The world's first US-Australia biofuel flight takes off on Monday, with a Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner filled with 24,000 kilograms of mustard seed-based, blended fuel.
The historic Qantas flight, QF96 from Los Angeles to Melbourne, is using biofuel extracted from a mustard seed Brassica carinata. The process has been developed by Canadian agricultural-technology company Agrisoma Biosciences.
Speaking at Los Angeles International Airport ahead of the flight, Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said it's fitting the Dreamliner is showcasing the future of sustainable aviation since the aircraft heralds a new era of innovation and travel.
Across its life cycle, carinata-derived fuel offers more than 80
How does the biofuel work?
The carinata makes high-quality oil considered ideal for aviation biofuel, with one hectare of seeds yielding 400
The seed is sown in fallow areas where other food crops have failed or in between regular crop cycles and provides an added economic boon for farmers.
Agrisoma CEO Steve Fabijanski said he's looking forward to working with Australian farmers and Qantas to further develop a clean energy source for the aviation industry.
Why mustard seed?
"It's a tough crop. It grows where other crops won't grow. It doesn't need much water and it's well understood by farmers," he said. "They can grow it and do well with it."
Qantas aims to have flights running regularly on biofuel by 2020.
"The biofuel goes through exactly the same certification and tests as standard aviation."
That includes engineering, safety and performance checks.
Trials in Queensland and South Australia have indicated that the water-efficient crops should fare well in the Australian climate.
Qantas' historic flight comes after the airline was named earlier this month as the least efficient carrier in the region.
A report by the International Council on Clean Transportation found Qantas was the least fuel efficient and burnt the most carbon of major airlines that fly across the Pacific.
Qantas burns an average of one litre of aviation fuel to fly a passenger 22 kilometres, 64 per cent more than the 36 kilometres achieved by the region's two most efficient carriers - China's Hainan Airlines and Japan's All Nippon Airways - according to a study by the researcher that exposed Volkswagen AG's emissions cheating. The ICCT looked at 20 airlines that operate flights from mainland US to East Asia and Oceania in 2016.
Qantas said the study was flawed.
"The reason Qantas ranks low in this study is chiefly