First Biofuel Flight Takes Air in Mexico

Joanna Schroeder

Interjet, Mexico’s domestic airline carrier, along with Airbus received praise today from The Consejo de Promocion Turistica de Mexico for the first successful test flight using biofuels. The test was conducted earlier this month with an Airbus A320 aircraft using a 30 percent biofuel blend produced from jatropha. The biojet fuel blend was made from locally sourced jatropha grown and harvested in Chiapas, a southern Mexican state. In the region, jatropha is also used by the indigenous Seri people of Sonora to make baskets as well as to tan leather.

Many countries around the world are looking to produce biofuels from jatropha including Mexico, the Philippines and Brazil. In 2007, these regions were cited as the best candidates for future biofuel production by Goldman Sachs. Although this was the first biofuel test flight in Mexico, it is anticipated that others will commence and Interjet and Airbus intend to speed up the development and commercialization of aviation biofuel in the country. This movement was spurred by the National Development Plan mandated by Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. This plan calls for Mexico to include the environment as one of the elements for competitiveness, economic and social development.

“The test flight is the realization of a two year ambition for Interjet to develop a production chain for renewable biofuel, with the purpose of creating a Mexican platform for sustainable aviation bio-kerosene,” said Interjet President Miguel Aleman.

In addition to developing biofuels for the aviation sector, Mexico also expects to produce 100 million liters of biodiesel by 2012 from its biodiesel pilot plant in Chiapas.

Biodiesel, biofuels, biojet fuel, International