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Air New Zealand is the latest airliner to test a new biofuel

In an attempt to reduce its fuel bill and limit its carbon footprint, Air New Zealand successfully tested a new vegetable oil biofuel during a two-hour trial flight earlier in the week.

The flight "milestone" involved using a 50-50 mixture of jatropha oil -- made from a plum-sized fruit -- with regular jet A1 fuel in one engine of a Boeing 747-400 aircraft.  The biofuel industry has also shown a strong interest in using grass, algae and halophytes as possible biofuels.

"There's still a lot of analysis to be done but we achieved a lot with the test flight and the maneuvers we've done," Air New Zealand pilot Captain Dave Morgan told the New Zealand Herald.  "The aircraft performed flawlessly."

Despite a stronger movement to use biofuels to power cars, airline companies have been working with jet manufacturers to try and integrate biofuels for commercial flights.  Last February, Virgin Atlantic tested a flight with a mixture of Brazilian nuts and coconuts with regular jet fuel.  Continental Airlines plans to test a flight using a 50-50 mix of traditional jet fuel along with algae and jatropha.

Aviation industry insiders indicate it'll be easier to convert planes to biofuels when compared to cars, trucks and other land vehicles -- the infrastructure would involve only a few hundred fueling station, rather than the millions that would be required.  Critics say airliners relying on biofuels could help increase deforestation in the Amazon rain jungles, and could lead to food prices increasing further in the future.

Airline companies were hit hard in 2008 by skyrocketing oil prices and must now prepare for less air travelers due to the struggling economy.  Expect both jet manufacturers and airline companies to work together to in the future to hasten the adoption of biofuels.

This is first stage in ANZ's attempt to utilize sustainable fuel development, and it's unknown when the company plans to launch further tests.

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RE: Terrible News
By mdogs444 on 1/1/2009 10:03:10 AM , Rating: 2
strategically trotted out by the left wing media to try to turn this world into a socialist/communist/terrorist Obama-state.

Absolutely true. They want everyone in the world to hold hands and sing peace songs together, like we're all members of Code Pink. The problem is, that the US, and other developed countries, will need to be on the decline for an extensive period of time until all other 2nd and 3rd world countries catch up to be on a level playing field.

RE: Terrible News
By FITCamar0 on 1/1/2009 10:24:22 AM , Rating: 2
Code pink, ever visit New Orleans or Detroit? Certain parts of the USA are approaching third world standards already.

RE: Terrible News
By Nfarce on 1/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: Terrible News
By GaryJohnson on 1/1/2009 11:42:12 AM , Rating: 2
I tell ya, I hate paying taxes for roads 'cause I jetpack everywhere I go. Stupid poor people and their ground-based transportation.

RE: Terrible News
By Nfarce on 1/1/2009 12:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
There was a reason I specified FEDERAL income taxes. Read much or do you just emotionalize your way through blogs?

FYI, where I come from, roads are funded by gas taxes. If you have a problem with the poor paying sales taxes and whatnot, take it up with your state and local representatives, if you even know who in the hell they are.

RE: Terrible News
By lucasb on 1/1/2009 1:47:41 PM , Rating: 3
Absolutely true. They want everyone in the world to hold hands and sing peace songs together, like we're all members of Code Pink.

Just as every right-winger want everyone to pray in schools, carry guns in their useless trucks and use the government to legislate about morality.
I expect this comment to be rated down by the right-wing majority at Dailytech.

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