Will kerosene soon be replaced by biofuels to fly airplanes?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Boeing is cooperating with Air China to test a commercial jet using biofuel produced in China. The biofuel is based on jatropha, a thorny wild green shrub growing in hot climates. The good news: it doesn’t take food from people’s mouths. The bad news: in addition to costly modification to airplanes there are some worries that biofuel could freeze before reaching cruising altitude – a claim dismissed by the industry. Also, one still has to domesticate jatropha. PetroChina, foreseen as the fuel supplier, is already growing the plant in southern China.
If the technology becomes mature (potentially by 2025) and there is a concerted effort to internalize environmental externalities, one could imagine that passengers would be able to chose between flights priced on the type of fuel used.