With the goal of achieving carbon neutral growth by 2020 the aviation industry views sustainable biofuels as its tool to reach that goal. The major aircraft manufacturers are leaders in the research effort, utilizing their resources to fund and facilitate early tests with biofuels. While a core group of airlines using a very limited supply of biofuel is testing the commercial viability of biofuels across diverse networks.
Ethanol, made from corn, is part of the first generation biofuels, which are cheaper but have a larger impact on food supply. The price of ethanol is higher than the current gas prices when factors like transportation and labour are taken into account. However, airlines may find this type of biofuel…show more content… The usage of land originally dedicated to agriculture has not only created food shortages, but also caused an increase in food prices. Furthermore, there is not enough land capacity to satisfy the demand of the biofuel industry.
Biofuel is an ideal solution and the successes seen by aircraft manufacturers and airlines are small steps of progress towards full implementation. However, given the limitations in land capacity, the debate of fuel versus food, the current technological developments, high prices and lack of government support, this solution is neither economical nor sustainable.
Future of Alternative Fuels for Air Travel Introduction
Rise of Biofuels
With the airline industry committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020, the introduction of sustainably produced biofuels is a key strategy for achieving this goal. It was a multi-year process that required collaboration between aircraft makers, engine manufacturers and oil companies, with the first demonstration flight in 2008. In 2011 biofuels were approved for commercial flight use. Since that time there has been thousands of flights fuelled with sustainable biofuels, here are a few milestones;
First demonstration flight powered with biofuel, a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 with one engine powered with a 20% biofuel mix flew from London to Amsterdam.
First commercial flight powered with