In a milestone Saturday for sustainable aviation, China became the latest nation to transport passengers on a commercial airline flight powered by used cooking oil.
Hainan Airlines and its partners, including Boeing, achieved the milestone using a mixture of 50% conventional jet fuel and 50% biofuel derived from oil used by restaurants.
Airlines in the Netherlands, Brazil, and Scandinavia have also flown commercial flights powered by bio-fuel made from used cooking oil.
Hainan Airlines vice president Pu Ming even piloted the plane.
“We are honored to see our airplane fly on sustainable aviation biofuel from Shanghai to our nation’s capital,” said Ming. “Hainan Airlines is demonstrating our environmental commitment by showing that aviation biofuel can play a safe and effective role in China’s air transport system.”
Sustainably produced biofuel, which reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum through its lifecycle, is expected to play a key role in supporting aviation’s growth while meeting environmental goals.
In 2011, Boeing collaborated with Air China to conduct China’s first aviation biofuel test flight in a Boeing 747-400 using biofuel made from locally-grown jatropha.
Boeing also works with airlines, research institutions, and governments to develop sustainable aviation biofuel in the United States, Africa, Australia, Brazil, Europe, Japan and the Middle East.