Lufthansa conducts first European scheduled flight using sugar-based biofuel

First European Farnesan flight at September 15th
First European Farnesan flight at September 15th (© Lufthansa)

The Lufthansa Group has marked another milestone in its pioneering work in the testing of alternative fuels. On September 15th, Lufthansa flight LH 190 from Frankfurt to Berlin Tegel is being operated using a ten percent blend of the new biofuel component farnesan. This is the first scheduled flight in Europe to run on this fuel mix. Farnesan is a sugar-based bio-kerosene developed jointly by the TOTAL oil group and the U.S.-based biotech company Amyris, which in April of this year received RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials) Certification.

The flight was preceded by a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg in autumn 2013 as part of the EU’s “Blending Study” project. The tests showed that blending can improve fuel emission characteristics. Farnesan was approved in June 2014 for blending with petroleum-based kerosene.

In order to translate the research projects conducted jointly with universities and business enterprises into practice, the Lufthansa Group also relies on the use of jatropha, an oil-bearing plant that grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Lufthansa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JatroSolutions GmbH (a subsidiary of EnBW, the third-largest German energy company) to make jatropha production commercially viable. In future, Lufthansa will help the start-up company to set up a raw materials supply chain to ensure the provision of biosynthetic fuel derived from the jatropha plant.

Joachim Buse, Vice President Aviation Biofuel at Lufthansa commented: “In order to secure the supply of aviation biofuel, the requisite raw materials must be cultivated sustainably, at competitive prices. The Lufthansa Group companies therefore place great emphasis on the recognized certification of sustainably produced raw materials and on respecting social and development policy considerations. In JatroSolutions we have found a competent partner who shares our values and our sustainability aspirations.”

These activities are a continuation of the recently concluded “burnFAIR” project. In 2011, Lufthansa became the first airline worldwide to use a biofuel mix in scheduled daily operations when it conducted a six-month test run with an Airbus A321 on the Frankfurt-Hamburg route. The long-term trial was accompanied by detailed measurements of emissions as well as by research on production processes and biomass availability. The final report on burnFAIR is now available for download at

With its Biofuel Strategy 2020, the Lufthansa Group is maintaining its commitment to climate protection. It is actively involved in various initiatives such as SAFUG (Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group) and aireg (Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany) with a view to setting up a new supply chain for the future provision of the Lufthansa Group with biofuel. Throughout, its key priorities are to certify the cultivation and processing of raw materials and to respect food safety standards and biodiversity.

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