Continental experiments with bio-fuels (updated)

16 Dec 2008

Continental Airlines will conduct a very significant flight in Huston on January 7, 2009, marking the evolution of the search for sustainable fuel sources.

The demonstration is the first by a US commercial airliner using biofuels. (On December 3, Air New Zealand, however, was the first commercial airline anywhere in the world to conduct such an experiment.) Carrying no passengers, the Boeing B737-800 will be powered by a special fuel blend consisting of components derived from algae and jatropha plants, which are renewable and second-generation fuel sources that don’t impact food crops or water reservoirs and don’t hasten deforestation.

The fuel on one of the two CFM engines during the exercise will be a blend of 50 percent traditional jet fuel and 50 percent biofuel. The flight test plan calls for operating this engine to including power acceleration/deceleration and restart among other flight maneuvers.

Also involved in the project are Boeing, GE Aviation, CFM international and UOP of Honeywell.

In another development, Japan Airlines announced it would be pioneering a demonstration flight using sustainable biofuel refined from the energy crop, camelina. This is planned for January 30, 2009 out of Haneda Airport, Tokyo.

For more details, visit, and

Margie T Logarta

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