger flights will begin a six-month trial in April running one engine on a 50 per cent blend of biofuel. Its cargo division eagerly awaits the results.

Joachim Buse, vice president of Aviation Fuel at Lufthansa, is keen to avoid the use of edible crops as feedstock for its biofuel endeavour. “We do not want to become a competitor for the food sector.”

Lufthansa has applied to the German authorities to fly aircraft with biofuel. “This would be the first time an aircraft would fly [using] biofuel. We will operate an A123 aircraft on a six-month trial basis and thereafter review the situation. Six scientific institutes will be involved in closely monitoring the A123 flights with biofuel,” Buse said, adding the process of obtaining a permit is in the final stages.

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