AMSTELVEEN, The Netherlands – On June 30, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines made history by becoming the first airline in the world to operate a commercial flight on ‘biokerosene.’ The plane used renewable jet fuel supplied by Dynamic Fuels LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between Syntroleum Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc.

Dynamic’s plant in Geismar, La. converts fats, oils and greases into high-quality, renewable fuels. Unlike ethanol and biodiesel, which are typically produced from food ingredients, Dynamic Fuels uses non-food grade fats, oils and greases. Production began in October 2010.

KLM used a 50/50 blend of conventional jet fuel and renewable jet fuel in both engines of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft that carried 171 passengers from Amsterdam to Paris. The flight was a preview of more than 200 commercial flights between Amsterdam and Paris KLM plans to make in September using the same fuel.

“This is an important day for Dynamic Fuels and our efforts to demonstrate the performance and environmental advantages of what we’re producing,” said Bob Ames, vice president of Renewable Energy for Tyson Foods, one of the owners of Dynamic Fuels. “We’re pleased with the leadership KLM has shown in its willingness to use innovative, new fuels like ours.”

When asked how this renewable fuel compares to traditional jet fuel and if it is less expensive than traditional jet fuel, Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told he would rather not make a price comparison, but added the renewable jet fuel being produced is chemically similar to conventional jet fuel, which is why it can be used in a conventional jet engine.

However, the joint venture’s renewable jet fuel [also known as Bio-SPK or Bio-Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene] has three main performance advantages over conventional jet fuel:

  • Lower particulate matter emissions (due to virtual absence of aromatic hydrocarbons which do not burn as cleanly) — independent tests show up to 90 percent reduction in particulate matter or “soot” from the exhaust.
  •  Lower engine deposits (due to better thermo-oxidative stability).
  • Better low temperature flow properties — lower viscosity and flatter viscosity curve profile near the freezing temperature of fuel.

“We’re producing renewable diesel fuel for over the road transportation. We’re also working with customers on various chemical industry applications,” he added.

When asked if Tyson expects production at Geismar to increase now that the airline industry is using it, Mickelson replied, “While the KLM flight is positive news, the Dynamic Fuels plant production levels will ultimately be driven by overall customer adoption and other market factors.”