British Airways hopes to complete its alternative fuel study by early next year and has pledged to make the results public in a bid to speed up the industry's knowledge about sustainable jet fuel substitutes.

BA has teamed up with Rolls-Royce to launch a scientific test programme investigating the viability of alternatives. BA chief executive Willie Walsh says the partnership will select up to four alternative fuels, with each supplier asked to provide up to 60,000 litres (15,800USgal) for testing on one of the UK airline's RB211 engines at the UK engine-maker's Derby base.

After preliminary laboratory tests, the performance of each fuel in powering the RB211 will be intensively monitored through the engine's full range of power settings and corresponding flight phases.

"We hope to have the results of the study by early next year and we will make them public so the whole industry can benefit," says Walsh, adding that a key criterion would be a fuel candidate that would offer lower emissions and whose feedstock had the potential for large-scale cultivation without damaging food, land or water.

Source: Flight International