Joining a rising trend amongst airlines to offset rising costs of fuel, UK aerospace major Rolls-Royce and flag carrier British Airways yesterday announced the start of an alternative fuel test programme that "will seek to identify practical alternatives to the current industry-standard fuel kerosene."
Both these companies will initiate a joint tender process that will invite suppliers to offer samples for testing on a Rolls-Royce RB211 engine used to power a British Airways 747. Rolls Royce said it will carry out the tests on an indoor engine testbed at its facility in Derby.
According to plan, both the companies intend to select up to four alternative fuels for testing, with each supplier expected to supply up to 60,000 litres. "In each case, the engine will be operated through its full range of power settings including idle, acceleration, takeoff and cruise," Rolls Royce said.
The testing phase is expected to be complete by the end of March 2009.
British Airways now joins other carriers, such as Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines and JetBlue Airways, which have committed to test biofuels.
Virgin Atlantic Airways is the only airline to have actually carried out a biofuel demonstration flight.