Friday, September 28, 2007

Biofuels and aviation

I've shared the widespread assumption that finding a substitute for kerosene is going to be one of the biggest obstacles to achieving less damaging means of air transport. "Biofuel trial flight set for 747" looks like one to watch.


Douglas Coker said...

Hang on there Caspar. The BBC piece has important caveats. My initial reaction is that the airline lobby are grasping at straws.

I do sympathise with antipodeans. They are a long way away from the "north". Parts of Australia are collapsing ecologically and if worst case scenarios pan out Oz will most definately not be the place to be.

We really do need to adopt a carbon consciousness. One result will be that we understand that flying must be seen as a once in a lifetime/decade privilege.

Maybe the re-introduction of the airship will help. Slow food, slow towns and slow international travel. Why not?

Douglas Coker

Caspar Henderson said...

Dear Douglas

Richard Black highlights some important caveats in the piece. That's one of the reasons it may be a useful piece for [us] non-specialists.

One of the big question marks is over the (some way off) second generation biofuels (by this I assume cellulosic ethanol etc). What is their potential? What would be their downsides?

It's being said that the drought in Australia has made even Rupert Murdoch concerned. I suppose one of his sons tipped him that way too.

"Flying as a privilege" and "slow travel": interesting ideas, and they appeal to me. But even if such cultural change achievable on a sufficiently broad level and on the necessary timescale, it will probably still be wise to develop ways of flying that pollute far less for those flights.