Paris Air Show Briefing: Zero-Emission Jet, Biofuel Deals, Green Engine Cleaning

by | Jun 24, 2011

Nine major airlines have signed letters of intent to use bioefuels from Solena Fuels for flights out of the San Francisco Bay area. American Airlines and United Continental Holdings led the deal’s development, and they were joined by US Airways, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Southwest, Frontier, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, as well as FedEx, Epoch Times reports.

Solena’s fuel is made from recycled urban and agricultural wastes.

The European Commission, along with Airbus, Lufthansa, Air France/KLM, British Airways and key European biofuel producers, has launched an initiative to speed up commercialization of aviation biofuels. The Biofuel Flightpath program is targeting the annual production of two million tons of sustainably produced biofuel by 2020, Green Car Congress says.

The biofuel is to be produced in Europe from feedstock sourced on the continent. Biofuel producers involved include Choren Industries, Neste Oil, Biomass Technology Group and UOP.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines says that in September, it will start using biokerosene derived from cooking oil for more than 200 flights on its Paris-Amsterdam route. The fuel will be produced by Dynamic Fuels and supplied by SkyNRG, a consortium launched by KLM, North Sea Group and Spring Associates in 2009, Environmental Protection reports.

Following Honeywell’s announcement that it has completed the world’s first transatlantic flight powered by biofuels, Boeing has followed suit by landing a 747-8 at Paris Air Show venue Le Bourget Airport powered by a biofuel mix. The airplane, flew from Everett, Wash., to Le Bourget with all four of its General Electric GEnx-2B engines powered by a blend of 15 percent camelina-based biofuel mixed with 85 percent traditional kerosene Jet A fuel.

American Airlines has announced that it will be the launch customer for Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator Program, in which a Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft, and a twin-aisle airplane to be confirmed later, will be used to test emerging technologies for cutting fuel consumption and carbon emissions, Green Car Congress reports.

Airbus parent company EADS has released details of a conceptual zero-emission, hypersonic aircraft that it says could fly from Tokyo to Los Angeles in two hours, 30 minutes. Called ZEHST – standing for Zero Emission High Supersonic Transport – this high-speed transport concept definition draws on know-how drawn from a suborbital space-plane project conducted by EADS subsidiary Astrium.

Siemens AG, Diamond Aircraft and EADS are presenting what they say is the world’s first aircraft with a serial hybrid electric drive system. The two-seater motor glider completed a maiden flight on June 8 at the Wiener Neustadt airfield in Vienna, Austria. The technology is intended for later use in large-scale aircraft, and will cut fuel consumption and emissions by 25 percent, compared to today’s most efficient aircraft drives, the companies say.

Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has concluded a contract worth up to $2.2 billion at engine list prices, with TAM Airlines of Brazil, to provide Trent XWB engines for Airbus A350-XWB aircraft. The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the Airbus A350-XWB, is the fastest selling Rolls-Royce Trent engine offering 28 per cent better fuel efficiency than pre-Trent generation engines.

JetBlue Airways and Airbus SAS have signed a memorandum of understanding for the airline to buy 40 Airbus A320neo aircraft. In addition, JetBlue will convert 30 of its current orders for A320 aircraft to the larger A321 model with enhanced wingtip devices called “sharklets,” according to France-based Airbus. The combination of the new engines and the sharklets provides a 15% fuel-burn reduction, corresponding to an annual carbon dioxide reduction of 3,600 metric tons per aircraft, Airbus says.

An order for a further 30 Airbus A320neo has been placed by the SAS Group (which operates as Scandinavian Airlines). The order has an option of an additional 11 Airbus A320neo with first delivery from the second half of 2016 and final delivery during 2019. Virgin Atlantic has bought 30 A320neos of its own, AutoBlogGreen reports, and LAN Airlines has bought 20.

Republic Airways Holdings has signed a letter of intent with Airbus to purchase 40 A320neo and 40 A319neo aircraft. They are both powered by CFM’s LEAP-X engines, and Republic says they consume 15 percent less fuel than its current fleet. All 80 planes will be flown by Republic’s Frontier Airlines subsidiary.

Israel-based El Al Airlines has signed a long-term agreement to use Pratt & Whitney‘s environmentally friendly EcoPower engine wash system, while Virgin Atlantic Airways has agreed to extend its contract to use the system. The engine wash system reduces fuel burn by as much as 1.2 percent, eliminating approximately three pounds of carbon dioxide emissions for every pound of fuel saved, compared to traditional methods for cleaning engines, the companies say.

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