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KLM operates first passenger biofuel test flight

ATW Daily News by Cathy Buyck 24 Nov09

KLM yesterday operated the first biofuel demonstration flight in which passengers were aboard, flying a 747-400 partially powered by camelina-derived fuel from Amsterdam Schiphol.

The flight, carrying 40 select passengers including KLM President & CEO Peter Hartman and a number of Dutch officials, stayed in the air for about 1 hr. before returning to AMS. One of the aircraft's engines was powered by a 50/50 mixture of traditional jet fuel and camelina-based fuel. Honeywell subsidiary UOP converted the plant-based crude oil to biofuel and then blended it with jet fuel.

Previous biofuel test flights, operated without passengers, were conducted by Japan Airlines, Continental Airlines and Air New Zealand (ATWOnline, Feb. 2). ANZ announced the results of its biofuel flight at ATW's 2009 Eco-Aviation conference (ATWOnline, May 28).

Hartman said the industry has "demonstrated" that clean, sustainable air transport is technically feasible and called on governments and industry "to join forces to ensure that we quickly gain access to a continuous supply of biofuel."

KLM also announced it has partnered with North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates to establish SkyEnergy, a consortium committed to "accelerating development [toward achieving] a market breakthrough" for biofuel in aviation.

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