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Virgin Atlantic Tests Biofuel on Aircraft

Richard Branson is up to his old tricks again – his old tricks of testing things that are lightyears ahead of the competition in the transportation industry. Last summer, Virgin Trains announced they would test biofuel to run the trains. Now, Virgin Atlantic has decided they will test a Boeing 747 using biofuel.

The test is scheduled to make the short flight from London’s Heathrow to Amsterdam soon. The aircraft will take flight using 80% jet fuel and 20% biofuel. If you’re flying between the two cities and you don’t want to be a guinea pig, no worries. There will be no passengers on this flight.

The big secret is what sort of biofuel the airline intends to use in the jets. However, a spokesperson for the airline admitted they have rejected crops like palm oil that require a large area of land. I’m pretty sure any type of crop would take up too much land to fuel the entire aviation industry, but Rich didn’t consult with me on the matter. Virgin Atlantic maintains the production of this particular resource would not compete with food or fresh water resources. Interesting.

Testing the aircraft does not mean the plane will need any type of modifications. In addition, the brains behind the operation say the biofuel will not effect the engine’s performance or range.

Frequent flyers, if this works out, I’m guessing we can anticipate most of the large U.S. based carriers to jump on board soon.

Virgin Atlantic pulled it off! The flight was a success, which is good to hear. In light of criticism about the environmental impact of producing bio-fuel, Sir Richard said he would like to experiment with using algae that grows at sewage treatment plants as a fuel source. How very Back to the Future!