LAN Chile, Air BP Copec operate first South American biofuels flight

March 8, 2012 |

In Chile, Netherlands-based SkyNRG has supplied LAN Chile and Air BP Copec for its first commercial flight with second generation jet fuel. The flight, which operated between the Chilean cities of Santiago and Concepcion, was conducted on an Airbus from the A320 family with CFM56-5B motors.  The fuel came from used cooking oil.

The flight ended with an event held in the city of Concepcion, which was attended by Government and local authorities, and also by LAN and Air BP Copec executives.

Executive Vice President of LAN, Enrique Cueto said: “This flight represents a key step towards the future of the industry. At LAN we aim to develop sustainable biofuels for commercial aircraft with a high production potential in South America. Currently, these renewable energy sources play a significant role in global aviation and will affect, increasingly, decision-making in the industry and our company. We want to be pioneers in the use of renewable fuels in South America. ”

In turn, Lorenzo Gazmuri, general manager of Air BP Copec, emphasized the importance that this landmark has for the regional aviation and energy industries: “This is the result of intense work for over a year, a materialization of the ongoing commitment of Copec to developing and promoting new and innovative energy solutions. We hope that in Chile and the region, the desire to promote this alternative will continue to increase and place it competitively in the market of aviation fuels in order to meet the requirements of an increasingly more demanding society in terms of sustainability.”

What are they and what is the technical reliability of biofuels?

The biofuels used in these flights can be obtained from plants such as algae, jatropha, camelina and halophytes, or organic waste such as vegetable oils, which can be processed, burned directly or converted by chemical processes to make high quality fuel.

These are known as second generation biofuels. They come primarily from sustainable raw materials, which in production do not compete with food sources or basic resources (limited resources), which is key in the care of our planet.

For aviation, biofuel meets the strict technical standards required to fly, and has the same characteristics as the regular fuel used on flights. In addition, this source has already been tested successfully by other airlines in the world, showing the same reliability as aviation kerosene on both test and commercial flights.

Using second generation biofuel in flight significantly decreases emissions of greenhouse gases, as no additional C02 is emitted into the atmosphere.

The environmental manager of LAN, Enrique Guzman, said the environmental contribution would bring the use of renewable energy in aviation, would be significant: “Traditional aviation fuel comes from oil and when used on the plane releases C02. In the case of using biofuel, the CO2 released is almost the same amount that was captured by the crop during its growth, meaning that no additional CO2 is released into the atmosphere”, explained Guzman.

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Category: Fuels

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