The airline aims to reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions fleet-wide, although some environmentalists are sceptical. A few showed up at the Hamburg airport to protest.
“The use of biofuel in the aviation sector to reduce CO2 emissions is an ecological sham,” said Werner Reh, of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).
In a statement, Reh complained that plans such as Lufthansa’s will just result in the mass expansion of crop cultivation necessary to create the biofuel mixture, leading to “worldwide destruction of forests, loss of biodiversity and competition for food.”
Biofuels have come under major criticism because mass cultivation in the developing world takes up space other plants and animals could be using or where food could be grown. Also, shorter flights are worse for the environment than taking the train.
Lufthansa said the aircraft will fly the route four times per day over the next six months. Scientific data will be compiled and technicians will examine effects of the half-biofuel and half-normal jet fuel mixture on the plane’s engine.
The airline estimates it will save 1,500 tons of C02 during its tests which will cost €6.5 million ($9.1 million), about a third of which is being funded by the German government.