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A Continental Boeing 737-800 completed the first U.S. flight test of an algae-fueled commercial plane.

A Continental Boeing 737-800 completed the first U.S. flight test of an algae-fueled commercial plane on January 7, 2009. Powered 50 percent using a biofuel mix of jatropha (a plant grown successfully in poor soils with four times the fuel yield of soybean) and algae (a fast-growing plant that yields up to thirty times more fuel than standard energy crops), the plane successfully completed a test flight over the Gulf of Mexico. Considered a "drop-in" fuel because no modifications are needed to the aircraft or engines, this alternative energy source meets or exceeds specifications needed for jet fuel. In December 2008, one engine of an Air New Zealand 747 was powered by a fifty-fifty blend of jatropha plant oil and standard A1 jet fuel. And in February 2008, a Virgin 757 flying from London to Amsterdam used fuel derived from a blend of Brazilian babassu nuts and coconuts.

Karen Ann Gajewski is a contributing editor to the Humanist and a documentation project coordinator.

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Title Annotation:Worth Noting
Author:Gajewski, Karen Ann
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Words:164
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