Technology

Boeing’s New Planes Will Fly On A Mixture Of Cooking Oil And Animal Fats

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Boeing 787

Last year Boeing revealed that it is working on a mixture of ‘green diesel’ and jet fuel to power the airliners. Green diesel is created from waste cooking oil, vegetable oils and waste animal fats. The company has executed the plan and flew the ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane in Seattle on green diesel.

Green diesel has to be used in a blend with other fuels and bears a high initial cost. However, the good part is that it can be created in the current petro-diesel refineries while giving off the by-product called propane, which is quite valuable too.

Boeing 787

The plane’s left engine used a mix that contained 15% of green diesel while the remaining 85% was the petroleum jet fuel. Boeing’s captain, Mike Carriker, said, “The airplane performed as designed with the green diesel blend, just as it does with conventional jet fuel. This is exactly what we want to see in flight tests with a new type of fuel.”

The green diesel for the test flight was provided by Neste Oil – a Finnish company. It claims that if you are considering a lifecycle based green diesel, produced at a sustainable rate, the emissions of carbon shall be 50-90% less as compared with petro-diesel. Boeing has produced a cooking-oil-to-biofuel plant located in China and is growing tobacco that is rich in oil in South Africa. These steps have been taken to provide for a feedstock that is sustainable and can be used for green diesel production.

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 Capt Mike Carriker, chief pilot for New Airplane Product Development, Boeing Test and Evaluation.

On a lifecycle 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.


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