A Boeing aircraft has completed the world's first flight using 'green diesel', a sustainable bio-fuel made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and animal fats.
The company powered its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane on December 2 with a blend of 15% green diesel and 85% petroleum jet fuel in the left engine.
"Green diesel offers a tremendous opportunity to make sustainable aviation bio-fuel more available and more affordable for our customers," said Julie Felgar, managing director of Environmental Strategy and Integration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"We will provide data from several ecoDemonstrator flights to support efforts to approve this fuel for commercial aviation and help meet our industry's environmental goals," Felgar said in a statement.
Sustainable green diesel is widely available and used in ground transportation. Boeing previously found that this fuel is chemically similar to HEFA (hydro-processed esters and
fatty acids) aviation bio-fuel approved in 2011.
Green diesel is chemically distinct and a different fuel product than 'biodiesel', which also is used in ground transportation.
With production capacity of 800 million gallons (3 billion litres) in the US, Europe and Asia, green diesel could rapidly supply as much as 1% of global jet fuel demand.
"The airplane performed as designed with the green diesel blend, just as it does with conventional jet fuel," said Captain Mike Carriker, chief pilot for New Airplane Product Development, Boeing Test and Evaluation.
On a life-cycle basis, sustainably produced green diesel reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 90% compared to fossil fuel, according to Finland-based Neste Oil, which supplied green diesel for the ecoDemonstrator 787.
The flight test was coordinated with the US Federal Aviation Administration, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, and EPIC Aviation blended the fuel.