Well, I’m sure that the august Mr. Branson was not present on the Virgin Atlantic test flight from London to Amsterdam the other day. Partially powered by biofuel processed from babassu nuts and coconut oil.
Doesn’t babassu nut sound like the latest dance craze? Well, it’s nut. Um, not.
Biofuel, Partly From Nuts, Is Tested on an Airline Flight
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | Published: February 25, 2008
Virgin Atlantic Airways, the British carrier controlled by Richard Branson, tested a jumbo jet on Sunday that was partly powered by a biofuel made from babassu nuts and coconut oil, a first for a commercial aircraft.
The Boeing 747-400, which took off from London and landed in Amsterdam, had one unmodified engine running on a mix of about 25 percent biofuel with the rest coming from standard jet kerosene, Mr. Branson said at a news conference at Heathrow Airport.
“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, such as algae,” he said.
Faithful reader might recall that fuel from food has been a constant concern of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©. In fact, here are the relevant links:
Holes in the story raise questions. While the Bloomberg News story via the NYTimes states that babassu nuts do not have food value, the wikipedia.org article cited above would seem to differ. Apparently even weeds have value, if they grow in the confoundingly bountiful Amazon.
And did a short hop from London to Amsterdam even get up to 30,000 feet of altitude, much less spend enough time there to prove that the biofuel tested won’t freeze?
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
Sir Richard has a flair for the spectacular. Perhaps he felt that he needed a public relations boost after his effort to bail out Britain’s Northern Rock mortgage bank foundered. Even he doesn’t have that kind of cash. And that’s saying something.
However, burning for fuel a feedstock for humans, their medicines and cleansers is about as sensible as burning for fuel petroleum, which is far more valuable as a component of plastics for example.
But he did the other day, and we do, day after bankrupting day. Biofuel, and its conceptual cousin, hybrid powered vehicles, are absolutely not the answers to the planet’s transportation energy crisis, just distracting detours from the path toward a solution.
It’s it for now. Thanks,
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