Biofuels in Aviation

Great article on biofuels being approved for use in commercial aviation.

I’ve got mixed feeling about biofuels. I like the idea of replacing fossil fuels but I think corn ethanol has tied the price of a basic food product to the volatile market of fossil fuels. Corn ethanol subsidies are, in part, to blame for the increase in prices for corn and other grains. I can see the effects of this firsthand over in the Middle East where all grains and grain-based products are imported. It’s the law of unintended consequences catching up with political decision-making.

That’s what I was happy to read this part:

Airbus and Boeing, which together manufacture about 80 percent of the world’s passenger planes, are planning to set up biofuel production chains across the world. Airbus is working on a supply hub in India where it’s talking with government and airline officials. Its aim is to form joint ventures and partnerships with growers, transporters and refiners. Boeing is negotiating with companies across the supply chain in South America. Fuel from inedible plants or waste doesn´t put price pressure on crops as can fuel from corn, sugar cane or soy.

These two private companies apparently have the foresight to avoid the food-product ethanol mistake.

In the photo caption was something that hit close to “home” for me:

Boeing is test growing halophytes, a salt-tolerant energy crop, in the United Arab Emirates as part of its renewable fuel supply development.