If you flew from Houston to Chicago on November 7, your jet might have been fueled by something new—specially grown algae.
United Flight 1403 burned a blend of traditional petroleum-based jet fuel and bio-jet fuel refined from algal oil.
And on November 9, Alaska Airlines flew the first of a planned 75 flights on a blend of regular kerosene and synthetic fuels made from used cooking oil.
Bio-jet fuel has gone commercial.
Over the last five years, Boeing, the U.S. Air Force and Navy, Honeywell UOP and others have systematically tested and advanced the alternative fuel. Bio-jet fuel has been made from the plants jatropha, camelina and others.
With new regulations on CO2 emissions expected in the E.U., cutting carbon is a new flight deck priority. Bio-jet fuels are at least six times more expensive for now, but also allow airlines to combat climate change—the CO2 spewed by burning the bio-jet fuel is equal to the CO2 absorbed during plant growth. And planes fly further on the new fuel.
In fact, since July European airlines have been flying on bio-jet blends. Seems like they’re really taking off.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]