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Lufthansa to End Biofuel Trials, Blaming Low Supplies

Lufhansa is ending trials using biofuels to power flights, because it can’t find reliable supplies, Reuters reports.

The final flight in the trial program will see a Boeing 747-400 fly from Frankfurt, Germany, to Washington, D.C., on 12 January 2012. It will be the company’s first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight.

But Reuters reported that the company has used up stocks of certified biofuel. Lufthansa project manager Joachim Buse said the company would only be able to continue the trial if it could secure the volume of certified raw materials necessary to maintain routine operations.

During the six-month trial, 1,187 biofuel flights were operated between Hamburg and Frankfurt. According to the airline’s initial calculations, CO2 emissions were reduced by 1,471 metric tons and total consumption of the biokerosene mix amounted to 1,556 metric tons.

Lufthansa said that the biosynthetic kerosene is just as reliable as conventional jet fuel but that it emits about 50 per cent less CO2 than conventional fossil fuels. Thanks to the higher energy density of biofuel, the company has reduced fuel consumption by more than 1 percent. Furthermore, biosynthetic kerosene is free of sulphur and aromatic compounds, Lufhansa said.

Earlier this year, Lufthansa announced that it will pass any extra cost that the European Union’s emissions trading system will add to its operation onto customers’ ticket prices. The airline anticipates total additional charges of €130 million ($170 million) in 2012 as a result of the tariffs.

American Airlines and Delta have also now added surcharges because of the tariffs.

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