Airline in first biofuel flight

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first flight by a commercial airline to be powered partly by biofuel has taken place. A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet has flown between London's Heathrow and Amsterdam using fuel derived from a mixture of Brazilian babassu nuts and coconuts.

Environmentalists have branded the flight a publicity stunt and claim biofuel cultivation is not sustainable.

Earlier this month, Airbus tested another alternative fuel - a synthetic mix of gas-to-liquid.

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson said the flight marked a "vital breakthrough" for the entire airline industry.

"This pioneering flight will enable those of us who are serious about reducing our carbon emissions to go on developing the fuels of the future," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources

Posted February 24, 2008 at 8:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Wilfred wrote:

Would Mauricio de Andrade be one of those Brazilian babassu nuts?

February 25, 1:25 am | [comment link]
2. Wilfred wrote:

Virgin Atlantic better take along some extra virgin olive oil.

February 25, 1:25 am | [comment link]
3. Katherine wrote:

Oh fine.  Brazil nuts and coconuts.  And what ecological damage will unintentionally result from this, a decade or two down the road?  Food for fuel just isn’t all that helpful.  Trash for fuel, now there would be something worth looking into.

February 25, 3:03 am | [comment link]
4. NancyNH wrote:

I agree with Katherine. Nuts are expensive anyway.

And in the U.S., the demand for corn for biofuel has raised the price of corn. Therefore, corn and any food containing corn cost the consumer more. That means every consumer who eats - not just those whose cars guzzle gasoline!

February 25, 8:35 am | [comment link]
5. azusa wrote:

#4: cheaper than occupying the Middle East?

February 25, 8:46 am | [comment link]
6. Doug Martin wrote:

Reluctantly adding a serious note here, the syn gas to liquid technology is real and available now.  The most common feedstock is coal, of which we have an abundance.  The process efficiently produces diesel/kerosene and it is “sulfur free”.  Cost of production is about 2/3 of current pump prices.  China is investing heavily in dozens of plants which will be on line very soon.  And nobody eats coal.

February 25, 10:33 am | [comment link]
7. libraryjim wrote:

Now we have an excuse to cut down the Amazonian rainforest—eco-fuel!


February 25, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
8. Harvey wrote:

Looking in my treasure trove of memory I believe I read a statement many years ago that the US had a 700 year supply of coal.  This number may be less now.  Can’t coal can be utilized to develop a form of liquid fuel? Of course it seems that whatever we do we mess with the ecosystem.  Most of our fuels so far generate poison gases of one kind or another when oxidized.  China is finding this out to its sorrow. 
Question to Canon Kendall - couldn’t we have a beaut of discussion on this problem

February 25, 5:41 pm | [comment link]
9. Doug Martin wrote:


See 6 above.  Syn gas can also be used to make methanol, which requires a bit more treatment to make it stable enough to use like ethanol, but it is technically quite doable.

You can also reduce it to hydrogen but we aren’t quite ready for that yet.

February 25, 5:53 pm | [comment link]
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