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Boeing: Biofuel research pace 'remarkable,' could partially power flights by 2013

ATW Daily News by Geoffrey Thomas 17 Sep.08

Boeing remains bullish on the scientific progress of biofuel development, with Director-Environmental Performance Billy Glover saying this week that the manufacturer is confident commercially viable biofuel will be available to partially power aircraft by 2013.

Speaking in Seattle at an Air New Zealand environmental briefing, Glover reiterated his previous statements that the pace of breakthroughs has been "remarkable" in recent years, telling ATWOnline, "We are making amazing progress and I continue to be surprised."

He noted that some algae-based fuels being studied are "showing better [potential performance] qualities than current jet fuel." He called algae the "Holy Grail" of alternative fuel offerings.

ANZ will fly a 747 later this year partially powered by jatropha oil, which emits one-third the CO2 of current jet fuel. Jatropha has an oil yield of around 250 gal. per acre and is the most advanced of the biofuels currently being explored for use by the airline industry. Glover said euphorbia from the halophyte family, which grows in salty mashes and mangrove swamps, yields more than 1,000 gal. per acre while algae yields 2,000 gal. per acre.

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