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Air France To Start Used Cooking Oil-Fueled Flights

Air France jet

In airline biofuel news, more than 200 flights within Europe are expected to fly by burning used cooking oil. The Air France-KLM flights, running between Amsterdam and Paris, will run on a blend of kerosene and cooking oil.

Dynamic Fuels is the company producing the fuel, refining and processing it to meet European technical and cleanliness standards. The jet engines apparently require no modifications in order to process and efficiently use the fuel.

The company also claims it can use animal fat, vegetable oil or tall oil (which is a pine wood processing byproduct) to create cleaner fuel. These efforts are part of The International Air Transport Association’s goal of completely eliminating carbon dioxide from air travel by 2050.

While the use of used cooking oil sounds like a great idea, there are some concerns that make the mass-adoption of a wider array of biofuels a contentious subject. Some environmental groups believe the production of large quantities of various biofuels will lead to further destruction of rainforests and other natural resources. Producing additional crops to create biofuels could decrease the availability of land for food crops, raising world food prices and driving poverty.

If this is potentially a vicious cycle that could keep air travel negatively impacting the environment and economy, what other alternative are there? One solution could be to add more high speed rail networks throughout various countries. Traveling state-to-state in the US, or country to country in Europe, and throughout Asia, via high-speed rail networks could significantly cut down on air travel; but even then, these networks would need to use clean power in order to make a smaller environmental impact.

On the face of it, biofuels may cut down on direct emissions in the air travel industry, but it seems the situation is a lot more complicated.

Image CC licensed by Oneras: Air France

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