Camelina “’ the source
of bio-fuel used
to power the first
trans-Atlantic flight
London, England — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 09 November 2011 – The first transatlantic flight powered by bio-fuel “’ a Gulfstream G450 corporate jet that travelled from New Jersey to Paris “’ used a 50-50 blend of bio-fuel and petroleum-based jet fuel.

Renewable Energy World reports from here that the bio-fuel was derived by U.S.-based company Honeywell UOP from camelina “’ a dedicated energy crop that does not compete in the food chain as it grows in rotation with wheat acreage, and can also grow on marginal land.

The flight was estimated to have saved approximately 5.5 tonnes of net carbon dioxide emissions compared to the same flight powered by fossil fuel, and was hailed as a promising step toward helping the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint. The camelina-based fuel also exemplifies a trend in bio-fuels production away from raw materials that can be used for food, in response to global protest and the recent UN recommendation to drop bio-fuel subsidies “’ but the world apparently isn’t yet ready to give up on bio-fuels, the report adds.

Global bio-fuel production is also taking flight, climbing by 17% in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion litres, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Programme. The increase exceeded the 10% growth experienced in 2009, when production stood at 90 billion litres. Furthermore, bio-fuels provided 2.7% of all global fuel for road transportation in 2010 — an increase from 2% in 2009.

In another milestone flight, Dutch company SkyNRG powered a four-hour Thomson Airways flight from Birmingham, U.K., to Arrecife in October, half with bio-fuel produced from used cooking oil, and half with petroleum-based fuel. “Sustainable bio-fuel has the potential to reduce aviation emissions by up to 80% in the long term,” said Thomson managing director Chris Browne.