In February, Virgin Atlantic tried flying
on a mix of 80% jet fuel and 20% biofuel made from coconut oil and babassu palm oil. Another exotic ingredient is behind Air New Zealand's biofuel flight. The airline used a 50-50 mix of jet fuel and jatropha tree oil in one of its four engines for the two-hour test flight on a Boeing 747. No modifications to the engine were needed. The flight was a success
and Air New Zealand plans to source 10% of its fuel from sustainable sources by 2013.
The jatropha nut is a poisonous nu
t that is 30% oil and burns with a clear flame. It is seen to be at least as promising as palm oil as a potential biofuel and because it is drought resistant it has been used as live fencing in dry regions around the world.