Hainan Airlines on Saturday made China’s first commercial flight using a biofuel derived from waste cooking oil collected from restaurants.
According to Xinhua News, a Boeing 737 belonging to Hainan Airlines flew from Shanghai to Beijing using a 50-50 mix of conventional jet fuel and biofuel supplied by China National Aviation Fuel company and state-owned energy giant Sinopec.
The flight took off from Hongqiao Airport at 8:20 a.m. carrying 156 passengers and eight crew members, landing at Beijing Capital Airport two and a half hours later.
The flight is seen as a step forward for the Chinese government, which is keen to promote greater environment sustainability, and also good publicity for Sinopec, which was criticized in the recent environmental documentary “Under the Dome” by Chai Jing.
In a statement, Sinopec said “This fully represents an earnest commitment from Sinopec to continuously advance scientific and technological innovation, and promote green and low-emission development.”
The world’s first flight powered entirely by biofuel took place in 2012 when a plane took off from the Canadian capital Ottawa, but several airlines have used biofuels mixed with traditional petroleum-based jet fuel to power commercial flights, including Australia’s Qantas and Air Canada.
Used cooking oil, known as “gutter oil” in Chinese, has been the target of numerous media exposes about how the waste product sometimes ends up being reused illegally for human consumption.
By Dominic Jackson
[Images via Xinhua]