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Boeing has completed a first flight using "green diesel," a sustainable biofuel that is widely available and used in ground transportation. The ecoDemonstrator 787 flies on sustainable fuel made from vegetable oil, waste animal fat.
The company powered its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane yesterday with a blend of 15 percent green diesel and 85 percent petroleum jet fuel in the left engine.Sustainable green diesel is made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and waste animal fats. Boeing previously found that this fuel is chemically similar to HEFA (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) aviation biofuel approved in 2011. Green diesel is chemically distinct and a different fuel product than "biodiesel," which also is used in ground transportation.With production capacity of 800 million gallons (3 billion liters) in the U.S., Europe and Asia, green diesel could rapidly supply as much as 1 percent of global jet fuel demand. With a wholesale cost of about $3 per gallon, inclusive of U.S. government incentives, green diesel approaches price parity with petroleum jet fuel.Green diesel is among more than 25 new technologies being tested by Boeing's ecoDemonstrator Program aboard 787 Dreamliner ZA004. The program accelerates the testing, refinement, and use of new technologies and methods that can improve aviation's environmental performance.On a lifecycle basis, sustainably produced green diesel reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 90 percent compared to fossil fuel, according to Finland-based Neste Oil, which supplied green diesel for the ecoDemonstrator 787. The flight test was coordinated with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, and EPIC Aviation blended the fuel.The Boeing 787 makes greater use of composite materials in its airframe and primary structure. The result is an airframe comprising nearly half carbon fiber reinforced plastic and other composites. This approach offers weight savings on average of 20 percent compared to more conventional aluminum designs. More information: www.boeing.com