First Natural Gas-fueled Passenger Flight Completed
Airlines’ struggles with fuel availability and emissions may be eased if more flights are able to be powered in part by natural gas, which burns cleaner than other fuels.
Qatar Airways on Oct. 12 completed a six-hour flight from London to Qatar, running an Airbus A340-800 on a 50/50 kerosene/natural gas blend, reports Reuters.
Royal Dutch Shell was involved in the test, which ran the fuel through a Rolls Royce Trent 556 engine.
Airbus predicts that by 2030 up to 30 percent of all jet fuel will be so-called alternative fuel. This particular blend burned with decreased sulpher dioxide and particulate emissions.
Qatar Airlines was a logical choice for the test, as Qatar is one of the world’s largest exporters of liquefied natural gas.
Airlines are under pressure to reduce emissions.
The European Union has released a list of nearly 4,000 companies including commercial airlines, private jet operators and air forces around the globe that must reduce their emissions or face a European airport ban.
In response, the International Air Transport Association has pledged to cut air emissions in half by 2050.
The association, which represents 230 airlines comprising 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic, is also striving for a 1.5 percent average annual improvement in fuel efficiency through 2020.
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