Virgin Atlantic Airways will use a 20% blend of algae-derived biofuel in a demonstration flight later this month. The fuel will be fed to one engine through an independent system in order not to mix with the fuel going to the other three engines.
In January, Virgin announced it would conduct the test flight, and only hinted at the use of an algae-based biofuel for the test. Flight quoted a document verifying the use of the algae biofuel, and indicated there were no fears of a miscue during the flight.
A limited crew will fly the empty 747 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Amsterdam. Following the flight, officials said the aircraft’s fuel system will be completely flushed as a precaution to remove any residual biofuel. The engine being used is said to be due for a major overhaul after the test.
Airbus used a gas to liquid fuel, derived from natural gas, in its flight from Filton, UK to Toulouse, France in mid January.
Developers of algae-based biofuels say they can tweak certain varieties of algae to produce a fuel that would power a jet engine without using it as an additive. Pond scum seems to have gained dignity and appears headed for a real future.
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