Air China Completes First Test Flight Using Biofuel

Air China Ltd. conducted its first trial flight on Fridayof a passenger plane powered by a 50:50 mix of biofuel and traditional aviation fuel, UOP LLC, a Honeywell company (HON), said Friday.

The biofuel used in the trial flight was produced by UOP and PetroChina Co.  from the seeds of tung trees, more widely known as jatropha.

The Air China Boeing 747-400 landed safely at Beijing airport after it burned more than 10 metric tons of biofuel, and after the test, Zhang Hongying, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said the fuel was now ready to be used for commercial flights, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The flight is a result of a broader effort kicked-off in 2010 by China’s National Energy Administration and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to address the technical, economic and institutional factors required for the development of a new biofuels industry in China,” UOP said in a statement.

Shen Diancheng, a vice president of PetroChina, said it had taken PetroChina 10 years to overcome the technical barriers of converting the oil extracted from the seeds to fuel that could power airplanes, and that his company is expected to supply 60,000 tons of the fuel annually by 2014.

Boeing first tested a biofuel on a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 jet in early 2008 in London.

Thanks to Fox Business (www.foxbusiness.com)

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