Sustainable alternative fuels

The use of sustainable alternative fuels represents another step towards the air transport of the future. As it 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.

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.

On 14 February 2019, Deutsche Lufthansa AG signed a letter of intent with Raffinerie Heide (Heide refinery) for the production and use of environmentally friendly synthetic kerosene. This is to be developed and produced by using surplus regionally generated wind energy in the KEROSyN100 research project under the direction of the University of Bremen with the Heide refinery and five other partners from science and industry.

Strict criteria for alternative fuels

The Lufthansa Group is intensively involved in various research institutions and industry associations and is constantly in touch with further developments on the subject of alternative fuels. Before the aircraft of the Group airlines can use alternative fuels, a number of basic requirements must be fulfilled. They include above all reliable quality specifications, sustainability in production and along the supply chain, and economic efficiency, of course.

System partners for fuel from alternative sources

The Lufthansa Group is a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG).