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Virgin Flies Biofueled Jet From London

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posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 12:47 PM
I am glad someone finally used existing technology to utilize biofuels for aircraft flight. I hope this pans out financially to make this a standard.

Snippet from article:

"This breakthrough will help Virgin Atlantic to fly its planes using clean fuel sooner than expected," Sir Richard Branson, the airline's president, said before the Boeing 747 flew from London's Heathrow Airport to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

He said the flight would provide "crucial knowledge that we can use to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint," he said.

Sunday's flight was partially fueled with a biofuel mixture of coconut and babassu oil in one of its four main fuel tanks. The jet carried pilots and several technicians, but no passengers.

Virgin Atlantic spokesman Paul Charles predicted this biofuel would produce much less CO2 than regular jet fuel, but said it will take weeks to analyze the data from Sunday's flight.

Full Article Link:

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 12:55 PM
And they're being blasted for using biofuel, and not something else. The USAF has been flying planes since last year using new synthetic fuels. They've tested a fighter, a B-52, and a C-17. Next up is a B-1. Airbus flew an A380 on synthetic fuels recently as well. The synthetic fuels will be better than the biofuels in the long run if you ask me.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 12:59 PM
I think you are right. They will be better in the long run as long as the price of the fuels does not make it prohibitive to buy. We used biofuels when I was in the military for certain vehicles and it definitely cost more than standard fuel. That is a shame.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:03 PM
Not only the cost, but the fact that it's impossible to support biofuels in the amounts we would need. What fields do we stop producing food in and start producing fuel? We'd have to cut food supplies, or stop expanding our cities, or cut down forests for more land to produce what we need for fuel.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:09 PM

Originally posted by Zaphod58
Not only the cost, but the fact that it's impossible to support biofuels in the amounts we would need. What fields do we stop producing food in and start producing fuel? We'd have to cut food supplies, or stop expanding our cities, or cut down forests for more land to produce what we need for fuel.

Exactly, some people don't realize how much goes into making something like "gasahol"
I think if the synthetic could be made in large volumes at a reasonable price airlines and the military would buy it.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:13 PM
Hey Zaph, what are the synthetic fuels made of?

On topic, biofuels. It is only beneficial if the right crop is used. I advocate algae.
Pond Scum and The Future

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:13 PM
The military (at least the USAF) is very interested in it. Apparently it's safer, cleaner, and cheaper than JP8 is. They flew a C-17 from Washington state to New Jersey last year on it. If it works in the B-1 then I think we'll see them starting to switch fairly soon to synthetic from JP8.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:15 PM
reply to post by Beachcoma

They have several different ones in testing. The two most popular ones right now are made of coal and biomass. They're looking to switch to at least 50% synthetic fuel by 2016 at the latest.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:20 PM
Maybe it’s a good time for the government to stop paying farmers to: “Not Grow Corn”…

HM.. That was two lines when I typed it in the editor…

[edit on 2/24/2008 by defcon5]

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:22 PM
More on the synthetics:

They're mixing JP8 with fuel produced using the Fischer-Thropsch process. The JP8 provides the "aeromatics" needed that the synthetic doesn't have. So they're still using JP8, but they don't need as much because they're diluting it with the synthetics. When used on the B-52 it was 30% cleaner at full power, and 60% cleaner at idle. Sulfur emissions were reduced by 50%.

[edit on 2/24/2008 by Zaphod58]

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 02:25 PM
What good news! Good for Virgin! And thanks, Zaphod for your contribution re military syn fuel use. I hadn't known that.

You know, we in the US rely so heavily on one energy source, oil (and coal to some extent), that any debate on alternative energy sources focuses on the false choice of either all alternative sources or none at all.

The fact is, the choices are not limited. The fact is, we can reduce dependence on oil/hydrocarbon by conservation, new ideas, and supplementing that source with others. Is that good news for all those corporations that produce, supply, distribute, or are involved in any way with oil? No. Is it good news for the meth dealer when a buyer no longer wants to purchase? No.

Most current big energy corporations would have you believe that you need them and only them to survive. Science and technology be dammed, unless it serves their interests.

I use Southern California Edison for my electric needs. Decades ago, SoCalEd declared that they were not going to build anymore nuclear power plants--they weren't worth it. I applauded their decision. They use combinations of different energy sources.

If Americans are concerned about being the #1 Superpower, they should not focus on military supremacy but energy supremacy. Being overly dependent on hydrocarbon sources would only weaken the US economically and militarily. Little wonder the military is experimenting--it knows. Plus it knows there is a better way to gain energy resources than to involve the military. Make energy not war.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 02:41 PM

Originally posted by desert
Make energy not war.

The war is to control the energy. He who controls the flow of energy controls the means of survival. That's why the viable biofuel alternatives aren't pushed as aggressively as those that are doomed to fail, like corn ethanol. Can't have control slip away from the clutches of the deciders.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 02:49 PM
If you're using land to grow crops of any sort to produce biofuel, then you're not using that land to grow food. And if you're not using that land to grow food you have to use other land to grow food. And the upshot is,however you look at it, landuse change and (in many cases) more loss of rainforest. Which simply put means more anthropogenic climate change .....

Still, who cares about floods and landslides in Indonesia just so long as I can fly to NYC to go shopping once a month?

(the only biofuel I advocate is that produced on small scale using, for example, used cooking fat)

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 03:06 PM

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 03:09 PM
Everyone I know who has used bio-diesel loves it.

I knew someone who made his own bio-diesel, until he burned his shed down, my buddy put it in his 86 F350 with an International engine, he said it ran noticeably better then regular diesel.

I worked near a large port with lots of truck traffic, many of the service stations near the Port of Tacoma sell bio diesel and I heard many of the truckers prefer it because they get superior fuel economy versus there regular fuel.

The problem with bio-diesel is that it does poorly in the cold. Many people who run bio diesel in there vehicles need to start and warm the engine up on regular diesel then you switch it over to the bio, so you need two separate fuel tanks.

E85 makes less power then gasoline and because of its high alcohol content its corrosive to your fuel line and other engine components.

If I remember correctly it’s either the U.S. Army or the Marines where every vehicle from the Kawasaki KLR650 dirt bikes to the jets and helicopters, all run on diesel. I read about military testing of a KLR650 in development that can run on almost anything from gas, diesel, E85, kerosene, while making similar power and getting 100MPG.

If we have more alternative fuels offered throughout the world to compete with gasoline it would give gasoline companies more competition, forcing them to drive down there prices. Right now gas companies are still the only game in town.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 03:10 PM
The method the USAF is looking at uses ANY carbon based materials. As long as it has carbon in it that method can turn it into very clean burning synthetic fuels.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 03:13 PM
reply to post by jojoKnowsBest

The other problem with biodiesel is that it's very sticky. If we use anything more than B11 in our trucks we just voided the warranty on the engine. We recomend using only B2, but CAN NOT use anything higher than B11.

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