Airlines to grow own fuel

bflCNN reports that airlines may grow algae around airports, from which they can make their own fuel.

Here are quotes from CNN’s report by Catriona Davies:

“Air travel could be powered from vast seas of algae growing close to airports within four years, according to researchers and airlines hoping to find a green future for aviation.

Industry giants including British Airways and Airbus are supporting a project at the UK’s Cranfield University to investigate ways of harvesting algae for jet fuel in commercial quantities.

Researchers at Cranfield argue that algae present a better option than other bio fuels because they do not compete with land for food production.

The technology already enables biofuels to be used in existing aircraft, but the challenge is to produce them in large enough quantities.

Professor Feargal Brennan, of Cranfield University, believes algae could be produced commercially in four years time.

He said: “A great advantage of algae is you can harvest it every seven to 12 days, so you get 30 to 50 harvests a year, compared with one a year of conventional crops.

British Airways announced earlier this year it was establishing a facility in east London to convert 500,000 tonnes of waste a year into 16 million gallons of jet fuel. The airline said it would use low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet by 2014.

Airlines are taking biofuels seriously. Air Transport Action Group, which represents all sectors of the aviation industry globally, claims biofuels can reduce emissions by up to 80 percent and said five airlines have held test flights in the past 18 months.

However, the industry is looking more widely than biofuel to meet its targets to improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 percent a year until 2020; achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020; and halve its emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.”

It’s good to see at least one major industry taking climate change seriously and at least doing something about easing its use of fossil fuels.

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