2008-03-02 - 747 Virgin biofuelBoeing, Virgin Atlantic and GE Aviation fly 747 on biofuel
Verkehrsflugzeug fliegt erstmals mit Biosprit<br /> On 24 February, Boeing, Virgin Atlantic and GE Aviation conducted the first commercial aviation flight using a sustainable fuel from biomass mixed with traditional kerosene- based jet fuel.
The biofuel flight demonstration highlights the technical feasibility of using biofuels in a commercial jetliner and is a significant step toward a long-term vision of fully sustainable, low-carbon-lifecycle fuel solutions for the aviation industry. The Virgin Atlantic 747-400 -- registration GV-WOW, operating as Flt. VS811P -- flew using a biofuel blend composed of babassu oil and coconut oil provided by Seattle-based Imperium Renewables. These oils are economically and socially sustainable and can be found in everyday cosmetic products including lip balm and shaving cream. In addition, the babassu nuts and coconuts were harvested from existing, mature plantations. No modifications were made to either the aircraft or its engines to enable the flight to take place.
In preparation for the flight, Boeing, GE Aviation and Imperium Renewables conducted extensive laboratory and static-engine testing to evaluate the energy and performance properties of the biofuel blend used in the flight. The Virgin Atlantic flight is the first step in a broader industrywide technology initiative to commercialize alternative fuel sources for aviation. Babassu oil comes from the nuts of the babassu tree, which is native to Brazil. In addition to its cosmetic uses, its leaves are used to make roofs and paper, which in turn is used to create folders, bags and soap boxes. Coconut oil is used for a variety of applications including oil for biodiesel used in ground transportation. Most coconut plantations are mature and don't contribute to deforestation, while coconut farming is also highly carbon- neutral.