Boeing 737 To Fly On Algae-Based Fuel

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A 737-800 operated by Continental Airlines will be the first air-carrier aircraft from North America to fly on biofuels when a demonstration flight takes off from Houston on Jan. 7. Continental said on Monday that the flight, which will be operated with no passengers, will be powered by a special blend of 50 percent jet fuel and 50 percent components derived from algae and from jatropha plants. These sustainable, second-generation fuel sources don't impact food crops or water resources and don't contribute to deforestation, according to Continental. The demo flight will be the first by a commercial carrier using algae as a fuel source, and the first using a two-engine aircraft. The Boeing 737-800 is equipped with CFM International CFM56-7B engines. Developers of algae-based fuels have formed the Algal Biomass Organization, based in Seattle, which recently held a conference in Seattle. It's possible to grow algae anywhere, according to the Tacoma News-Tribune. Algae can flourish in saltwater, freshwater or brackish water. Virgin Atlantic carried out the world's first flight of a commercial aircraft powered with biofuel in February, using fuel made with coconut and babassu oils.