TAM was the first airline in South America to carry out an experimental flight using biofuel on November 22, 2010. Produced from the oil of 100% domestic nettlespurge, known in Portuguese as pinhão-manso, it reduces carbon emissions by between 65% and 80% compared with petroleum-derived kerosene, according to research. Besides, the plant does not threatens the food chain, as it is not edible for humans nor animals. “Compared with other biofuels, the fuel from this plant is very promising for the Brazilian scenario,” says Paulus Figueiredo, TAM’s fuel manager. The next step in the project is to implement a farming unit, in reduced scale, at TAM’s Technological Center in São Carlos (SP), exclusively to conduct studies and make better cultivation techniques viable. “The objective is to carry out studies concerning technical and economic viability to build a biofuel Brazilian platform based on nettlespurge,” explains TAM’s CEO, Líbano Barroso. The experimental flight was a joint effort between TAM, Airbus, CFM International (joint venture between U.S.’s GE and the French Safran Group) and Air BP. The trip was authorized by Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
(TAM News, January 2011. Adaptado.)