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Algae-Powered Jet Proves Biofuel in Continental Test

January 8th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Aviation-Fuel

You are at: Oilgae Blog.

Continental Airlines Inc. conducted a demonstration flight today using biofuel, the first such test in the U.S. with a commercial jet, as the industry experiments with ways to curb pollution that leads to global warming.

A fuel blend made from algae and jatropha scrub plants powered the unmodified twin-engine Boeing Co. 737-800, Continental said. The flight, which took off without incident about 12:15 p.m. Houston time at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, lasted about 90 minutes.

“It all went according to plan,” said David Messing, a Continental spokesman. “The initial observations are that there’s no difference in terms of the performance of the airplane.”

Continental is the first to use the jatropha-algae mix. The plants are attractive as a fuel source because they don’t reduce stocks of food crops or contribute to deforestation, Raney said. The 737’s engines didn’t need modifications to burn biofuel in today’s test, Raney said.

“Algae has been identified as one of the most promising alternatives so we are eager to see how it performs in normal operating conditions,” Paul Steele, executive director of the Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group, said in a statement. The group represents airports, airlines, engine makers and pilots.

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