|January 8, 2009|
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) continues to solidify its reputation as a pioneering facility within the aviation industry.
Last year, it was one of the first airports to be named as a Model Port of entry and to deploy the Department of Homeland Security’s 10-fingerprint initiative. Now in 2009, it’s already served as host to an exciting set of tests surrounding the use of biofuels.
“Airports and airlines share the same concern regarding the release of carbon emissions,” said Houston Airport System Director Rick Vacar. “This is an enhancement that helps us both address that concern.”
The enhancement involved the flight of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft and Continental Airlines use of algae as a key component in the fueling of that flight.
“This demonstration flight represents another step in Continental’s ongoing commitment to fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner. “The technical knowledge we gain today will contribute to a wider understanding of the future for transportation fuels.”
The biofuel blend used during the flight includes components derived from algae and jatropha plants, both sustainable, second-generation sources that do not impact food crops or water sources or contribute to deforestation.
The event, which was attended by media members from around the globe, offered guests a chance to get an up close view of the pioneering flight as the aircraft sped down one of Bush Intercontinental’s five runways. .
During the two hours flight, Continental’s test pilots engaged in a number of normal and non-normal flight maneuvers, such as mid-flight engine shutdown and re-start, and power accelerations and decelerations.
The blend of 50 percent biofuel and 50 percent traditional jet fuel results in a significant net decrease in carbon emissions, since both jatropha and algae consume carbon during their lifecycles.
That’s part of the reason why there’s so much excitement about the use of biofuels in the future, and why people like Holmgren believe that hundreds of millions of gallons of biofuel could be in use by the year 2012.
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Continental Airlines CEO Larry Kellner was on hand when the Boeing 737-800 aircraft took off using algae as a primary fuel source
Billy Glover, Managing Director of Environmental Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes agrees saying, “Having a broader, more sustainable fuel portfolio is vial to our industry and demonstrating the viability of these renewable fuels addresses that goal, while potentially helping to further reduce environmental impacts.”
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