Print 15 comment(s) - last by Omega215D.. on Jul 22 at 11:37 AM

Lufthansa has first commercial biofuel flight

Major European airliner Lufthansa has taken its biofuel efforts to the next level after launching a six-month 50/50 fuel-biofuel mix test in European flights. 

The new "hydrotreated" jet fuel is based from wood chips and inedible plants, such as different types of grass.  The use of food-based crops negatively leads to issues with rising food costs that plague U.S. and European consumers.    

The new blend of regular jet fuel and biosynthetic food is now used by the airline company's Airbus A321 aircraft.  Beginning last week, flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt had a 50/50 mix in one engine with the other engine running on regular jet fuel.  Passengers are unable to notice any difference how the aircraft flies.

Government support has increased demand for ethanol, so corn crops have been in high demand since 2005.  

Lufthansa is interested in studying long-term engine health as they try to make a transition from regular jet fuel to biofuels.

Although Lufthansa believes this new biofuel fuel blend will drastically reduce CO2 emissions, some German environmental groups criticized the move.  According to one German environmental group, they believe Lufthansa and other airliners traveling such short distances still is bad for the environment -- and try to promote train travel as a more eco-friendly mode of transportation.

Air France conducted a commercial biofuel flight in June, with the Boeing 737-800 using recycled cooking oil instead of jet fuel.  Airliners are anxious to avoid investing in jet fuel that greatly fluctuates in cost, and a more eco-friendly option is very welcome.

Biofuels remain a major interest by the government and private sector, especially among airlines trying to become more eco-friendly and reduce costs.  Airline biofuels consist of materials ranging from grass and algae to organic waste that is processed into biofuel that can be used for transportation and vehicles.

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By 91TTZ on 7/21/2011 3:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
I understand the part about not using edible plants like corn- if you use a lot of corn to make fuel, that reduces the supply of edible corn which then drives up the cost. It's basic supply/demand.

But let's say that you're a farmer. The next season you don't plant corn, you plant this biodiesel grass instead. Wouldn't that still reduce the supply of corn and drive up corn prices?

The issue really is percent of arable land being used to grow food compared to the percent being used to grow fuel. If you're re going to claim that you'll get around this reality by growing these fuel crops on new farmland that you weren't previously using to grow food crops, you could use this same logic to grow corn for fuel. You'd just be growing a crop of corn that wouldn't otherwise be available for eating.

By PhatoseAlpha on 7/21/2011 4:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
The central idea is that you use inedible plants that can grow in places where edible crops cannot. Soils which are too sandy, rocky, shady, heavily sloped, plots which are too small, would require too much irrigation, or otherwise marginal or unusable for food crops. By choosing plants which are tolerant of otherwise poor conditions and don't require heavy irrigation or fertilization, a lot of land goes from just arable to being economically viable.

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