BY ELIZABETH FABRI
QANTAS has completed a world-first dedicated biofuel flight between the United States and Australia using thousands of kilograms of an industrial type of mustard seed.
The 15-hour Dreamliner 787-9 flight between Los Angeles and Melbourne was powered using 24,000kg of blended biofuel, processed from Brassica Carinata, a non-food mustard seed developed by Canadian-based Agrisoma Biosciences.
The 10 per cent biofuel blend resulted in a seven per cent reduction in emissions compared to traditional jet fuel, or 18,000kg reduction in carbon emissions.
The project is part of a partnership between Qantas, Agrisoma Biosciences and Australian farmers formed in late 2017 to produce the country’s first aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.
Qantas International chief executive Alison Webster said the partnership marked a big step in the development of a renewable jetfuel industry in Australia.
“It is a project we are really proud to be part of as we look at ways to reduce carbon emissions across our operations,” Ms Webster said.
Agrisoma chief executive Steve Fabijanski said biofuel produced from Carinata provides a large number of benefits.
“Biojet fuel made from Carinata delivers both oil for biofuel and protein for animal nutrition while also enhancing the soil it’s grown in,” Mr Fabijanski said.
“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.”
The project follows Qantas and Jetstar biofuel trial flights in 2012 between Sydney and Adelaide, and Melbourne and Hobart respectively, using a combination of cooking oil and conventional jet fuel.
Virgin Australia has also been involved in biofuel initiatives, announcing in October last year that it will trial a sustainable aviation fuel through Brisbane Airport’s fuel supply system.