Monday, August 18, 2008

Airlines Push for Reliable Source for Fuel

Airlines are heavily dependent upon a reliable supply of high quality fuel for daily operations. The price and supply instability of crude oil-based fuels is becoming a problem for airline operators.
Boeing and Air New Zealand later this year will test a biofuel made from the oil-rich seeds of the jatropha tree, a Mexican plant that grows in warm climates. Other synthetic fuel tests will follow on Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines flights. In February, Boeing partnered with Virgin Atlantic to test a flight that included a biofuel mixture of babassu oil, which comes from a palm tree in northern Brazil, and coconut oil.

"We're looking for something that is so correct in its performance that it can be interchanged with petroleum-based kerosene," Glover said. "From a distribution standpoint, from a technical standpoint, it needs to fit without modifications or special handling."...

More fuel sources could temper the effect oil speculation has on gas prices, and they could give carriers fuel at a cost they can count on, she said. But "you aren't going to find a fuel that's pennies on the dollar than what we find today," she said.

For travelers, that means that fewer flight options and charges for checked bags, drinks and other items are here to stay.

"Even if we were to double the volume we were to make in biofuels every year for the next 10 years, we're still looking at maybe this will impact 15 percent of the overall fuel supply," said Brian Fan, Cleantech's senior director of research.

"Realistically, for anything to be happening at scale, enough to actually impact an airline's bottom line, we're years away," Fan said. _AP_via_Biofuelsdigest
Realistically, it will be ten years before biofuels are supplying at least 10% of transportation fuels for airlines and ground fleets. Still, 10% reduction in petro-fuel demands will have a substantial impact on the national revenues of Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and all the other bloody tyrants who happen to be sitting on a load of underground oil.

Many people will not forget that Nancy Pelosi and Borbara Boxer are largely responsible for the squeeze that US and western businesses find themselves in. It is unlikely that they and their cronies will get off scot-free when all is said and done.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

Al Fin,

Enjoy reading your blog and your thoughtful analyses on energy issues.


I saw that you responded in this post to a recent quote of mine in the AP regarding the impact of bio jet fuel on airline business models.

++++++++++++++

"Even if we were to double the volume we were to make in biofuels every year for the next 10 years, we're still looking at maybe this will impact 15 percent of the overall fuel supply," said Brian Fan, Cleantech's senior director of research.

"Realistically, for anything to be happening at scale, enough to actually impact an airline's bottom line, we're years away," Fan said. _AP_via_Biofuelsdigest

I'm a bit puzzled why you ask the question:

+++
Yes, Brian, it does take years to substantially replace part of a trillion dollar infrastructure. What were you thinking--that it would only take months?
+++

Did I sound surprised to what I was saying? Or did what I say seem just so obvious that my saying it reflected on my ignorance?

I think we're both in violent agreement here.

I was asked by the AP reporter when we could expect to see cheaper plane fares as result of bio jet fuel, and my quote was my answer to that question.

Regards,
Brian at Cleantech

10:34 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, I see that we are indeed in agreement. It appears that I was responding to something other than your quote. My apologies.

I have recently been dealing with people who seem to expect that either biofuels can provide 100% of our energy tomorrow, or they're worthless.

Thanks very much for setting me straight, Brian. That is something that some of us need occasionally.

9:15 AM  

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