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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 1, 2013 10:00 AM Flag

    Midwest seen as proving ground for biofuel-powered airliners

    Midwest seen as proving ground for biofuel-powered airliners

    07/01/2013 by Kari Lydersen

    A biofuel-powered KLM jet runs between Amsterdam and New York City weekly. (Photo via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines)

    While an experimental solar-powered airplane recently made headlines for its cross-country journey, getting a commercial jetliner off the ground still requires far more energy than any electrical source can provide.

    “We don’t have the choice of switching to hybrid or solar aircraft,” says Pete McDonald, United Airlines executive vice president and chief operating officer.

    So for airlines that want to reduce their reliance on oil, the only option is to develop a more sustainable jet fuel.

    In coming years jets taking off from Midwestern airports could be powered at least in part by corn stalks, woody debris or even municipal garbage, meaning a significant reduction in carbon emissions, significantly lower fuel costs, benefits for farmers and the creation of thousands of jobs.

    But getting to this point will likely involve coordinated government support, risk-taking private investment and strategic research and innovation.

    That’s the basic takeaway of a report released Thursday by the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), which was founded in 2006 bringing together more than 40 corporations, government entities and non-profit institutions.

    “We’re basically inventing a new industry,” said Billy Glover, vice president of environment and aviation policy for Boeing, before the initiative’s release event in Chicago.

    Speakers noted that they’ve already proven aviation biofuels are technically feasible and safe. More than 1,500 flights have been powered by a blend of biofuels and diesel jet fuel, and last summer U.S. Navy aircraft did various maneuvers off the coast of Hawaii on biofuel-diesel blends.

    And earlier this year, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines began weekly biofuel-powered commercial service between Amsterdam and New York City.

    The proces

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