Lufthansa reckons it has saved 1,471 tonnes of CO2 from trials of bio-fuel in Germany and it now plans to trial a trans-atlantic flight using the fuel.
The airline has just completed a six-month trial involving biosynthetic fuel.
In all, 1,187 biofuel flights were operated between Hamburg and Frankfurt. According to initial calculations, CO2 emissions were reduced by 1,471 tonnes. Total consumption of the bio-kerosene mix amounted to 1,556 tonnes.
The first scheduled transatlantic flight to the United States using the fuel is planned for 12 January 2012. A Boeing 747-400, carrying about 40 tonnes of a biosynthetic fuel mix, will fly from Frankfurt to Washington.
Lufthansa expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 38 tonnes on this flight, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of six scheduled flights between Frankfurt and Berlin.
Bio-fuel works on the basis that plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. When aircraft engines burn biofuel, this CO2 is released back into the atmosphere. Bio-fuel emits about 50 per cent less CO2 than conventional fossil fuels.
IATA has set an industry-wide target for airlines of reducing net CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by the year 2050 compared to 2005.
“If we want to protect our climate and thus our future in a sustainable manner, we need innovative ideas and technologies and an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels – particularly in view of the growing demand for mobility worldwide,” said Christoph Franz, chairman of the executive board of Deutsche Lufthansa.