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Airlines Invest In Biofuel Companies

by John M. White |

Since Hurricane Katrina the price of oil has been volatile, and the airlines are seeking a way to mitigate or eliminate that volatility in order to control their operating costs in an orderly fashion. Among the companies examining ways to produce green fuels for the airlines are AltAir, BioJet and Great Plains. Some 14 airlines are working with these companies who are developing a camelina-based jet fuel. Camelina is a crop that requires little water or nitrogen to flourish, can be grown on marginal land and does not compete with food crops. It can be used as a rotational crop for wheat to increase the health of the land. It has been traditionally cultivated as an oilseed crop to produce vegetable oil and animal feed.
According to the ATA (Air Transport Association) the airline industry has historically allocated from 10% to 15% of its operating costs, but in the 3rd quarter of 2008 fuel accounted for over 35% of their operating costs. Needless to say this has driven the airlines to find alternatives, and some way to control these costs. The International Energy Agency predicts that oil prices will remain, at least in the near term, at about $40 a barrel. At this price the cost of oil demand will still fuel growth, and the long term outlook is anyone's guess. This is driving the demand to find alternative fuel sources. Biofuel For Aviation Many think this effort is driven by a desire to reduce emissions from jet aircraft; however, the carbon regime is not binding at this point and higher fuel costs are driving this activity rather than the aircraft's carbon footprint. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) and Airbus are calling for governments to support the aviation industry's efforts to gain access to bio-fuels, asking whether biofuel products are best invested in fuels for autos or aviation? Aviation accounts for little more than 12% of transportation fuels with the balance going to the use by automobiles, but with renewable fuel standard mandates difficult to meet it is not likely that the aviation industry will not receive much support. This means the aviation industry will be fighting this battle on their own, but they hope that scalable biofuel technologies will make this point moot. You can find more information on this subject at Biomass Intel reports ... Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Pilot's Poem Unknown Author / Unknown title Someday we will know, where the pilots go When their work on earth is through. Where the air is clean, and the engines gleam, And the skies are always blue. They have flown alone, with the engine's moan, As they sweat the great beyond, And they take delight, at the awesome sight of the world spread far and yon. Yet not alone, for above the moan, when the earth is out of sight, As they make their stand, He takes their hand, and guides them through the night. How near to God are these men of sod, Who step near death's last door? Oh, these men are real, not made of steel, But He knows who goes before. And how they live, and love and are beloved, But their love is most for air. And with death about, they will still fly out, And leave their troubles there. He knows these things, of men with wings, And He knows they are surely true. And He will give a hand, to such a man 'Cause He's a pilot too.

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