Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Macron-economics, the former banker turned minister

Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

First biofuel powered plane crosses the Channel

Latest update : 2008-02-25

The world's first commercial biofuel-powered plane has successfully linked London to Amsterdam, in what Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson described as "history in the making". (Story by B.Harris)

The first flight by a commercial airline to be partly powered by biofuels and billed as heralding a eco-friendlier and cheaper era of airline travel took place on Sunday, Virgin Atlantic said.
  
A Virgin Boeing 747 jumbo jet, carrying biofuels mixed with kerosene, traditional jet fuel, made the short trip between London and Amsterdam with no passengers on board.
  
Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson described the flight as "history in the making".
  
The plane used a biofuel blend of babassu oil -- extracted from nuts of the babassu tree -- and coconut oil. Both products are more commonly found in cosmetics like lip balm and shaving cream.
  
Branson hailed the demonstration flight as a breakthrough for the airline industry and proof that there were viable alternatives to traditional jet fuel.
  
The flight enabled "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", Branson said in a statement.
  
Environmentalists argued that biofuels were in fact a poor alternative, pointing out that clearing raw land to produce them actually contributes to global warming by emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases.
  
Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr hit out at Virgin's test flight, calling it a "high altitude greenwash".
  
"The scientific evidence is now clear -- using the finite amount of land we have to grow biofuels is bad for the world's poor, bad for biodiversity and bad for the climate," he said Sunday.
  
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new croplands carved into rainforests, savannas, wetlands or grasslands would easily surpass the overall amount of CO2 emissions reduced through the use of biofuels, according to a report in the February 8 edition of Science.
  
Airlines meanwhile also see biofuels as cheaper alternatives to kerosene, whose price is soaring as oil futures strike record highs above 101 dollars a barrel.

Date created : 2008-02-24

COMMENT(S)