Back in late 2008 I talked about how Boeing was working with Continental Airlines on an algae-based bio fuel.
On Thursday Bill Blover, managing director of environmental strategy for Boeing Commercial Planes stated the new fuel could be approved and in commercial flights as early as early 2010. He states the technology is ready, but there isn’t enough plant stock yet to create enough fuel.
The New York Times reportsthat Boeing has been working with four airlines on four different fuel mixtures, “Virgin Atlantic flight using a coconut- and babassu-derived biofuel blend; an Air New Zealand flight using a jatropha-derived biofuel blend; a Continental Airlines flight using a blend of algae- and jatropha-derived biofuel; and a Japan Airlines flight using an algae-, jatropha- and camelina-derived biofuel blend.”
Air New Zealand showed a 1% improvement in fuel efficiency which might not sound like a lot, but a large jet burning fuel on a 12 hour flight, equates to about a savings of 1.43 metric tons of fuel and 4.5 metric tons of reduced carbon dioxide. Multiply that by the amount of flights going on globally on any given day, and that ads up to a lot of savings.
Even though we might start seeing some new biofuel in some jets starting in early 2010, they will still have to fight production ability and being cost effective compared to jet fuel and if the economy is down, it is most likely airlines won’t be willing to pay a premium for green fuel.Image: AP Photo/NZ Herald, Paul Estcourt