The Houston Chronicle (11/8, Moreno) reports today, a United Continental Holdings Boeing 737-800 “was the first by a US carrier to include passengers on a plane powered by a blend that included algae-based biofuel along with conventional petroleum-based jet fuel.” Solazyme worked with Honeywell to develop the fuel. According to the article, United Continental “estimates that the biofuel blend on the flight Monday reduced carbon dioxide emissions by an amount equal to what would come from the exhaust of a car driven 30,000 miles.” Meanwhile, “Alaska Airlines announced Monday it will power 75 commercial passenger flights with biofuels starting Wednesday.”
Biofuels Still More Expensive Than Conventional Fuels. The Wall Street Journal (11/7, Nicas, Subscription Publication), reporting on the United flight, noted that while airlines are testing the use of biofuels, the economics of scale mean biofuels are still more expensive than conventional fuels despite an 87% increase in cost since 2009. Meanwhile, in order to reduce costs, some are considering developing biofuels based on local feedstocks in order to lower transportation costs.