The joint project is designed to help accelerate the development of sustainable alternative fuels for commercial aviation, the three companies said.
The demonstration flight is planned for the second half of 2008 using an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 equipped with Rolls-Royce engines.
Boeing officials say they are exploring second-generation biofuel feedstocks and processes that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their lifecycle.
Second-generation biofuels are made from non-food feedstocks, such as agriculture and forestry waste. These fuels can potentially be blended with traditional kerosene fuel (Jet-A) to reduce dependency on petroleum fuels.
Boeing is in discussions with fuel providers around the globe to identify potential biofuels that are available in suitable quantities for laboratory and jet engine performance testing and in compliance with stringent aviation requirements.
'Our near-term goal in this pioneering effort is to identify sustainable alternative bio-jet fuel sources for the planes that are flying today,' said Craig Saddler, president of Boeing Australia. A significant first step is identifying progressive fuel sources that will provide better economic and environmental performance for air carriers, without any change to aircraft engines or the aviation fuel infrastructure.'
The Air New Zealand bio-jet fuel demo flight will highlight the suitability of environmentally progressive fuel solutions that differ from traditional biofuel development.
Bio-jet fuels will incorporate second-generation methodologies for sustainable feedstock source selection and fuel processing, which are uniquely suited for aerospace applications.
Sustainable bio-jet feedstock sources avoid deforestation practices and potential competition with global food resources, while helping to lower aviation carbon dioxide outputs, Boeing said.
'This test flight is another step in our plan to lead the globe in development of the most environmentally responsible airline,' said Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe.
'We have already taken large steps toward this goal by introducing fuel-efficient Boeing 777s and we eagerly await the first of our 787-9 Dreamliners which will burn 20 percent less fuel than the planes they replace,' said Fyfe.
Air New Zealand is a launch customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, scheduled for entry into service in 2008.