Watch the Skies for United's Eco Plane, Already Flying on Biofuels
Huge news. Yesterday marked the first time a US airline used biofuel in a commercial flight. No, it wasn't Alaska Airlines even though they are trying; it was United, and they flew their eco-friendly 737-800 from Continental's's former home base, Houston, to the United home base of Chicago.
For the #avgeeks: The biofuel is algae-based and includes 60 percent petroleum fuel and 40 percent biofuel produced by a company named Solazyme.
The eco-consciousness isn't limited to what goes in the tank, either. United flight attendants now push lighter serving carts and pilots traded in their 38-pound flight bags for more weight-conscious iPads (already loaded with their in-flight navigation charts and aircraft manuals). Furthermore, United makes it easy for plane spotters to identify the Mother Earth-friendly aircraft by its green winglets and 'eco-skies' written towards the front of the fuselage.
This is a step in the right direction for United, who now joins the green ranks of Lufthansa, KLM, Air China and more; all tested similar fuels with great results.
The use of eco-friendly fuels can reduce aviation carbon dioxide emissions by 50% as well as counteract the rising cost of jet-fuel. If this means cleaner air, piece of mind and lower airfares, we will be first in line. Currently biofuels are more expensive then jet fuel, but this is only the beginning of this category of alternative energy; affordability will come.
TomorrowNovember 9Alaska Airlines will launch their regularly scheduled biofuel service between Seattle and Washington D.C, eventually adding flights from SEA to Portland to the list.
[Photo: Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle]