Filed under: environmental issues | Tags: airplanes, eco-friendly, flying, fuel, travel
I’ve been a big proponent of Virgin Air and billionaire Richard Branson ever since he made the decision to lead the way in using biofuel for the Virgin fleet. I LOVE to travel, so someone needs to find a way to make it a little greener! It sounds like they’re getting much closer too. According to the NY Times, he announced Monday that they’ll be testing the first flight from London to Amsterdam (sans passengers) next month. He’s partnerned with Boeing and GE Aviation to do these tests. The fuel is only 20% biofuel and 80% conventional fuel, so they haven’t got it all figured out just yet. However, it is a solution that requires no changes to the current 747 engine and as such would obviously be a lot more enticing to other carriers. While they refuse to say exactly what sustainable source they’re using for the fuel, Mr. Branson did say it would be something that wouldn’t compete with food or fresh water sources. FYI, Virgin also donates 100% of the profits from the airline (and all of his other transportation businesses) back to financing research and development of alternative fuels. He also joined forces with Al Gore back in Feb. ’07 to offer a $25 million prize called the Earth Challenge for finding an effective way to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The prize requires the removal of 1 billion tons of CO2 or more every year for at least a decade and sequestering them underground doesn’t count. The closing date for the challenge is initially February 8, 2010, but if nothing worthy is submitted by then, they’ll reopen the contest for 2 more, year long phases. I guess we all better start thinking of ideas!
-Rebecca, San Francisco
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