Lufthansa ends bio fuel trials; Terms major success

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lufthansa bio fuels trials

Lufthansa says the trial use of a bio fuel mix for airplanes has come to an end because of used up stocks of certified bio fuel and non availability of reliable supplies. The trial will end on 12 January on a flight from Frankfurt to Washington.

“Lufthansa will only continue the practical trial if we are able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations,” airlineproject manager Joachim Buse said.

European Union introduced new carbon emissions trading scheme in January in a bid to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Under the new EU rules, airlines will be required to pay for the carbon dioxide they emit, a move analysts reckon would lead to hike in ticket prices. Major US airlines such as American Airlines and Delta have already added the surcharges by increasing passenger fares.

Airline industry has been experimenting with cleaner fuels over the last few years in its bid to curb emissions but a lack of industrial production has hampered any viable options.

European airlines, the EU Commission and bio fuel producers have signed a pact aiming to produce 2 million tonnes of bio fuel for aviation purposes by 2020.

Many environments have not welcomed the airlines’ cleaner fuel initiative as they insist crops such as palm oil, grown to extract bio fuel, use land that could be used to grow crops crops to feed world’s hungry population.

In a bid to stave off criticism, airlines are also promoting the use of other bio fuels like waste and algae. British Airways is looking forward to start using fuel produced from waste while its British rival Virgin Atlantic looks forward to use fuel derived from waste gases by 2014.

The six-month trial between Frankfurt and Hamburg, saw one engine of Airbus A321 powered by a 50:50 blend of regular fuel and biofuel, was a huge success,” Lufthansas project manager claimed. The airline operated 1,187 bio fuel flights, with initial calculations showing CO2 emissions were reduced by 1,471 tonnes.

It is expected that the flights from Frankfurt to Washington would cut emissions by 38 tonnes, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of the six flights between Frankfurt and Berlin.

(By Manasa Kesiraju; Edited by Moign Khawaja)

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