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Rolls-Royce, BA Partner On Alternative Fuel Research

ba-flight.jpgRolls-Royce and British Airways are starting a test program to research alternative fuels for the aviation industry. The study will seek to identify practical alternatives to the current industry-standard fuel kerosene.

The companies will invite suppliers to offer alternative fuel samples for testing on a Rolls-Royce RB211 engine from a British Airways Boeing 747. The tests will be carried out on an indoor engine test bed at the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby, UK.

Following the tender process, there will be a selection of up to four alternative fuels, which will undergo laboratory testing before being delivered to Rolls-Royce in the new year. Each company will be asked to supply up to 60,000 liters.

In separate research being performed later this year, Air New Zealand will conduct a demonstration flight of a second-generation biofuel in partnership with Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

Continental Airlines, Boeing and GE Aviation have announced plans to conduct a biofuels demonstration flight in the first half of 2009 in an effort to identify sustainable fuel solutions for the aviation industry.

Virgin Atlantic flew one of its Boeing 747 jumbo jets on biofuel from Heathrow to Amsterdam. That test happened shortly after Airbus flew an A380 using a liquid fuel processed from gas.

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