A United Airlines Boeing 787 will fly from San Francisco (SFO) to Zurich on Sept. 14-15 powered by a blend of biojet fuel derived from carinata, an oilseed crop that can be grown in rotation with food crops.

The General Electric GENx-powered 787 will use a blend of 30% biofuel with conventional jet fuel. The biojet was produced by the former AltAir Fuels refinery in California, acquired in March by World Energy.

Agrisoma Biosciences, a Canadian company that sells carinata seeds, partnered with United and World Energy to conduct the transatlantic commercial biofuel flight.

“At 11 hours, it is the longest transatlantic biojet flight undertaken to date, and, with the fuel-efficient Boeing 787, represents the lowest carbon footprint commercial flight across the Atlantic,” Agrisoma founder & president Steve Fabijanski said.

In January, Qantas Airways, Agrisoma and World Energy partnered on a transpacific 787 flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne. The 15-hr. flight used 53,000 lb. of blended, carinata-derived biofuel, saving 40,000 lb. in carbon emissions, the Australian flag carrier said at the time.

Agrisoma is working with farmers in North America, South America, Australia and now Europe to plant carinata as a rotational crop and additional source of income, Fabijanski said. “We develop the seed and help manage production and other parts of the value chain.”

Some 50,000 acres of carinata were planted in 2017, enough to produce 20-25 million gallons of biofuel. That has doubled in 2018 and is expected to double again with each growing cycle. “We can supply a regular volume to the industry,” he said.

From farmers to fuel producers, Fabijanski said Agrisoma is working to maximize the life-cycle greenhouse-gas reduction from carinata-derived biofuel. “It can be over 100% on a regular basis with the production we have now,” he said.

Graham.warwick@aviationweek.com