Air China performs biofuel 747-400 test flight

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Air China has carried out China's first sustainable biofuel flight, using a Boeing 747-400 powered by jatropha feedstock.

The aircraft operated from Beijing Capital airport using a fuel developed by a US-Chinese co-operation between PetroChina and Honeywell UOP.

Air China said PetroChina used jatropha crude oil and transformed it into aviation fuel with UOP's technological processes.

This was blended 50:50 with regular aviation fuel by China Aviation Oil to produce a product meeting regulatory standards. Boeing and Pratt & Whitney provided airframe and engine support.

"Aviation biofuel can work after being directly mixed with traditional fossil-fuel," said Air China. "Neither aircraft nor engine needs to be refit, and neither storage nor transportation facility needs to be built or rebuilt."

Air China added that its crew carried out "elaborate preparation" before the test flight, studying the differences in the blended fuel compared with normal aviation fuel. "All of this contributed important information for the success of the test flight," it said.