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Boeing’s specially outfitted 787 ecoDemonstrator flight test aircraft has completed its first flight using “green diesel,” a sustainable biofuel blended 15 per cent with 85 per cent conventional petroleum.

Green diesel is made from vegetable oil, cooking oil waste and animal fat waste, which eliminate indirect land-use consequences associated with biofuels made from feedstocks. The fuel was found to be similar to the HEFA (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) aviation biofuel approved for use in 2011. The United States, Europe and Asia together have capacity to produce 3 billion litres of green diesel, with the potential to supply up to 1 per cent of global fuel demand near price parity for conventional fuel.

“Green diesel offers a tremendous opportunity to make sustainable aviation biofuel more available and more affordable for our customers,” says Boeing  managing director of environmental strategy and integration Julie Felgar. “We will provide data from several ecoDemonstrator flights to support efforts to approve this fuel for commercial aviation and help meet our industry’s environmental goals.”

Sustainably produced green diesel reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 90 percent compared to fossil fuel, according to Finland-based Neste Oil, which supplied green diesel for the ecoDemonstrator 787. On the EU policy side, Boeing continues to advocate for policy measures that can support aviation biofuels development and commercialisation.

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