24 November 2009

The KLM airline has operated its first ever demonstration flight using renewable jet fuel. One engine of the Boeing 747 aircraft used in the test was fueled with a 50% blend of renewable jet fuel made from camelina, while the other engine was fueled with a regular jet fuel. The test, which took place at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, was the first renewable jet fuel demonstration flight in Europe.

The renewable fuel was produced from camelina—an inedible plant growing in conditions that are not suitable for food crops—using technology developed by UOP. The process is based on hydroprocessing technology, where hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from natural oils. Several sustainable feedstocks can be used including camelina, jatropha and algae.

The UOP process produces a jet fuel that can be blended with petroleum-based fuel. In blends up to 50% with petroleum jet fuel, the renewable fuel requires no changes to the aircraft technology and meets the specifications, including a freeze point at -47°C and a flash point at 38°C.

UOP’s process technology was also used to produce renewable jet fuel for demonstration flights conducted in the USA, Japan and New Zealand (with Boeing, Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines) earlier this year. Test results from these demonstration flights showed that renewable jet fuel produced using UOP’s process technology performed as well as jet fuel made from petroleum. The UOP technology was originally developed in 2007 under a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce renewable jet fuel for the US military.

UOP, a Honeywell subsidiary, is developing a range of processes to produce green fuels from natural feedstocks. UOP launched its Renewable Energy & Chemicals business in late 2006. In 2007, UOP commercialized the UOP/Eni Ecofining™ process to produce renewable diesel fuel from biological feedstocks. In 2008 UOP formed the joint venture Envergent Technologies LLC with Ensyn Corporation to offer pyrolysis technology for the production of renewable heat, power and transportation fuels.

Source: Honeywell | KLM