Flying High

Air New Zealand has made a bold move into the world of sustainability, becoming the first commercial airline to fly using an alternative fuel made from the jatropha plant. The airline recently conducted a two-hour test flight, blending the fuel with conventional jet fuel, and using it to power one of four engines on a Boeing 747. CEO Rob Fyfe hailed the project as an industry milestone. “Today we stand at the earliest stages of sustainable fuel development and an important moment in aviation history,” he said. The jatropha plant has been noted by Goldman Sachs as one of the most viable candidates for biodiesel and alternative fuels, with each plant producing 30 to 40 percent of its own mass in oil. The hardy nature of the plant, as well, renders it capable of growing in sandy, saline, or otherwise infertile soil. Given the success of the flight, the airline will be working with its partners to push for the approval of jatropha fuel as a certified aviation fuel. Air New Zealand is the second airline to test alternative fuels in flight, following Virgin Atlantic’s test of a Coconut Oil and Babassu Nut Oil blend in February. The International Air Transport Association wants all of its members to use 10 percent alternative fuels by the year 2017.


Tags: Air New Zealand  New York Times (The)  Rob Fyfe  Sustainability  

Maps Reveal New Details About Zealandia

Maps Reveal New Details About Zealandia

New Zealand’s research institute GNS Science has published two maps revealing new research about the underwater continent Zealandia, where dinosaurs once roamed – and is allowing the public to virtually explore…