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Boeing 747-8 Freighter to Fly on Biofuel

A piece of aviation history is about to be written, as Boeing is preparing its new 747-8 Freighter to fly to the Paris Air Show using some type of biofuel blend. This will mark the world's first transatlantic flight with a commercial jetliner powered by biofuel.

“It’s great to show the world what we’re doing and what we’re working on and the benefits of working with sustainable biofuel,”
said Stan Zukowski, a member of the airplane’s ground operations team.

Boeing pilots Capt. Keith Otsuka and Capt. Rick Braun and Cargolux Capt. Sten Rossby will fly the airplane with each of the 747-8 Freighter’s four General Electric GEnx-2B engines powered by a blend of 15 percent camelina-based biofuel mixed with 85 percent traditional kerosene fuel (Jet-A).

This summer, the 747-8 Freighter is set to enter service with a double-digit reduction in carbon emissions, and the first to use it will be Cargolux of Luxembourg.

Camelina, the plant source used to create the biofuel, was grown in Montana and processed by Honeywell’s UOP. What is really interesting is that no changes in the airplane’s engines or operating procedures needed to be performed to accommodate the biofuel.

“This historic flight is a boost to aviation’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiency in all phases of our industry,” said 747-8 Vice President and General Manager Elizabeth Lund. “And the 747-8 Freighter fits in well with these efforts by bringing huge improvements in fuel efficiency, lower carbon emissions and less noise.”

The milestone is happening just as ASTM International, the global standards body that oversees jet fuel specification in North America, is about to publish new rules allowing the use of biofuels on all commercial flights.
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