Qantas performs first Australian biofuel flight

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Published: April 17, 2012

Qantas (QF) and SkyNRG operated Australia’s first commercial biofuel flight April 13 between Sydney and Adelaide. The flight, using an Airbus A330, used a 50:50 blend of biofuel derived from used cooking oil and conventional jet fuel, QF said in a statement.

The fuel, supplied by SkyNRG, has been fully certified for use in commercial aviation. Its life cycle carbon footprint is around 60% smaller than that of conventional jet fuel.

“With high fuel costs and carbon pricing affecting airlines around the world, the Qantas Group is taking the lead in advocating the development of a sustainable aviation fuel industry in Australia” QF said in a statement.

QF1121 departedSydney the morning of April 13, arriving in Adelaide at noon. The return flight, QF1120, left Adelaide that afternoon.

QF Head of Environment John Valastro said the goal of the flights was to raise awareness about the potential for sustainable aviation fuel in Australia. “We know that sustainable aviation fuel can be used in commercial aviation just like conventional jet fuel,” he said, “but until it is produced at a commercial scale, at a competitive price, the industry will not be able to realize its true benefits. No single player can make this happen: it needs support from government, private sector investment, access to infrastructure and market demand.”

Valastro said that QF has been in discussions with government and industry partners about “producing a clear blueprint for the establishment of an Australian sustainable aviation fuel industry. This needs to focus not on speculative technologies but on biofuels that are operationally feasible now, production of which could commence within the next few years—given the right conditions. We hope to accelerate the process in the coming weeks as we build towards this Australian-first flight,” Valastro said.

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