Lufthansa to conduct first-ever transatlantic commercial biofuel flight to U.S. on a Boeing 747-400

January 12th flight from Frankfurt to Washington, D.C. concludes six-month program testing long-term effects of biofuel on engines

Toronto, ON, January 9, 2012 – Today Lufthansa announced that it will conclude its successful long-term biofuel study by operating the world’s first biofuel-powered transatlantic commercial flight to the United States.  On Thursday, January 12, 2012, Lufthansa will fly a Boeing 747-400 carrying approximately 40 tons of biofuel mix from Frankfurt to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.  Flight LH418 will depart from Frankfurt at 1:05pm and is scheduled to arrive in DC at 3:50pm. On this flight alone, Lufthansa expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 38 tons.

Through its pioneering burnFAIR project, Lufthansa was the first airline to use biofuel on regularly scheduled commercial flights in an effort to study the long-term effect of biofuel on engine maintenance and engine life, as well as the environmental impact.  From July 15 to December 27, 2011, a Lufthansa Airbus A321 operating along the Hamburg-Frankfurt route had one of its engines powered by a 50-50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene. In all, 1,187 biofuel flights were conducted, and according to initial calculations, the total consumption of the biokerosene mix amounted to 1,556 tons and CO2 emissions were reduced by 1,471 tons.

“Our burnFAIR project went off smoothly and to our fullest satisfaction. As expected, biofuel proved its worth in daily flight operations,” confirmed Joachim Buse, Vice President Aviation Biofuel at Lufthansa.

Biosynthetic kerosene is just as reliable as conventional jet fuel but with less environmental impact. Thanks to the higher energy density of biofuel, the fuel consumption of the corresponding engine is reduced by more than one percent. Furthermore, biosynthetic kerosene is free of sulphur and aromatic compounds.

The principle behind biofuel is based on the carbon cycle through which plants withdraw CO2 from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. When aircraft engines burn biofuel, CO2 is released back into the atmosphere at a rate of about 50 percent less than conventional fossil fuels.

“As a next step, we will focus on the suitability, availability, sustainability and certification of raw materials. But first we must tap into this market. However, Lufthansa will only continue this practical trial if we can secure a supply of sustainable, certified raw materials,” Mr. Buse said.

Lufthansa’s innovative biofuel program is part of the airline’s continued commitment to limiting the environmental effects of flying through the sparing use of resources, participation in climate research, and ongoing improvements to air and ground efficiencies, among other initiatives.

More information about the project is available at: http://www.puresky.de/en/

 

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Note for news desks:

Lufthansa is hosting a press briefing on Friday, January 13 at the National Press Club, Washington D.C., at 9am.  Please email americaspr@dlh.de or call 516-296-9671 for further information and to RSVP.