Airplanes are some of the most gas-guzzling players in our transportation industry, which makes them a good place to start implementing renewable biofuels. Boeing has recently announced plans to do just that, phasing in 30% biofuel blends within the next 3 to 5 years, depending on when the fuels obtains enough industry commercialization.
What is unclear about this plan, however, is exactly where that fuel will come from. It seems that the major development here is that Boeing (as well as competitor Airbus) has sampled the products coming out of biofuel startups and declared it fit for use on an airplane. It is one thing to develop such a fuel in a lab, but quite another to scale it up enough to make a serious impact on the airline industry.
In particular, biofuel experts are shying away from first generation biofuel crops such as soy beans, which are generally thought to use up agricultural resources otherwise intended for food. And while algae fuels hold more promise, none of the young algae startups are ready to pump out that much fuel in such a short time frame. Although Virgin Airlines recently ran a test flight on algae biofuel, many dismissed this as a publicity stunt, rather than an indication of current availability.
Via Cleantechnia, Guardian UK
written by campbell, October 29, 2008
written by Haldane Dodd, October 30, 2008
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