First passenger plane to use biofuel lifts off


AMSTERDAM – Air France unit KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was the first airline to make a passenger flight which partly used biokerosene on Monday.

During the 1.5 hour flight above the Netherlands, one engines of the Boeing 747 ran on a mixture of 50 percent sustainable biofuel and 50 percent on traditional kerosene. The other three engines ran on 100 percent normal kerosene. KLM Chief Executive Peter Hartman said the biofuel used on the flight reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent compared to conventional kerosene. “We hope to receive certification at the end of 2010. Then the question is: how fast can we produce it?”

Aircraft account for an estimated 2-4 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which scientists say could cause global temperatures to rise, triggering widespread disease, famine, flooding and drought.

Experts say global aviation emissions could reach 2.4 billion tonnes in 2050, which would be 15-20 percent of all CO2 permitted under a global agreement and a nearly four-fold increase on current levels.

KLM, North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates on Monday founded the SkyEnergy consortium, targeting sufficient supply of biofuels for airplanes.

“We have demonstrated that it is possible. Government, industry and society at large must now join forces to ensure that we quickly gain access to a continuous supply of biofuel,” Hartman said.