Kenya Airways (KQ) on Thursday flagged off its maiden flight running on biofuel made by Italian energy firm Eni as the carrier tests sustainable aviation fuel.
The Boeing 787-800 (B787-8) Dreamliner that took off from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is powered by jet fuel mixed with biofuel manufactured by Eni.
The flight marks the latest push for a shift to low-emission fuels in the aviation sector to combat climate change.
“The data and insights generated from the pilot flight will be valuable to inform policy decisions, regulatory frameworks, and industry best practices related to Sustainable Aviation Fuel,” Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said.
Airbus last year conducted the first-ever flight of its giant A380 jumbo jet using 100 percent biofuel and the shift by the global aviation sector is gathering pace.
Boeing— the world’s biggest aerospace company— has set an ambitious target of delivering commercial jets that run 100 percent on biofuel by 2030 in a bid to significantly cut carbon emissions.
Data from the Air Transport Action Group shows that commercial flights currently account for about 12 percent of the global carbon emissions from the transport sector, offering a glimpse into the huge gains from a shift to clean fuels.
The Eni biofuel fuel is mixed jet fuel on a 50-50 basis for use in the aviation industry and the Italian firm says that it will produce more than 200,000 tonnes of biojet per year at its refineries in Venice and Eni.
“The supply of Eni bio jet to Nairobi Airport is an important step for Eni Sustainable Mobility because it confirms that the company can support airlines such as Kenya Airways in their path towards decarbonisation,” Stefano Ballista, CEO of Eni Sustainable Mobility said on Thursday.
Eni is producing the oil in its Makueni pressing plant that was opened in July last year to process castor, croton and cotton seed
Biofuels are composed of biodegradable materials such as vegetable oils and are mixed with fuels such as diesel to cut pollution levels.
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