We’ve recently featured the 787 Dreamliner airplane from Boeing, and the Ecojet prototype from Easyjet as examples of environmentally-friendlier air travel innovations. And now comes news from the beautiful land of New Zealand that its biggest airline, appropriately known as Air New Zealand, in conjunction with Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation and Boeing, is testing the waters for a new fuel made from the algae found in pond scums, which could have the capacity to reduce the entire carbon footprint of the airline industry to zero.
The process, created by Aquaflow, involves the harvesting of algae directly from any nutrient-rich settling ponds. This process is usable in many types of waste streams such as the ones created by the transport, dairy, meat and paper industries. The process works by exploiting the capacity of algae to absorb the nutrients available in the settling ponds, cleaning up the water which can then be used on other areas. The algae is then harvested and transformed into an alternative fuel source. So not only can biofuel created from this process, but is possible to clean up and reuse the waste water streams from major industries.
Air New Zealand is just one airline in the industry focused on creating alternative fuels for airplane engines. Last April, Virgin Airlines announced that it will start trialling the use of biofuels in a 747-400.