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Qantas experiments with mustard seed biofuel on LA-Melbourne flight

Qantas experiments with mustard seed biofuel on LA-Melbourne flight

On Tuesday morning, a flight from Los Angeles landed in Melbourne and made history as the first biofuel-powered flight between the us and Australia.

The trans-Pacific flight lasted about 15 hours and used about 24,000kg of blended biofuel made with a type of inedible mustard seed called Brassica carinata, according to Qantas.

A successful flight will mark a milestone in the search for sustainable biofuel that is compatible with standard jet fuel and can be produced in sufficient volumes to meet worldwide demand of more than 600,000 tonnes a day.

Though there's is nothing novel about the almost 8,000-mile (12,700-kilometre) transpacific route, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner got from A to B using about 10 per cent less conventional jet fuel than any comparable aircraft before it-thanks to a Canadian company that produces usable biofuel derived from a type of mustard seed.

The flight was part of the airline's plans to power its Los Angeles-based aircraft with biofuel from 2020.

The blend used on the flight is expected to decrease emissions along the route by 7 per cent. Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said at the launch that the Dreamliner is the flawless aircraft to showcase the future of sustainable aviation, as it heralds a new era of innovation and travel. The ten percent biofuel blend used on the flight will therefore see a seven percent reduction in emissions on this route compared to normal operations.

Former NBA player Rasual Butler, wife Leah LaBelle die in auto crash
During his time in the league, he suited up for eight different teams and spent the most time with the then-New Orleans Hornets. The 38-year-old Butler lost control of his Range Rover, hit a parking meter and then a wall before the vehicle itself flipped.

Carinata requires no specialized production or processing techniques, Qantas said.

Field trials conducted by the University of Queensland demonstrated the seed should do well in the Australian climate. The seed can be grown by farmers in between regular crop cycles. As a rotational crop, it can improve soil quality, reduce erosion and provide farmers with additional income.

"We are excited about the potential of the crop in Australia and look forward to working with local farmers and Qantas to develop a clean energy source for the local aviation industry".

One hectare of the seed yields 2,000 liters, around 528 gallons, of oil, according to Qantas.

"Fuel for the flight was produced by AltAir Paramount LLC using Honeywell UOP´s Renewable Jet Fuelâ"¢ process technology, which converts non-edible animal fats and oils into renewable fuels.

Qantas Pilots are using a world first flight data application, FlightPulse, which provides industry leading access to the efficiency of their flights and helps them fly more efficiently.


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