Boeing Planning First Trans-Atlantic Flight Using Biofuel

CNET: Boeing on Thursday said one of its 747-8 freighter will be the first commercial jetliner to do a transatlantic crossing flying with "biologically derived fuel."  

According to the aviation giant, Boeing's Keith Otsuka and Rick Braun, along with Sten Rossby of Cargolux, will pilot the new plane to the Paris Air Show Monday using a 15 percent camelina-based biofuel mix. The remainder of the fuel will be traditional Jet-A kerosene.

In a release, the company described camelina as a plant grown in Montana and processed by Honeywell, and said that the freighter doesn't require any modifications in order to fly with the special fuel. The 747-8 freighter will be shown at the Paris Air Show, which I'll be covering as part of my Road Trip 2011 project, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Clearly, Boeing sees a competitive advantage in being able to fly with a partly-renewable fuel. While 85 percent will still be a standard fuel, even that 15 percent could, in theory, give carriers who fly the freighter the ability to position themselves against what they might say are less environmentally friendly cargo outfits. But of course, this is all experimental for now, and it's not yet known how much such fuels will cost, nor what the carbon impact to produce them will be.


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