Finnair and Lufthansa will begin flights powered by a mixture of biofuel produced from renewable sources and conventional fossil fuel, produced by the Finnish company Neste Oil. Finnair is planning to start using the new fuel on a significant proportion of its flights, as soon as it passes certification in spring 2011.
The biofuel can utilise sources like logging waste and lard as its raw material. Airlines have demanded that the new fuel should not contain palm oil, which has been linked to rain forest destruction. According to Neste Oil CEO Matti Leivonen , being a pioneer in this area is very positive for Neste Oil and could open up major business opportunities in the future.
According to Neste Oil, aviation fuel needs to have a high energy content and be capable of dealing with the very cold temperatures found at the altitudes aircraft travel. As a pure hydrocarbon with a chemical composition identical to that of conventional jet fuel, Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable jet fuel meets all these requirements.
Under a target agreed by the member airlines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), future growth of aviation will be carbon-free from 2020, which will require the large-scale adoption of renewable fuels. Flights to and from EU destinations will be included in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012 onwards. Airlines will then be required either to offset their emissions using emission certificates or use renewable fuels.
Sources: Neste Oil, YLE