Monday, January 12, 2009

Algae-fueled jet tested

On Friday, the first passenger jet partly powered by algae-based biofuel took off (and yes, landed safely) in Houston. The test was run by Continental Airlines, on a Boeing 737. The airline companies have suddenly become aggressive in their attempts to find alternative fuels. (They realize that going green could potentially save them a lot of money.)

What's interesting is that when I was working on Greasy Rider, I interviewed one of the top biofuel guys for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (the federal government's top energy research lab). In the book, I remark how NREL is totally not swinging for the fences with biofuels, sadly. In fact, during my interview, the biofuels guy told me that no airline would be interested in biofuels for jets because "no one wants to mess with jet fuel." Maybe he should have talked to the airlines, before making that assumption. Because it sounds like Continental does, and Air New Zealand, and Japan Airlines.