By Holy Solar
Flying the Earth-Friendly Skies
Biofuel enthusiasts have been saying for a long time that the sky is the limit for organically-based, sustainable transportation solutions. Now, that barrier, too, seems to have been rapidly passed. With the announcement of the world’s very first organically produced aviation fuel from micro-algae, San Francisco biofuel pioneer Solazyme may have helped solve the missing link in the alternative energy puzzle.
The new jet fuel, which is made from algal culture grown in vats from a sugar medium, addresses the enormous global issues tied up with petrochemicals as fuel for flight, just in time for the sixth anniversary of the Word Trade Center destruction. This development comes on the heels of tests earlier this year by Virgin Airlines, which has since moved its program to Europe.
There is tremendous philosophical significance in this announcement, as it heralds a time in the near future when air travel which does not have the political or environmental implications of fossil fuels so candidly illustrated by that devastating event. Jet fuel is an energy cost hidden to the average consumer, who generally only feels the impact indirectly as part of airline fares.
With this innovation, it has now become technically feasible to power every sector of industrial, transportation, and residential electrical needs, all by means of a renewable energy source. This is a milestone to give a little cheer about, and that it has been accomplished in so little time should serve as encouragement to those of us concerned with a sustainable energy policy.
The process will still need some perfecting, and the political will to wrest lucrative jet fuel contracts from the oil companies may be in shorter supply than oil itself. Nevertheless, we are seeing again and again that Nature offers an answer for a post-petroleum revolution.
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