International Herald Tribune:
Virgin Atlantic sets February flight to test biofuel
By Nicola Clark
Published: January 14, 2008
PARIS: Virgin Atlantic said Monday that it would conduct a demonstration flight next month of one of its Boeing 747 jets using biofuel - the first airborne test of a renewable fuel by a commercial jet.
The airline, founded by the British billionaire Richard Branson, said a 747-400 plane would make the journey lasting one hour and 20 minutes from London Heathrow Airport to Amsterdam in late February using 20 percent biofuel and 80 percent conventional jet fuel. The test, without passengers, is part of a joint research project announced by Virgin, Boeing and the aircraft engine maker, GE Aviation.
The airline declined to identify the source of the biofuel, though Paul Charles, a Virgin spokesman, said the carrier had rejected fuels derived from crops like palm oil because of the huge land area that would need to be devoted to cultivation for fuel production. Read more...