Sat, Jun 09, 2012
Limited Supply Means Very High Prices
The head of the International Air Transport Association says the airline industry needs help from government to bring down the cost of biofuels, which could help in reducing pollution. Tony Tyler, chief executive of the IATA says that airlines have flown 1,500 commercial flights powered by plant-derived fuel, but at great cost and with limited supply.
Tyler (pictured) was in Beijing for IATA's annual meeting, and said "We need governments to adopt policies to help support commercialization of biofuels to bring up the volume and bring down the price."
Bloomberg News reports that emissions from airlines have become quite a contentious issue, and several countries including China, Russia and the U.S. have opposed the EU's emissions trading scheme regulations. Two countries, Indian and China have told their airlines not to cooperate with annual reporting requirements established by the EU.
Studies show that airlines account for 3% of total carbon emissions, but aviation is the fastest-growing source. The EU has said it would reconsider its program if the ICAO can come up with a global agreement to regulate carbon emissions.
Energy companies have experimented with using different plants, nuts, and even algae to make fuel. Alternative fuel supporters say burning biofuels adds little extra carbon to the environment because most of it was already present in the plants used as a base stock. The IATA's Tyler cited industry estimates that biofuel use could reduce aviation's carbon footprint by up to 80%.
The latest generation of fuels have received government approval and can be made from plants that do not compete with food crops for land and water, he said.
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