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Continental Airlines to Conduct Twin-Engine Biofuel Test Flight in US in January

Continental Airlines is planning the first biofuel-powered demonstration flight of a US commercial airliner, to be conducted in Houston on 7 Jan 2009. The demonstration flight, which will be operated with no passengers, will be powered in one engine by a 50:50 fuel blend of traditional jet fuel and synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from algae and jatropha plants.

Continental has partnered on this project with Boeing; CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of General Electric Company and Snecma (SAFRAN Group); refining technology developer UOP, a Honeywell company; and oil providers Sapphire Energy (algae) and Terrasol (jatropha).

Using a feedstock-flexible method derived from its EcoFining process for producing renewable “green diesel”, UOP deoxygenates the jatropha and algae oils, then applies selective cracking and isomerization to produce synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) that can then be blended with conventional aviation fuel at up to 50%. (Earlier post.)

The demonstration flight will be the first biofuel flight by a commercial carrier using algae as a fuel source and the first using a two-engine aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 equipped with CFM International CFM56-7B engines. One of the two CFM engines during the demonstration flight will burn the 50:50 blend.

Operating under a specially-issued Experimental aircraft type certificate, the aircraft will be crewed by Continental’s own FAA-licensed test pilots. With no passengers on board, the flight test plan calls for operating the No. 2 (right) engine on the special biofuel blend, including power accelerations / decelerations, in-flight engine shut-down and restart and other flight maneuvers that include both normal and non-normal procedures.

Numerous flight parameters will be recorded, and a post-flight engine analysis will contribute to findings which are expected to show that the biofuel blend is readily substitutable for regular fuel without any degradation of performance or safety, and with a net reduction in carbon emissions.

Continental, Boeing, UOP and CFM have worked together for more than nine months on the research, production and testing of the biofuel, including laboratory and ground-based jet engine performance testing to ensure compliance with stringent aviation fuel performance and safety requirements.

As part of a broader industry effort, Boeing and other industry partners, including airlines and engine manufacturers, are helping to guide the aviation sector toward sustainable biofuels produced through advanced biomass conversion technologies and processes that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their lifecycle. Sustainable biofuels for aviation incorporate second-generation methodologies relative to fuel source selection and processing, which are uniquely suited for aerospace use. These biofuels can then be blended with kerosene fuel (Jet-A) to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

On average, Continental burns approximately 18 gallons of fuel to fly one mainline revenue passenger 1,000 miles, which represents a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption since 1997. This is due in large part to the efforts of its employees in streamlining operational procedures and to an investment of more than $12 billion to acquire 270 more fuel-efficient Boeing aircraft and related equipment. Continental remains committed to further improving fuel efficiency in the decade to come, including investing in its fleet with orders for more than 50 Boeing 737-900 Next Generation aircraft, and 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Continental, the world’s fifth largest airline, has also reduced by 75% NOx emissions from ground equipment at the carrier’s largest hub in Houston, through switching to electric ground service equipment and other new technology. This technology is now being tested for use in cold climates.



Congratulations to Continental! This is a meaningful step forward toward global energy independence.


please send us report of algae and jatropha biofuels.


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