It’s not easy flying green: Biofuel vs. Fossil Fuels
There’s a race afoot to give biofuel wings in the aviation industry, part of an effort to combat soaring fuel prices and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, Virgin Atlantic became the first commercial airline to fly a plane on a blend of biofuel and petroleum. Since then, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways and Continental Airlines, among others, have flown biofuel test flights, and Lufthansa is racing to be the first carrier to run daily flights on a biofuel blend.
However, researchers at MIT say the industry may want to cool its jets and make sure it has examined biofuels’ complete carbon footprint before making an all-out push. They say that when a biofuel’s origins are factored in — for example, taking into account whether the fuel is made from palm oil grown in a clear-cut rainforest — conventional fossil fuels may sometimes be the “greener” choice.