About a year back, Boeing stated that it was working on coming up with a mixture of ‘green diesel’ and jet fuel to power the airliners. Green diesel is created from waste cooking oil, vegetable oils and waste animal fats. The company has executed the plan and flew the ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane in Seattle on green diesel.
Green diesel has to be used in a blend with other fuels and bears a high initial cost. However, the good part is that it can be created in the current petro-diesel refineries while giving off the by-product called propane, which is quite valuable too.
The plane’s left engine used a mix that contained 15% of green diesel while the remaining 85% was the petroleum jet fuel. Boeing’s captain, Mike Carriker, said, “The airplane performed as designed with the green diesel blend, just as it does with conventional jet fuel. This is exactly what we want to see in flight tests with a new type of fuel.”
The green diesel for the test flight was provided by Neste Oil – a Finnish company. It claims that if you are considering a lifecycle based green diesel, produced at a sustainable rate, the emissions of carbon shall be 50-90% less as compared with petro-diesel. Boeing has produced a cooking-oil-to-biofuel plant located in China and is growing tobacco that is rich in oil in South Africa. These steps have been taken to provide for a feedstock that is sustainable and can be used for green diesel production.