The Flying Dutchman goes green
Sunday, December 06, 2009
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has operated its first ever passenger flight powered by sustainable biokerosene. The test involved a Boing 747 which took off and landed at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport some one and a half hours later.
During the flight over the Netherlands, one engine of the Boeing 747 ran on a mixture of 50 % sustainable biofuel and 50% on traditional kerosene, while the other three engines ran on normal kerosene. KLM Chief Executive, Peter Hartman, said the biofuel used on the flight reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional kerosene. "We have demonstrated that it is possible. Government, industry and society at large must now join forces to ensure that we quickly gain access to a continuous supply of biofuel," Hartman said. "We hope to receive certification at the end of 2010. Then the question is: how fast can we produce it?"
According to the AFP press agency, the camelina-based biokerosene came from a Seattle-based a biotechnology company, while a KLM spokeswoman told AFP that the carrier offset the carbon footprint of transporting the fuel to the Netherlands.
Sustainability a high priority
KLM and Air France are jointly pursuing an ambitious Climate Action Plan. The fruits of this endeavour are exemplified by the fact that Air France KLM has been the sector leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for five consecutive years. To give an extra impulse to sustainable air transport, KLM has also joined hands with North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates to establish the SkyEnergy consortium to develop biofuels. The consortium will receive advice in relation to ecological aspects from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). "The establishment of SkyEnergy is a groundbreaking initiative. KLM’s demonstration flight serves as a concrete step towards achieving a more sustainable future. We still have a long way to go in relation to biofuels for aviation, but by investing in this manner KLM is once again taking the lead,” said Johan van de Gronden, director of WWF The Netherlands.
KLM has been involved in biokerosene research since 2007 and the Dutch company is committed to developing biokerosene in an economically viable and sustainable manner. "The food chain may not be jeopardised, and production of biokerosene should not go hand in hand with deforestation or excessive water consumption,” said Mr Hartman, adding, "The conservation of biodiversity is, of course, also a precondition. Our cooperation with WWF is both important and inspirational.”