Toronto based Air Canada has fueled a flight from Toronto to Mexico with a 50/50 mix of traditional jet fuel and processed vegetable oil. According to Mail Online, the flight produced forty percent fewer emissions than a plane flying on traditional jet fuel, which is made mostly of a kerosene mixture. Digital Trends says Air Canada has been a leader in the biofuel movement for the past decade, and has worked extensively with Airbus, maker of the plane (an Airbus A319) that has been reporting for some time that its planes were fully capable of flying with jet fuel made from vegetable and other biofuels. GizMag reports that other airlines in Europe have also been experimenting with powering their jets with biofuels. They also note that the biofuel used by the Air Canada flight was produced by the Dutch company Dutch firm SkyNRG., further highlighting the fact that Europe is taking a leading role in converting from traditional jet fuel, to fuels made from biodegradable materials, such as vegetable oil.
Mail Online reports that the Air Canada flight was part of a larger environmental demonstration being carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organization. It also comes just before the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. In speaking with Online, Duncan Dee, Air Canada’s chief operating officer said that Air Canada is dedicated to moving non-renewable resources as a source of jet fuel towards a future that will see far less pollution emitted into the skies as the result of airline flights.
Digital Trends says that Air Canada has already committed itself to making regular flights to Rio de Janeiro beginning in the next few months, with 505/50 fuel mixtures, which it says will likely pave the way for other North American airline operators to start doing the same.
GizMag says that in addition to adding vegetable oil to its jet fuel mix, Air Canada also added other energy reducing procedures to its flight process, such as waxing the fuselage to reduce drag, performing a special engine wash, using just one engine when taxiing and reducing thrust on take-off; all measures taken to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. As part of that initiative the airline has also taken steps to reduce the weight of plane, such as installing lighter weight carpeting, removing containers in the planes belly that are not being used and replacing bulky and heavy paperwork with iPads.
Digital Trends notes that most biofuels are corn based, though most makers of the fuel are looking for other alternatives as the price of corn has risen dramatically in recent years, and its use as a fuel has led to less being available for consumption.