Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Friendly skies?

The headline was somewhat troubling – Airlines unite in deal for alternative fuel.

Is that safe? Flying planes on algae or beef fat turned to fuel?

My concern was testing. I haven’t seen a lot about how aviation has access to all this great bio-fuel that works fine. You would think we would want to be careful about this thousands of feet in the air. It might work, but I don’t know about it.

Reading into the press release and my pulse went down a little. Seems Rentech was announcing it had signed an “unprecedented” agreement to supply eight airlines with up to 1.5 million gallons per year of renewable synthetic diesel - but wait - for “ground service equipment” at Los Angeles International Airport.

I was feeling much better. I hadn’t missed some breakthrough. I wasn’t flying on a fuel that was just hitting the market. And I don’t have plans to be at LAX anytime soon, so the trucks on the ground aren’t even a problem.

Much better. Besides, the plant that will make the fuel won’t even be online until late 2012. The low-carbon, clean-burning fuel will be made from “woody green urban waste” like grass clippings.

There goes the pulse again, flying on grass clippings.

This whole green thing will take some getting used to, and I want lots of testing. And that’s not to say this fuel will not be great. I’m just saying…

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