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Airline Flies 747 Powered by Biofuel

Air New Zealand has successfully completed a two-hour flight of a passenger jet that gets some of its power from biofuel. The Associated Press (AP) reports that the airline tested a Boeing 747-400 airplane that ran with one engine fueled by a 50-50 blend of standard A1 jet fuel and a blend of oil made from jatropha plants. The jatropha plant, a Mexican plant that grows in warm climates, reportedly has a lower freezing point than jet fuel, making it practical for aviation, and is already being used to produce biodiesel. An Air New Zealand spokesperson, quoted by the AP, says that the fuel is not yet being produced on a commercial scale, so the airline cannot speculate on whether the biofuel will be less expensive than jet fuel, but says they expect the blend to be cost competitive. The airline says it hopes that by 2013, 10 percent of its flights will be at least partially powered by biofuels.

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