Algae in Airplane Engines

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted June 9, 2011

Most often rising gas prices make us think of their effect on hitting the road.

But they also severely affect taking to the skies.

Rising oil prices have been hurting the airline industries and forcing them to drive up airfares.

And as much as that makes the consumer grumble, they really need to increase prices.

According to, a tiny $0.01 increase in gas prices costs airlines in the U.S. alone $175 million.

But new research is being completed to help combat that cost.

This week, ASTM International issued a first-round approval on biofuel for airplanes.

Several years of testing had been underway on alternatives to petroleum-only fuels.

It’s odd to think you can scrape one of the alternatives off the bottom of your pool.

Fuel from organic materials such as algae and woodchips has passed extensive, strict tests for airline-acceptable fuels and recently proved to be safe.

The idea is to combine this with petroleum to create a biomass/oil fusion, a combination that could include up to 50% organic biofuel.

The final approval of this type of fuel is set for July 1 of this year, and airlines could begin using it as soon as several weeks later.

Airbus SAS and Lufthansa AG (PINK: DLAKY) have already shown interest in taking part in trials, Lufthansa planning to make daily flights with it.

Airbus and Boeing have made plans to set up production plants for the biofuels across the globe.

There are concerns this will not benefit emission levels, considering the organic organisms would still release CO2 unless careful precautions are taken.

But it will help airlines cut down on petroleum dependence and hopefully boost their profitability.

Algae-oil only sounds futuristic.

That’s all for now,


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