Qantas claims world-first US-Australia biofuel flight

Qantas claims world-first US-Australia biofuel flight

Qantas has conducted what it says was the world’s first dedicated biofuel flight between the United States and Australia, QF96 from Los Angeles to Melbourne, on 29 January.

The historic trans-Pacific 15 hour flight operated with approximately 24,000kg of blended biofuel, saving 18,000kg in carbon emissions.

Qantas used biofuel processed from Brassica Carinata, a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed, developed by Canadian-based agricultural-technology company, Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma).

The flight was part of the partnership announced in 2017, which will also see the companies work with Australian farmers to grow the country’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.

Across its lifecycle, using Carinata-derived biofuel can reduce carbon emissions by eighty per cent compared to traditional jet fuel.

The ten per cent biofuel blend used on the flight would therefore have seen a seven per cent reduction in emissions on this route, compared to normal operations.

Carinita requires no specialised production or processing techniques. It is water efficient and The University of Queensland field trials in Gatton, Queensland, and in Bordertown, South Australia, have demonstrated it should do very well in the Australian climate.

It is sown in either fallow areas where food crops fail or in between regular crop cycles, known as ‘cover cropping’.  Rotational or break-crops can improve soil quality, reduce erosion for food crops and provide farmers with additional income.

Qantas’ first trans-Pacific biofuel flight was made possible with the support of AltAir Fuels and World Fuel Services.

What is Carinata?

Carinata produces high quality oil, ideal for aviation biofuel, bio-jet for aircraft and bio-diesel for airport vehicles. It is a ‘drop-in’ crop and requires no specialised production or processing techniques.

Carinata-based fuel offers a more than 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in comparison to standard petroleum based fuel.

The crushed Carinata seed produces a high-quality, high-protein, non-GMO meal for the Australian livestock, dairy and poultry market.

One hectare of Carinata seed yields 2,000 litres of oil, which produces 400 litres of biofuel, 1,400 litres of renewable diesel and 10% renewable by-products.

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