Qantas Jet To Fly On Cooking Oil

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Recycled American cooking oil was chosen by Qantas to help power an Airbus A330 on a commercial flight from Sydney to Adelaide, Friday, and to raise awareness about alternative fuels as part of a biofuel trial flight. The fuel produced by Dutch firm SkyNRG uses the cooking oil and that product will be mixed with conventional jet fuel for the flight. SkyNRG fuel has already been tested by KLM, Chile's LAN and Finnair. Other airlines have successfully flown aircraft on biofuel, including Air New Zealand, which in 2008 flew a Boeing 747 on a 50:50 blend of jatropha plant-based biofuel and Jet A. Qantas says its flight this week is a step toward a larger goal.

Qantas spokesman Tom Woodward told the New Zealand Herald, "What we want to do is take the next step and see how we can produce [biofuel] in Australia." Woodward said the airline wants to use the flight to build momentum toward that goal and that the airline was "not wanting to do a flight for the sake of it." Fuel has been the largest operational cost for Qantas and totaled $3.6 billion last year. New environmental rules may add to that cost. The European Union on January 1 enacted a carbon plan meant to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The plan works like a cap-and-trade system that charges carriers a penalty when they exceed set emission standards. Qantas hopes that integration of a sustainable biofuel will reduce the airline's carbon footprint. According to the carrier, the "life cycle" footprint of SkyNRG is roughly 40 percent that of Jet A.