Dutch airline KLM has begun powering some commercial flights on an eco-friendly fuel mix that includes 25% cooking oil and 75% jet fuel. The same oil that fried up your lunch might be powering your next flight to Europe.
Dutch airline KLM has begun powering some commercial flights on an eco-friendly fuel mix that includes 25% cooking oil and 75% jet fuel. The cooking oil-fuelled Boeing 777 flights will be tested on 25 roundtrip transatlantic flights between New York’s JFK and Amsterdam’s Schiphol every Thursday for the next six months.
The leftover waste oil comes from restaurants in the southern US state of Louisiana, where it’s used to fry up cracklins, catfish and other Cajun treats before being refined at a plant near Baton Rouge and trucked to New York to fuel the flights.
Though some say the fuel smells like fast food, the cooking oil is safe for powering jumbo jets and provides exactly the same flying experience. Even better, it reduces carbon emissions by up to 80%.
It’s indistinguishable on a molecular level from regular kerosene jet fuel, Captain Rick Shouten, who piloted the maiden flight last week, told the New York Post. “For pilots, it’s totally transparent. It’s as if you’re flying a normal aircraft.”
KLM has been offering biofuel-powered flights for years, with its first demonstration flight fuelled by a mix of 50% biofuel made from camelina (an oily member of the mustard family) in November 2009. And while the Dutch airline started regularly using recycled cooking oil on some commercial flights between Amsterdam and Paris in June 2011, this latest usage represents the first time biofuels will be used on a regular weekly schedule on transatlantic flights.