Brazilian airline TAM is to carry out a non-commercial flight powered by a mixture of biofuel and conventional aviation fuel later this year.
The demonstration will take place in the second half of 2010, using a 50-50 mix of biomass from the jatropha plant, and conventional aviation kerosene. TAM says that the biomass used in the demonstration flight will be 100 per cent Brazilian, with the jatopha seeds sourced from producers in the north, southeast and centre west of the country, and processed by Honeywell-owned refining company UOP.
The carrier says that there are currently 60,000 hectares of land in Brazil with jatropha plantations, but adds that to “attain a commercial scale of output, estimates suggest that it would be necessary to expand the cultivated surface to about one million hectares”.
TAM says that research carried out by Michigan Technological University in conjunction with Honeywell’s UOP show that “aviation biofuels made from jatropha and using the UOP Green Jet Fuel process, can achieve a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of between 65 and 80 percent relative to petroleum-derived jet fuel”.
Report by Mark Caswell