How cool would it be if jet fuel flowed from the “gold of pleasure?” That’s another name for the camelina plant, which, evidently, holds some promise in powering planes and already is being grown in parts of northwestern Pennsylvania.
FedEx Corp. seems to think it’s a pretty neat idea. The company, which has a goal of getting 30 percent of its jet fuel from alternative sources by 2030, has some optimistic views about these power plants (green pun) in its 2010 annual report.
“Aviation represents a great opportunity for a transition to renewable fuel sources, if only because the infrastructure requirements are much lower. There are about 250,000 gasoline or diesel fueling points in the world, but there are only about 1,700 major aviation fueling points. Transitioning aviation to alternative fuels will be much easier than surface transport if renewable fuels become cost effective. The prospects look brighter every day, with jet fuel already being produced from algae and plants such as jatropha and camelina, albeit at cost levels that are not yet competitive with petroleum.”
Until the gold of pleasure makes it to the sky, though, FedEx is shelling out for Boeing 777 Freighter and Boeing 757 aircraft, “which are substantially more fuel-efficient per unit than the aircraft type they are replacing,” the company said.
“Under the right circumstances, FedEx would like to have at least twenty-two 777Fs in service by 2014 and another 16 by 2020. The 777Fs fly farther on less fuel, and they carry nearly 14,000 more pounds of freight than the MD-11s they replace.”
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