The world’s first dedicated biofuel flight between the United States and Australia, QF96 from Los Angeles to Melbourne, is set to depart later today.
The historic trans-Pacific 15 hour flight will operate with approximately 24,000kg of blended biofuel, saving 18,000kg in carbon emissions.
Qantas will use biofuel processed from Brassica Carinata, a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed, developed by Canadian-based agricultural-technology company, Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma).
The flight is part of the partnership announced in 2017 which will also see the companies work with Australian farmers to grow the country’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.
Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said it was fitting that the airline’s game-changing Dreamliner 787-9 will showcase the future of sustainable aviation.
“The Qantas Dreamliner marks an exciting new era of innovation and travel. The aircraft is more fuel efficient and generates fewer greenhouse emissions than similarly sized-aircraft and today’s flight will see a further reduction on this route.
“Our partnership with Agrisoma marks 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.”
Across its lifecycle, using Carinata-derived biofuel can reduce carbon emissions by eighty percent compared to traditional jet fuel.
The ten percent biofuel blend used on today’s flight will therefore see a seven percent reduction in emissions on this route compared to normal operations.
Carinita requires no specialised production or processing techniques. It is water efficient and The University of Queensland field trials in Gatton, Queensland, and in Bordertown, South Australia, have demonstrated it should do very well in the Australian climate.
It is sown in either fallow areas where food crops fail or in between regular crop cycles, known as “cover cropping”. Rotational or break-crops can improve soil quality, reduce erosion for food crops and provide farmers with additional income.
Agrisoma CEO, Steve Fabijanski, said biofuel produced from Carinata provides wide ranging benefits.
“Biojet fuel made from Carinata delivers both oil for biofuel and protein for animal nutrition while also enhancing the soil its grown in.
“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.”
Qantas’ first trans-Pacific biofuel flight was made possible with the support of AltAir Fuels and World Fuel Services.
QF96 will depart LAX on Sunday, 28th January and arrive in Melbourne on 30th January (local time).
Note to editors:
In 2012 Qantas and Jetstar operated Australia’s first biofuel trial flights. Qantas’ A330 Sydney-Adelaide return service and Jetstar’s A320 Melbourne-Hobart return service were both powered with biofuel derived from used cooking oil (split with 50:50 convential jet fuel) certified for use in commercial aviation.
- Carinata produces high quality oil, ideal for aviation biofuel, bio-jet for aircraft and bio-diesel for airport vehicles. It is a ‘drop-in’ crop and requires no specialised production or processing techniques.
- It is sown in either fallow areas where food crops fail or in between regular crop cycles, known as “cover cropping”. Rotational or break-crops improvessoil quality, reduces erosion for food crops and provides farmers with additional annual income.
- Carinata-based fuel offers a more than 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in comparison to standard petroleum based fuel.
- The crushed Carinata seed produces a high-quality, high-protein, non-GMO meal for the Australian livestock, dairy and poultry market.
- One hectare of Carinata seed yields 2,000 litres of oil, which produces 400 litres of biofuel, 1,400 litres of renewable diesel and 10% renewable by-products.
Other ways Qantas is reducing carbon emissions across its operations
- The 787 uses up to 20 per cent less fuel than other traditional aircraft of its size. Over the next two years Qantas’ Dreamliners will be replacing some of the the older 747 aircraft in its fleet.
- Across its network, Qantas is creating more efficient flight paths based on factors such as forecast winds and employs Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedures (DARP) which allows for multiple inflight adjustments to the flight path based on updated meteorological conditions.
- Qantas Pilots are using a world first flight data application, FlightPulse, which provides industry leading access to the efficiency of their flights and helps them fly more efficiently.
- In 2007, we introduced the Qantas Future Planet program, which, together with our passengers, has offset more than 3.0 million tonnes of carbon emissions, making the Qantas carbon offset program the world’s largest airline offset program.
 Based on current Agrisoma commercial operations in the USA, South America and Europe.