BIOFUELS:

KLM carries passengers in test flight

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines today successfully demonstrated the use of renewable jet fuel on the first test flight to carry passengers.

The KLM demonstration is the fifth biofuel-blend test flight in the past two years. Like previous flights by Continental Airlines, Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines, the KLM test used renewable jet fuel developed by UOP, a subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc.

The flight was powered by a blend of 50 percent traditional kerosene and 50 percent biofuel derived from camelina running in one engine of a Boeing 747.

The aviation industry has rallied behind development of drop-in replacement jet fuel derived from plants that provide high energy content, are not eaten as food and do not displace food crops. A report released this summer detailing results of the Continental, Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines tests said the biofuel blends were more efficient than typical jet fuels (E&ENews PM, June 17).

"This is technically feasible. We have demonstrated that it is possible," Peter Hartman, KLM's president and CEO, said in a statement today. "Government, industry and society at large must now join forces to ensure that we quickly gain access to a continuous supply of biofuel."

UOP says its renewable jet fuel can be used as a drop-in replacement requiring no changes to the aircraft technology when used up to a 50 percent blend. The fuel meets critical flight specifications, including freeze and flash points.

Jennifer Holmgren, vice president and general manager of UOP's renewable energy and chemicals business, said data from the KLM test flight would be incorporated into a report by a coalition of airlines, aircraft manufacturers and related companies to certify renewable jet fuel for use in commercial flights.

The coalition should submit its report to the international standards board that certifies fuels and chemicals within the next few weeks, Holmgren said. Full certification could be granted about next year.