Japan Airlines successfully conducted a test flight today of an unmodified Boeing 747-300 aircraft with one engine running on a 50% biofuels and 50% aviation jet fuel.
Tokyo, January 30, 2009: Today, Japan Airlines (JAL) became the first airline to conduct a demonstration flight using a sustainable biofuel primarily refined from the energy crop, camelina. It was also the first demo flight using a combination of three sustainable biofuel feedstocks, as well as the first one using Pratt & Whitney engines. The results of the flight are expected to conclusively confirm the second-generation biofuel’s operational performance capabilities and potential commercial viability.
The approximately one and half-hour demo flight using a JAL-owned Boeing 747-300 aircraft, carrying no passengers or payload, took off from Haneda Airport, Tokyo at 11:50am (JST). A blend of 50% biofuel and 50% traditional Jet-A jet (kerosene) fuel was tested in the No.3 engine (middle right), one of the aircraft’s four Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines. No modifications to the aircraft or engine were required for biofuel, which is a ‘drop-in’ replacement for petroleum-based fuel.
The JAL cockpit crew onboard the aircraft checked the engine’s performance during normal and non-normal flight operations, which included quick accelerations and decelerations, and engine shutdown and restart. A ground-based preflight test was conducted the day before the flight to ensure that the No. 3 engine functioned normally using the biofuel/ traditional Jet-A fuel blend. Captain Keiji Kobayashi who piloted the aircraft said, ‘Everything went smoothly. There was no difference at all in the performance of the engine powered by the biofuel blend, and the other three engines containing regular jet fuel.”
The biofuel mixture was produced from 84% camelina, less than 16% jatropha, and less than 1% algae feedstocks. The camelina feedstock was supplied by Sustainable Oils, Inc., the jatropha by Terasol Energy, and the algae by Sapphire Energy.
Source : Japan Airlines Release