In April 2011, Lufthansa is to begin a six-month trial with an Airbus A321 on scheduled commercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route. Pending certification, one of the aircraft’s engines will use a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional kerosene. The primary purpose of the project is to conduct a long-term trial to study the effect of biofuel on engine maintenance and engine life.
During the six-month trial, Lufthansa will save around 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, said Lufthansa chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber in Berlin. “Lufthansa will be the world’s first airline to utilise biofuel in flight operations within the framework of a long-term trial. This is a further consistent step in a proven sustainability strategy, which Lufthansa has for many years successfully pursued and implemented,” said Mayrhuber.
Peter Hintze, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, said: “With its aviation research programme (LUFO), the [German] Federal Government is supporting the German aviation industry in its efforts to master the technological challenges of establishing a safe and sustainable air traffic system. That backing is afforded within internationally comparable framework conditions.
“About 77 per cent of LUFO funding is directly or indirectly related to the environment and sustainability. Only an integrated research approach of the like practised in research networks, above and beyond the classical discrete disciplines, offers the chance of achieving the ambitious climate protection objectives by 2020 and, simultaneously, safeguarding the technological competitiveness of the German aviation industry.”
The ‘burnFAIR’ project dedicated to the testing of biofuel, unveiled by Lufthansa, is a successful example of integrating research efforts for the purpose of realising climate care objectives. This project is part of an overall “FAIR” initiative (Future Aircraft Research), in which other issues – alongside biofuel compatibility – such as new engine and aircraft concepts or other fuels, e.g. liquefied natural gas (LNG) are under study. The German government is contributing a total of five million euros towards the ‘FAIR’ initiative, and of the total 2.5 million euros is earmarked for the Lufthansa ‘burnFAIR’ project.