Biofuel powers Rio+20 flight from Amsterdam to Rio de Janeiro

19 June 2012 13:36  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Biofuel will be partly powering the engines of a KLM Boeing 777-200 flight from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Rio de Janerio in Brazil on Tuesday, the Dutch airline said.

The aircraft is using a blended fuel made from used cooking oil to take delegates to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

KLM managing director Camiel Eurlings said that using biofuel is one of the most important ways to make aviation more sustainable.

The airline conducted its first commercial biofuel flight in June 2011, with the Amsterdam-Rio de Janerio flight their longest haul using a biofuel blend.

KLM has already operated more than 200 commercial passenger flights using a biofuel blend, with most of these flights on the Amsterdam to Paris route.

However the regularity of use of biofuel in commercial flights has been dependant on product availability.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief economist Brian Pearce said the KLM biofuel flight is a very encouraging development.

“The industry has some tough targets to meet to reduce CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions and clean energy is the only way to do this,” Pearce said.

However the cost of purchasing biofuel remains high and is not yet competitive with jet kerosene. A KLM spokesperson said jet biofuel can be up to four times the price of jet kerosene.

On Monday jet kerosene was at $895.50-899.50/tonne (€707.45-710.61/tonne) FOB (free on board) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp).

“The progression (of biofuels) will be held back until commercial quantities are available,” Pearce said.

The fuel KLM uses is supplied by SkyNRG, the company KLM founded in 2009 with North Sea Group and Spring Associates.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Kate Wilcock
+44 208 652 3214

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