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Virgin Green Plane

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 5 months ago

Branson plans trials of 'green' fuelled passenger plane


Hilary Osborne guardian.co.uk, Tuesday April 24 2007


Trials of a passenger aircraft run on "green" fuel could begin as early as next year, the Virgin Atlantic boss, Sir Richard Branson, said today.


Sir Richard, who has already announced that his Virgin Trains will be switching from diesel power to biodiesel by 2009, said Virgin Atlantic had teamed up with Boeing, the engine maker GE Aviation and his new venture, Virgin Fuels, to work on ways to reduce greenhouse emissions from flights.


The companies hope to demonstrate the success of their work some time during 2008 by running a Boeing 747-400 on biofuel, Sir Richard said.


He said the flight would be the first of its kind by a commercial airline, and is expected to reveal that he hopes to have passenger flights running on the "green" fuel within the next two years.


In September, Sir Richard pledged to invest £3bn (£1.5bn) in efforts to develop green fuel, a sum equal to all of the profits from his Virgin air and rail interests over the next 10 years.


The money will be invested in Virgin Fuels, which is focusing on the development of biofuels - an alternative, made from plants, to traditional oil-based fuels.


The company has already invested $60m in a Californian venture that plans to make bioethanol from corn.


Although Sir Richard has argued that biofuels are a greener alternative to traditional jet fuels because they reduce the overall greenhouse emissions that cause climate change, many environmentalists claim production is energy intensive and that growing the necessary crops could lead to deforestation in some areas.

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