Airbus takes alternative test flight

Aerospace company Airbus has completed the world's first commercial-aircraft flight using a liquid fuel processed from gas.

An A380 aircraft flew from the manufacturing centre at Filton, UK, to Airbus's headquarters in Toulouse, France, as the first stage of a programme to evaluate the environmental impact of alternative fuels in the airline market.

During the flight, one of the plane's four engines was fed with a blend of the GTL ('gas to liquids') synthetic fuel and conventional jet fuel. The remaining three were fed with standard jet fuel.

The aim of the programme is to look at the feasibility and potential benefits of using GTL synthetic jet fuels. GTL is a technology that takes natural gas and converts it to liquid kerosene.

The A380 is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines. Shell International Petroleum provided the Shell GTL Jet Fuel.

The tests are running in parallel to the agreement signed in November 2007 with the Qatar GTL consortium partners and the results will be shared.

Image: The A380's engine No 1 was fed with synthetic fuel

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