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Why the airlines are rushing to alternative fuels

Got to feed the hungry baby: growing air traffic means higher fuel usage.


You may have noticed a number of announcements and articlse in recent weeks about airlines signing deals with producers of biofuels–fuels made from plants, from trash, e ore are coming.


The interest in biofuels isn't random, and it isn't going away; in fact it may be key to the airlines' survival and growth. While some of the interest in recent years was based on looking for a way around high oil prices, now the big issue is the environment. Every year more and more people are flying; the China and Southeast Asia markets especially are growing, and with the  growth in flying comes growth in pollution.


To avoid having limits imposed on the industry, they've either got to reduce the emissions,  or offset them by another environmental plus, like turning trash into aviation fuel. And since so few companies are prepared so far to turn out large quantities of biofuel, a number  of  the airlines are investing directly in biofuel companies, or funding  research and construction. 


USA Today has an interesting analysis of this situation, with more details and interviews with industry figures. To read it, click HERE              Photo: Olivier Cleynen  / Wikimedia

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