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Aviation groups encouraged by fuel trial results

March 22, 2012, 09:52 am

Neste Oil and Lufthansa both voiced their satisfaction with the most recent results of a renewable aviation fuel trial. The aviation groups tested a renewable aviation fuel on 1,187 flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg in Germany last year and one intercontinental flight from Frankfurt to Washington, D.C., in 2012. The trial tested the fuel quality, aircraft performance and fuel storability of the source during the flights.

The trial found the planes operating with the renewable aviation fuel performed excellently, showing no signs of damage or wear on the combustion chambers, turbines or fuel systems of the engines at the end of the flights. The fuel tanks were not corroded, and the long-term storage has no negative impact on fuel quality. The renewable fuel resulted in 1 percent lower fuel consumption compared with regular fossil fuel, due to the higher energy content of renewable aviation fuel in the mix.

To obtain these results, pilots, cabin staff and ground-based maintenance personnel monitored the condition of the engines, aircraft performance and other components of the flight throughout the trial.

"The first commercial long-term use of aviation biofuel with more than 1,000 consecutive flights demonstrated that Neste Oil's NExBTL renewable aviation fuel is ready for use in daily aircraft operation," said Joachim Buse, vice president of Lufthansa's biofuel division.

Matti Lehmus, Neste Oil's executive vice president of oil products and renewables, said the successful trials illustrate how the aviation industry has been able to adapt to changing consumer and environmental needs through innovation.

GE Aviation is also using innovation as it continues to manufacture cutting-edge jet engines and air traffic control technology.

According to Forbes, GE Aviation is working to help meet growing demands from consumers, as air travel demand is expected to increase by double digits in many emerging markets. As more countries such as China and India are increasingly demanding planes to transport their residents, GE believes the aviation industry will have a positive impact on the global economy.

In addition, high demand is pushing many consumers to rely on individual suppliers for repair, maintenance and service requests. This is a huge opportunity for GE to fill these requests in both the United States and abroad, according to Forbes.

While groups are working on ways to make flying more efficient, pilots should remember to keep the skies safer with pilot insurance.

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