Plant-based jet fuel approved for flights

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After an approval by an important U.S. technical standards body which occurred recently, it is very possible that beginning sometime in July of this year planes will be able to use up to 50% of their fuel from plant sources. This can be a big deal for the biofuel industry which is still in its infancy and needs something big like this to happen. Although it may cost airlines a little more to use this type of fuel, it can really help their marketing efforts which could result in an overall plus to their bottom lines.

As reported in an article by Bloomberg (click here to read it), the biofuels will be made from inedible plants. To me this the most intriguing part of the story. So much of the talk surrounding biofuels and alternative energy is about corn, soy, sugar and other sources which people also use for food. Using these sources as fuel in addition to food makes us far too dependent on that particular plant. This is very risky and puts us one bad weather season away from an economic¬†catastrophe. After going through all the trouble of ridding ourselves of fossil fuels, using a food source as a major energy source may leave us dreaming of the good ol’ days when dictator controlled Arab countries supplied us with oil.

By using sources like algae, wood chips and other inedible plants as energy however, this really makes biofuel a potential game changer. Although important issues still need to be worked out like the high cost and production inefficiencies, inedible plants should be the only way we approach biofuel production.

Hopefully these biofuels make their way into some passenger flights soon. Even more importantly however, hopefully the biofuel industry will focus only on inedible sources and move away from turning food into fuel.