Japanese Airlines Test Flight Finds Biofuels More Efficient

By Jonathan Williams

Just like the Continental Airlines test flight in January, the recent Japanese Airlines test flight that used a biofuel mixture found it more fuel efficient than regular jet fuel. Sadly, the fuel only was comprised of extremely small amounts of algae biofuel:

The exact composition of the biofuel mixture was 84% camelina, less than 16% jatropha, and less than 1% algae. All of these are second-generation biofuel feedstocks which, it is claimed, will not compete for land on which food crops could be grown. That’s certainly the case for algae and camelina (which can be grown in rotation with wheat to improve wheat crop yields), but less so for jatropha. Though jatropha can grow on some seriously degraded land, there is evidence that to obtain consistent crop yields that such land is not ideal.

Luckily, out of these three sources of fuel, algae is the only one that offers a consistent yield (grown year round) and will probably get the most attention. Even though camelina can be rotated with wheat, it means that there will be certain times when there will be zero yields. With our world economy, we need something that will offer stable, constant outputs of fuel. Algae is literally the only crop that can offer this.

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