Biodiesel in the Sky and at Home

By Jessica Sobolik | January 01, 2009
I was excited to read about the latest biobased jet flight (see Industry News) especially because it appears this particular flight by Green Flight International was conducted with B100 for most of the flight, followed by a 50:50 blend of biodiesel and jet fuel.

Our staff had previously been told that it was impossible for a jet to be fueled with biodiesel because the renewable fuel would easily gel at high altitudes. Leave it to U.S. innovators to solve that dilemma. I must also say, now that I've married into a family with strong Czech heritage, "good job" to those who constructed such a capable airplane.
This successful 2,500-mile flight from Reno, Nev., to Leesburg, Fla, will certainly be followed by others. Air New Zealand had scheduled its biobased test flight for Dec. 3. This one will use a 50:50 blend of jet fuel and synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from jatropha oil. Although it's not biodiesel, I'm sure it'll help pave the way for many renewable jet fuels in the future. The test plane was made by Boeing Co., so the results of this test may open a large market for biobased fuel. I look forward to hearing the results. Continental Airlines also intends to test a biofueled jet in 2009. The type of biobased jet fuel has not been announced.

I also read with great interest the features addressing the theme of this month's issue: Bioheat. In Senior Staff Writer Ron Kotrba's feature on page 36, titled "Re-New-able York City," he details two Bioheat bills proposed in New York City that may be passed later this year. They would have a huge impact on the Northeast Bioheat market. In addition, when our editorial staff prepared our coverage for this issue, we were somewhat surprised to see the lengthy list of Bioheat distributors on the National Biodiesel Board Web site. Although low crude oil prices may hinder Bioheat sales this year, as Staff Writer Erin Voegele found when she wrote "Warming to Bioheat" on page 44, the renewable heating oil still provides an attractive alternative to natural gas. As a North Dakotan who isn't a fan of cold weather, I understand the importance of a dependable heating oil, and since Bioheat is renewable and domestically produced, that's all the better.

Here's hoping our readers stay warm for the duration of winter. I recommend curling up beside the Bioheat-fueled fireplace with this issue of Biodiesel Magazine.

Jessica Sobolik
Managing Editor
[email protected]
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