Sustainable alternative fuels

The use of alternative fuels represents another step towards the air transport of the future. As biokerosene has a significantly lower net CO2 balance sheet value, it allows a sustainable reduction of emissions from flight operations. Following this approach, the conflict of objectives that arises from growing demand for mobility worldwide and finite resources of fossil fuels can be resolved. The Lufthansa Group undertook some pioneer work to this end in 2011, when it tested the use of biofuel in regular flight operations for about six months as a trial run in the context of the project “BurnFAIR – Potentials of alternative fuels in operational conditions”. The long-term trial was accompanied by detailed measurements of emissions as well as by research on production processes and biomass availability. The final report on burnFAIR is now available for download at aireg.de.

Long-term testing of biofuel

  • Long-term testing of biofuel
  • 15 July – 27 December 2011
  • Type of aircraft: Airbus A321
  • Share of biofuel: 50 percent, on one engine
  • Total investment: 6.6 million euros
  • Each liter of biofuel is produced to sustainable standards

Broad commitment

On 15 September 2014, the Lufthansa Group marked another milestone in its pioneering work in the testing of alternative fuels. The Lufthansa flight LH 190 from Frankfurt to Berlin Tegel was operated using a ten percent blend of the new biofuel component farnesan. This was the first scheduled flight in Europe to run on this fuel mix. The flight was preceded by a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg in autumn 2013 as part of the EU’s “Blending Study” project. The test showed that blending can improve fuel emission characteristics. 

In 2016, the Lufthansa Group refueled its aircraft at Oslo Airport with a fuel blend that contained 5 percent biokerosene. Air BP Aviation, the Norwegian airport operator Avinor and the biofuel specialist SkyNRG joined forces to offer jet biofuel to airlines serving Gardermoen Airport. For a period of one year, Air BP Aviation fed 1.25 million liters of sustainably produced and appropriately certified biofuel into the tanks at Oslo Airport. During this time, about 5,000 flights operated by the airlines of the Lufthansa Group flew on jet fuel blended with biokerosene. They included Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings and Brussels Airlines.

Strict criteria for alternative fuels

Gradually establishing an alternative fuel supply system is a step towards realizing the aviation industry’s climate protection goals. The Lufthansa Group sets the highest standards for the use of alternative fuels, however. Before we use plantderived fuel, for example, we must make sure that cultivation of the energy plants in question never ends up in competition with food production. An indispensable criterion for selecting suppliers is that their fuel must be produced in sustainable ways and certified accordingly. We accept certifications based on the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) or Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) standards. ISCC is the first government-recognized global certification system for sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions. The RSB standard places nearly the same requirements on biokerosene production, while its criteria are in part even stricter. Other conditions include a proven environmental benefit and adequate availability at an acceptable price.

System partners for fuel from alternative sources

The Lufthansa Group is a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) and the Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany (aireg e.V.).