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Biofuel passenger flight gets off the ground

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Biofuel passenger flight gets off the ground


The world’s first passenger flight powered partly by biofuel has completed its maiden voyage. A Boeing 747 belonging to Dutch airline KLM flew with one of its four engines filled with 50 per cent biofuel and 50 per cent traditional kerosene.

Johan Van de Gronden of the World Wildlife Fund was among the passengers. He hailed the flight as a breakthrough in cutting carbon emissions.

“We are talking about second generation biofuels, so it’s still in the experimental stage,” he said. “It hasn’t been certified yet. It’s based on Camelina, it has a CO2 or greenhouse gas reduction balance of 60 to 80 per cent less than the conventional kerosene and that is a big step forward. On top of that, it does not come at the expense of primary forest or nature and the cultivation does not compete with the food chain.” There have been four biofuel-blend test flights in the last two years but none had carried any passengers. A total of 40 people, including the Dutch environment minister, boarded the one and a half hour flight from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. KLM says that for low carbon aviation to really take off, the world needs to increase supply of biofuels without jeopardising existing ecosystems.

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