Test flight is first to use “green diesel” as aviation biofuel

December 03, 2014 in Our Environment

Boeing has completed the world’s first flight using “green diesel,” a sustainable biofuel that is widely available and used in ground transportation.

The company powered its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight-test airplane Tuesday with a blend of 15 percent green diesel and 85 percent petroleum jet fuel in the left engine.

“Green diesel offers a tremendous opportunity to make sustainable aviation biofuel more available and more affordable for our customers,” said Julie Felgar, Commercial Airplanes managing director of Environmental Strategy and Integration. “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.”

Sustainable green diesel has been made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and waste animal fats. Boeing previously found that the fuel is chemically similar to HEFA — hydro-processed esters and fatty acids — aviation biofuel, which was approved in 2011.

Boeing completed the world's first flight using "green diesel,"" a sustainable biofuel that is widely available and used in ground transportation. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator 787 flight-test airplane was fueled with a blend of 15% green diesel and 85% petroleum jet fuel in its left engine.

Debbie Hanford photo

The food packaged by the Boeing volunteers represents a new extension to the Three Squares backpack program run by Northwest Harvest. Normally, the nonprofit food bank program sends kids home with nutritious, easy-to-prepare, single-serving food to help them through the weekends. But when Boeing learned there was no funding to send larger backpacks home over the two-week winter break, a new contribution was made to extend the program. The volunteers made sure food purchased by the additional funding would get to 6,500 kids in time.

“I just don’t want others to go hungry,” said volunteer Theresa Ast, who works in 737 Business Operations. “I feel fortunate to have food on my table when others go without.”

Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner agrees, which is why he made certain the contribution was made in time to help children this holiday season.

The ecoDemonstrator 787 takes off from Boeing Field for its first "green diesel" test flight.

Debbie Hanford photo

“Boeing is committed to giving back to the communities where our employees live and work,” Conner said. “We feel honored to be able to help Northwest Harvest fill this gap in services for low-income students who rely on school and summer meal programs and often have a tough time during these longer school breaks. No child should go hungry, especially during the holidays.”

Shelley Rotondo, CEO of Northwest Harvest, said she is thrilled that Boeing and its employees are making a real difference.

“I’m so delighted that thanks to The Boeing Company, Northwest Harvest and its partners, this holiday season so many children can now wonder about what’s under the tree instead of what there is to eat,” Rotondo said.

By Deborah Feldman