Sunday, February 24, 2008
History if being made as the first ever bio-fulel powered test flight is set to happen today thanks to Virgin Airlines. The airline is incorporating bio-fuel into one of its four engines, with the other three powered by conventional fuel. The objective is to prove that bio-fuels do not actually freeze at heights over 15,000 feet and to stimulate other airlines to explore methods of aviation that reduce emissions.
But the event does not arrive without its share of skeptics. The one engine that is driving all the attention is actually powered by a "first generation bio-fuel that directly competes with either land and water use for food crops or carbon sinks such as rainforests." In addition organizations such as Friends of the Earth ask consumers to keep an eye on the complexity of the bio-fuel issue,
"If you look at the latest scientific research on biofuels, it clearly shows that bio-fuels do very little to reduce emissions. At the same time, we're very concerned about the impact of this large scale expansion of fire fuel production and on the environment and on Indigenous people, as well as on food prices." said Kenneth Richter, or Friends of Earth.
The global attention to the event (both positive and negative) will hopefully inspire both airlines, and airline consumers, to consider the massive environmental impacts of air travel and to push for economic and scientific advents towards Eco-friendly alternatives.
(Video of Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Corp, on CNN discussing details of the flight and bio-fuels)