A "pioneering" flight powered by biofuels has crossed the British channel, paving the way for what could become a major challenge to traditional paraffin oil-based jet fuel.
Air passengers with a view to reducing their carbon footprint will have taken note of the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747’s maiden flight on biofuels, as it safely navigated passage from London to Amsterdam.
Yet to carry any passengers, the flight was touted as a breakthrough in ‘green’ flying, with some 20 per cent of its fuel load provided by coconut and Brazilian babassu nuts.
Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson said: "Today marks a biofuel breakthrough for the whole airline industry. Virgin Atlantic, and its partners, are proving that you can find an alternative to traditional jet fuel and fly a plane on new technology. This pioneering flight will enable those of us who are serious about reducing our carbon emissions to go on developing the fuels of the future, fuels which will power our aircraft in the years ahead through sustainable next-generation oils."
With algae cited as one such substance, any new fuel alternative would be likely to undergo extensive laboratory and static-engine testing to weigh up its energy efficiency before being brought into aircrafts.