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Nation conducts its first jet biofuel trial

(China Daily)

14:49, October 30, 2011

A Boeing 747 about to be filled with a biofuel blend at the Beijing Capital International Airport on Friday. Jing Lei / for China Daily

BEIJING - China conducted its first demonstration flight powered partly by a biofuel on Friday, possibly paving the way for future biofuel use on commercial flights in the country.

The one-hour trial used 13.1 tons of biofuel blend - half conventional jet fuel and half China-grown, jatropha-based biofuel - to power one of four engines on an Air China 747-400 jet.

Each of the jet's other three engines was powered by conventional jet fuel to guarantee safety, said Li Jun, an expert with Air China.

The plane took off from Beijing Capital International Airport at 8:32 am and returned at 9:30 am. Six performance tests were conducted at various altitudes, with the highest at 11,900 meters.

"Everything went smoothly," Zheng Weimin, the captain of the flight, said. "I detected no obvious difference in engines powered by the biofuel blend and conventional jet fuel."

The trial was part of a Sino-US energy cooperation program and marked a milestone in the two countries' joint efforts regarding biofuel and high technology, said William Zarit, minister counselor for commercial affairs at the US embassy.

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