Lufthansa A321 passenger flights demonstrate the practicality of bio-fuels

The wide-reaching benefits of alternative aviation fuels were underscored in the world’s first long-term passenger service evaluations performed by Lufthansa using a bio-fuel/kerosene mix with an A321 jetliner, and supported by Airbus.

6 March 2012 Feature story

Conducted during a six-month period through last December, the over 1,000 commercial flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt operated with a bio-fuel blend of 50 per cent Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and kerosene jet fuel in one engine, while the other powerplant was supplied conventional kerosene.

Bio-fuels such as HVO represent an eco-efficient solution to reduce the air transport sector’s environmental impact, thanks to their significantly smaller carbon footprints and lower levels of other airborne pollutants.

Follow-up inspections confirmed that the A321’s engine operating with bio-fuel experienced no adverse effects, while pilots did not see differences in performance or operations on the four daily round-trips between Hamburg and Frankfurt.

“It was a very successful test overall,” said Paul Nash, Airbus’ Head of New Energies, who added that all parameters were within the limits, and no problems with  the bio-fuel blend occurred during the evaluations connecting what Lufthansa calls the first “green city pair” of destinations worldwide.

These flights involved the joint research activity of 12 industry partners and universities under Lufthansa leadership, and were partly financed by the German Ministry of Economics and Technology.
 
Airbus is continuously working with international partners to fully explore the potential benefits of alternative fuels. As part of this effort, the company acts as a catalyst to speed up the commercialisation of aviation bio-fuel production – bringing together such industry stakeholders as farmers, oil refiners, distribution networks, airports and airlines.