Airbus is continuing its support of alternative fuel research with a cooperative flight involving a TAM Airlines A320 using Jatropha-based biofuel – the widespread use of which could reduce the air transport sector’s overall carbon footprint by up to 80 per cent.
This month’s milestone flight took off from Brazil’s Galeão Antonio Carlos Jobim International airport in Rio de Janeiro, with the A320 flying for 45 minutes before returning to its point of origin. It used a 50 per cent blend of locally-sourced Brazilian Japtropha-based bio-kerosene and conventional aviation kerosene processed by UOP LLC, a Honeywell group.
The experimental flight was approved by Airbus and engine provider CFM International, and was authorized by aviation authorities in Europe and Brazil.
Airbus is continuously working with international, industry and cross-industry partners to fully explore the potential benefits of alternative fuels. To coordinate these efforts, the company has developed an alternative fuels roadmap, which estimates that some 30 per cent of all jet fuel used in 2030 could be sustainable biojet fuel.
The company launched this programme in 2008, when – in collaboration with Shell International Petroleum and Rolls-Royce – an A380 became the first civil airliner in commercial aviation history to fly using a 40 per cent blend of synthetic liquid fuel derived from natural gas (GTL).
Another milestone was marked the following year with the world’s first passenger flight using 50 per cent blended GTL – a joint effort between Airbus and Qatar Airways, which utilised a four-engine A340-600 jetliner.