Below are links to stories about aviation biofuels.
First US flight of jatropha and algae-fuelled jet
A US airline has completed the first test flight of a plane powered by biofuel derived from algae and jatropha. It was a 90-minute flight by a Continental Boeing 737-800. test is the latest in a series of demonstration flights by the aviation industry, which hopes to be using biofuels within 5 years. The flight was the first to use a twin-engine commercial aircraft (rather than a four-engine plane) to test a biofuel blend. (BBC)
NZ airline flies jetliner partly run on veggie oil
An Air New Zealand passenger jet powered in part by jatropha oil completed a two-hour flight to test a biofuel they hope could lower airplane emissions and cut costs. One engine of a Boeing 747-400 was powered by a 50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel. While Air New Zealand couldn't say whether the blend would be cheaper than standard jet fuel. Tests show jatropha has an even lower freezing point than jet fuel. (Washington Post)
Air New Zealand to test new plant oil biofuel (jatropha)
Air New Zealand is seeking regulatory approval to test a new biofuel, made from the jatropha plant, on a Boeing 747-400. The test flight is planned for the final quarter of this year. The jatropha, which (allegedly) grows 3 metres high in almost any soil conditions, produces berries containing 30pc-40pc oil. The jatropha oil for the test flight will be sourced from Africa and India, but (possibly) could be grown in New Zealand. (Telegraph)
US Senate Airmed Services Committee votes that US military cannot use biofuel, due to price
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted on May 24 to prohibit the US military from buying biofuel. This is only because it is more expensive than conventional fuels. There had been much hope by the American biofuels industry that the US military would be an early adopting large customer, and get them going. The committee’s majority also voted to stop the Department of Defense from building its own biofuel refinery. However, United Airlines, Boeing, and UOP (part of Honeywell) have joined with the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust to form MASBI, the the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative, They plan to "unlock the Midwest’s economic potential for advanced biofuels " etc etc. probably from crops. No mention of not competing with food etc, just creating jobs.
Continental Airlines, Boeing and GE Aviation Announce Plans for “Sustainable” Biofuels Flight Demonstration
HOUSTON - Continental Airlines, Boeing, and GE Aviation announced plans to conduct a biofuels demonstration flight in the first half of 2009 in an effort to identify sustainable fuel solutions for the aviation industry. They want "sustainable biofuels produced through advanced biomass conversion technologies and processes that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases throughout their lifecycle". (Continental Airlines)
Will biofuels power tomorrow’s planes?
On Sunday, a Virgin Airlines Boeing 747 took off from London's Heathrow Airport en route to Amsterdam. This short flight may prove to be a giant leap forward for the aviation industry. The aircraft did not carry passengers - but it was the first commercial aircraft to fly partly under the power of biofuels. (BBC)
Aircraft numbers may double by 2026
Airbus is warning that more runways are needed to accommodate a doubling of the global aircraft fleet by 2026. The European planemaker predicted that over 28,500 passenger and freight aircraft would be flying in less than two decades' time - more than double the current total of 13,284. Britain will be third-largest customer for new planes (Guardian)
Biofuel trial flight set for 747 in 2008
Air New Zealand says it plans to mount the first test flight of a commercial airliner partially powered by biofuel. Biofuel trial flight set for 747 in 2008. But Virgin Atlantic is planning to beat Air New Zealand to the punch by having its own biofuel flight early next year. (BBC)