Boeing has completed its first test flight of a 787 Dreamliner powered with a blend of 15 percent green diesel fuel.
Sustainable biofuels could eventually power commercial aircraft, if a Boeing test flight conducted on Wednesday proves to be a vision of the future. In a press release, the manufacturer announced the completion of a 787 Dreamliner test flight, during which the left engine was powered with a blend of 15 percent green diesel and 85 percent petroleum jet fuel. Boeing’s test marked the world’s first flight using green diesel.
Test pilots for Boeing report that the special Dreamliner flight performed “as designed” while fueled by the Green Diesel, putting the blend on par with regular jet fuel. The green diesel blend was produced by Nestle Oil and blended by EPIC Aviation.
“Green diesel offers a tremendous opportunity to make sustainable aviation biofuel more available and more affordable for our customers,” said Julie Felgar, managing director of Environmental Strategy and Integration at Boeing. “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.”
Green diesel differs from biodiesel, and the two are produced through different processes. The green diesel used in the successful test flight was made from waste oils and animal fats, and it is similar to HEFA aviation biofuel. According to Boeing, green diesel could be produced for nearly the same cost as petroleum-based jet fuels, and given the current production capacity of 800 million gallons in the U.S., Europe and Asia, it could supply up to 1 percent of global jet fuel demand.
The test flight was part of Boeing’s larger ecoDemonstrator Program, which explores ways to improve environmental sustainability in the aviation industry. The program is currently accelerating research and development of more than 25 new eco-friendly technologies.