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TAM Airlines and Airbus first to fly Jatropha-based renewable jet fuel in Latin America

Brazil’s largest airline, TAM Airlines, and Airbus have conducted the first Jatropha-based biofuel flight in Latin America, using an Airbus A320. The biofuel, processed by UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, was a 50% blend of locally-sourced Brazilian Japtropha-based bio-kerosene and conventional jet fuel.

Twenty people from TAM Airlines and Airbus were on board the A320 powered by CFM56 engines which took off from Galeão Antonio Carlos Jobim International airport in Rio de Janeiro. The aircraft performed a 45 minute flight before returning to its point of origin.

This experimental flight materializes TAM’s participation in a vast project to develop a production chain for renewable biofuel, with the purpose of creating a Brazilian platform for sustainable aviation bio-kerosene.

—Libano Barroso, president of TAM Airlines

Studies show that the use of biofuels made from Jatropha in aviation could reduce the sector’s overall carbon footprint by up to 80%, compared with conventional petroleum-based aviation kerosene. TAM Airlines and Airbus both support the study and assessment of the sustainability and economic viability of implementing the bio-kerosene value chain in Brazil.

The technical flight was approved by Airbus, the engine provider CFM International, and was authorized by aviation authorities in Europe (the European Aviation Safety Agency - EASA), and Brazil (National Civil Aviation Agency - ANAC).

In addition to its efforts with TAM Airlines, in February 2008, an Airbus A380 aircraft successfully completed the first ever flight by a commercial aircraft using Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel, and in October 2009 Airbus and Qatar Airways undertook the first commercial flight of 50% blended GTL.

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