Jatropha biofuel success could drive air travel go green

This article has been written by Sanskrity Sinha for IBTIMES.COM

Media reports say that biofuel produced from seeds of Jatropha, a non-edible plant, can be sucessfully used for fueling aircrafts.

Jatropha, a weed-like plant that grows mostly on barren lands, "can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic benefits,” a report by Yale's School of Environmental Studies, funded by Boeing, concluded on March 31 this year.

According to Business Matchmaking, Inc., many airlines, including Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Continental, Brazil's TAM Airlines and most recently the Mexican carrier Interjet, in cooperation with European manufacturer Airbus, successfully tested the oil produced from Jatropha seeds as a potential substitute for traditional jet fuel.

"We are particularly pleased to learn of repeated testing of Jatropha in aviation with positive results," James Garton, president of Mission NewEnergy, the largest producer of Jatropha by acreage planted, USA, said.

An Interjet Airlines Airbus 320 passenger plane using the biofuel landed at Angel Albino Corzo of Tuxtla Gutierrez airport in Chiapas on April 1, a Reuters report said. The flight, from Mexico City's International Airport, was the first in Mexico partially powered (27%) by biofuel, the Mexican airport authority Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA), said.

Mexico is one of the few countries pursuing the production of bio-fuel from Jatropha for a couple of years now. As the weed widely became known for producing oil that could be used to fuel jet planes, the Mexican government wanted farmers to grow entire fields of it to turn into biodiesel.

The United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization has established the goal of reducing aviation-related carbon-dioxide emissions and the use of renewable fuels. The Yale study projected greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60 percent from Jatropha-based fuel compared to petroleum-based jet fuel.

"With the unprecedented challenges facing the airlines as a result of the constant increase in the price of jet fuel, and the global need to accept sustainability as a key to environmental responsibility, the Jatropha solution is timely and efficient," Garton added.

This article has been written by Sanskrity Sinha for IBTIMES.COM


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