Japan Biofuel Flight
Koji Sasahara  /  AP
Japan Airlines Corp. President and CEO Haruka Nishimatsu, center, holds second-generation biofuel "Jatropha," along with Nicole W. Piasecki, right, president of Boeing Japan, and Shigeaki Nakano, vice president of Pratt and Whitney, during a press conference in Tokyo Monday.
updated 6/23/2008 11:31:38 AM ET 2008-06-23T15:31:38

Japan Airlines said Monday it plans a test flight of a Boeing 747 partially powered by biofuel by early next year as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The airline, known as JAL, will use a biofuel mixed with kerosene in one of four engines on the jet, with the three remaining engines powered by ordinary jet fuel or kerosene, it said in a statement.

The carrier said it plans to use a new generation of biofuel made of non-edible materials to avoid using potential food sources. It said it would announce more details in August.

"Through this biofuel flight test, we plan to promote development of biofuels and contribute to their commercial use," JAL said in a statement.

Other airlines have begun exploring the use of biofuels to reduce pollution and cut greenhouse gases that are believed to cause global warming.

In February, Virgin Atlantic successfully conducted the world's first flight of a commercial aircraft powered partially with biofuel — a mixture of coconut and babassu oil in one of its four main fuel tanks.

Germany's Deutsche Lufthansa AG set a series of environmental goals committing itself to a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and to using biofuel.

Air New Zealand also said recently that it is looking at using biofuels in part of its domestic fleet.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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