Skip to main content

Air Canada conducted its first flight using 50 percent cooking oil biofuel

If your future flights begin to smell like there are french fries cooking in the back room, don’t be alarmed. The trend in used cooking oil as biofuel is rising, and yesterday, Air Canada became the first airline to conduct a flight using a 50/50 part recycled oil and regular fuel to power an Airbus A319.

With the recycled biofuel mixture, the flight, departing from Toronto to Mexico, was expected to generate at least 40 percent fewer emissions than regular fuel. Other measures to help derive to the 40 percent savings number include reduced thrust during take-off, adjusted air conditioning, and optimized cruising, climbing, and descending speeds. From what we can assess, Air Canada flight AC991 departed Toronto and arrived at Mexico City without any problems, landing just three minutes after scheduled time despite the apparent rainy weather.

“[Yesterday’s] flight with Air Canada proves that the aviation industry is in a strong position to reduce emissions,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “To make this a day-to-day commercial reality, it requires now a political will to foster incentives to scale up the use of sustainable biofuels and to accelerate the modernization of the air-traffic-management system. We need a clear endorsement by governments and all aviation stakeholders to venture beyond today’s limitations.”

Air Canada aims to continue with its movement toward alternative fuel by expanding another green flight option for its Canada to Rio de Janeiro route. All parties involved with making the flight happened ensure the used cooking oil biofuel mixture has been recertified under normal jet fuel standards, therefore making it safe to power an average aircraft’s engine. This alternative fuel option may not be a foolproof way to reduce carbon emissions, but it is a big step toward greener technology since it will be impossible to stop people from traveling by air.

“Air Canada fully accepts its responsibility to reduce its footprint and our first flight using biofuel tangibly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the environment,” said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada. “Since 1990 our airline has become 30 percent more fuel efficient.” 

While the Air Canada flight proves to have successfully tested one of the largest recycled cooking oil biofuel blends to date, it certainly isn’t the first of its kind. Last November, Alaska Airlines also attempted its own alternative fuel flight, using a 20 percent cooking oil fuel mixture to power 75 flights. While the total impact of both Alaska Airlines and Air Canada may seem small, these successful runs could mean major airlines switching to greener diesel in the near future. It will also be interesting to see if scientists will ever find a way to make a 100 percent recycled biofuel blend safe and usable.

Image Credit: Airplane Pictures

Editors' Recommendations

Forget fossil fuel, an aquarium in Alaska is using salt water to heat its whole building
alaska sealife center heated with seawater img 4913 1  900x600

If Alaskans can use salt water to heat buildings, why can't you? Just set up a seawater and carbon dioxide loop, and you can heat without using fossil fuels, according to a release from the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC). Of course, it's not all that simple, yet. The ALSC system is the first of its kind and right now only cost effective for huge structures with nearby seawater. But maybe someday.

The system was designed by YourCleanEnergy, an Alaskan consulting and design firm. In addition to serving as an impressive alternate heating technology demonstration project, it saves money and emissions. According to the ASLC, the CO2 seawater system will provide 98 percent of the 120,000-square-foot facility's heat. It's estimated that compared to the previously used oil burners, the new system will save much as $15,000 a month and eliminate 1.24 million pounds of carbon emissions a year. That's a lot of money and a whole lot of carbon yuck not making it into the atmosphere.

Read more
The world’s first supersonic private jet will be ready to hit the skies in 2023
flexjet orders 20 aerion as2 supersonic private jets in flight mountains hr

Despite the well wishes of companies like Boeing and Airbus, innovation in the aviation industry has remained at a relative standstill, showing up more often in blueprints and patents than an actual prototypes on a physical runway. Though to the delight of deep-pocketed businessmen and women across the globe, a tangible breakthrough appears to be on the horizon.

Just this past week at the National Business Aviation Association's Convention & Exposition, private aviation firm Flexjet officially announced it placed a confirmed order of 20 AS2 supersonic jets from airplane manufacturer, Aerion. There is a catch, however; the jet has yet to actually be built. Under construction in partnership with Airbus, Aerion doesn't expect to even begin test flights of an AS2 until 2021, with a following introduction into service by 2023. So what makes this stand out from literally every other patent for a hyper speed jet?

Read more
Hate air travel? Then you should really hate climate change
thanks nasa the space agency just developed an app to shorten your flight time self healing airplane wing

If you deplane from a transoceanic flight thinking that you couldn't possibly handle another minute aboard the aircraft, we've got bad news for you. Thanks to climate change, air travel is taking longer, getting more expensive, and polluting more, contributing to a vicious cycle that will likely magnify all these negative effects as time goes on. According to scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Wisconsin Madison, shifts in the jet stream -- a name given to the high-altitude winds that blow from west to east -- are making planning efficient flight routes more and more difficult as things in the air get more unpredictable.

In their study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers examined the flight times of four major airlines on routes that took them between Honolulu and Los Angeles, Seattle-Tacoma, and San Francisco from 1995 to 2013. Ultimately, they concluded that fluctuations caused by two ocean-atmosphere phenomena, the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation, were responsible for nearly 90 percent of travel time variance. In total, 133 additional hours were added per year, averaging out to about a minute per flight.

Read more