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Approval in place since summer 2011: flying on biokerosene, a mixture of kerosene and biofuel. KLM will be starting with 200 flights between Amsterdam and Paris. This represents another important step in aviation sustainability. The aircraft fly on a mixture of 50% kerosene and 50% biofuel produced from used cooking oil.
 

Biofuel is just as safe

Biofuel complies with the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene. It is therefore just as safe and the aircraft engines and airport infrastructure do not need to be modified.

Before any airline can operate flights using a new fuel type, the production process and fuel specifications must be certified, thus guaranteeing responsible, safe flight. ASTM International approved the process in June 2011.

Biofuel development

KLM has been contributing towards the development of sustainable biofuel since 2007. The World Wide Fund for Nature in the Netherlands (Wereld Natuur Fonds – WNF) has been involved from the start and contributes advice on topics such as ecological sustainability.

Operated using a mixture of fossil fuel and biofuel, the demonstration flight above the Netherlands in November 2009 was a significant milestone. During this very first ‘bioflight’ operated by KLM, technical data was gathered and put to good use by ASTM.

How sustainable is biofuel?

KLM is open to using different raw materials for the end product, as long as they meet a range of sustainability criteria, including substantial reductions in CO2 emissions and minimum negative impact on biodiversity and food supply.

Technical breakthroughs on solar or battery-powered aircraft are not expected in the medium to short term. Biofuel is therefore the best alternative to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions. The bioflight operated in 2009 generated an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Where does the biofuel come from?

US-based Dynamic Fuels is one of the few companies in the world that can produce biokerosene from fats and oils. As mentioned, used cooking oil can be used for this purpose. On the road to more sustainable flight, we are studying different options and raw materials to be used to produce biokerosene. The biokerosene developed so far constitutes a significant step forward in this process.

Future use of biofuel

Biofuel is very expensive due to the absence of a market at present and the high cost of raw materials. Ultimately, once demand begins to grow, the price of sustainable biofuels will fall. Now that biofuel has been certified, KLM hopes that an increasing number of carriers will follow its example.