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Japan Airline To Test Biofuel Flight

japan_airlines.jpgJapan Airlines says it will be the first Asian carrier to conduct a demonstration flight using a sustainable biofuel refined from the energy crop, camelina. The one-hour demonstration flight is planned for Jan. 30, 2009, out of Haneda Airport Tokyo.

The airline will test a blend of 50 percent biofuel and 50 percent traditional Jet-A jet fuel in one of the four Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines of its Boeing 747-300 aircraft.

Japan Airlines says the biofuel component will be made up of three second-generation biofuel feedstocks, specifically 84 percent camelina, under 16 percent jatropha and under 1 percent algae.

Once the flight has been completed, the airline says data recorded on the aircraft will be analyzed by Pratt & Whitney and Boeing engineers. Several of the engine readings will also be used to determine if equivalent engine performance was seen from the biofuel blend compared to typical Jet A-1 fuel.

In July, Rolls-Royce and British Airways announced they are starting a test program to research alternative fuels for the aviation industry.

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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