For a first time in European aviation history, a commercial airliner completed an entire flight using sugar-based biofuel. LH190 of the German Lufthansa, flew between Frankfurt and Berlin on the revolutionary blend of green fuel.
The sugar-based biofuel is a product of the American biotechnological company Amyris in collaboration with Total oil group. It is generated through the process of yeast fermentation, where sugarcane is converted into farnesene, an ingredient in the blend to make biojet or biodiesel. Derived from Brazilian sugarcane and mixed with 10% conventional kerosene, this product results in incredible 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter.
The biofuel, referred to as Synthetic Iso-Paraffin fuel (SIP), received the approval of the international fuel standards body ASTM this June, following the earlier sustainability certification, which was given by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) in April. Before this could happen, the fuel was subjected to series of tests conducted by Lufthansa Technik. The flight between Frankfurt and Berlin was the first commercial one for Europe, and second one worldwide to make use of this biofuel, following the earlier flight between Orlando, Florida and Sao Paolo.
Lufthansa Group is determined to continue developing and commercializing clean and efficient fuel to power their jets. Testing sugarcane crops was the first step, however in order to make sure there is a secure supply of sustainable crops, the airline giant is now looking into turning fuel from Jatropha plant into a commercial product. Together with JatroSolutions, a start-up subsidiary of the German energy giant EnBW, Lufthansa will ensure a constant supply of raw jetropha plants, which will then be converted into biofuel.
As part of their Biofuel Strategy 2020, the group is determined to protect the environment and climate. Among the numerous initiatives in which Lufthansa Group is involved are the membership in the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group and the Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany, all having the main focus to provide clean emission-free biofuel for commercial jet flights.
Image (c) Lufthansa Group