Richard takes the guilt out of flying.
There will be a lot of controversy over this:
On the negative side; bio-fuels are widely regarded now as a non-solution - with natural habitats destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations for example.
On the positive side: if we can replace fuel in ground based vehicles with electricity (generated by solar) or even compressed air - then the bio-fuel left can be dedicated to air transport. This shows that it works.
The good thing from my point of view is that, at least, someone is trying...it may or may not work, but it's the 1st step towards a new era that we all know will come sooner or later...we can't depend forever on non-renewable sources, can we??
coconut oil is not the same as palm oil. oil palms are a 'crop' which is destroying rainforests and endangering the animals that live in them. the oil palm is a fast growing cash crop, coconut palms are a completely different thing altogether.
Titch, the point Ali is making is that regardless of the difference between the two palms- creating a global market for Coconut Palm Oil would necesitate the global planting of coconut groves. Clearing of forests, filling in of marshes and estuaries, decimation of what little Mangrove forests are left... If jets ran on Coconuts, they would turn into a cash crop just like the oil palm!
AT LAST!!!! Hardly.
Firstly digging a little deeper into the article from the Globe and Mail (the initial link) "a flight partly fuelled by a clear liquid derived from coconuts and the Amazonian Babassu Tree."
Not knowing what the Babassu Tree was I found the Wikipedia* article on it here
From there, "In February 2008, Babassu Palm oil was used in a blend with Coconut oil and jet fuel to power one engine of a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 during a flight test."
So it was used as a blend in one engine, the Boeing 747 has four engines. Not really the planet saving announcement it at first seemed. It may be a start but is it in the right direction.
The globe as an entity has a major problem
that urgently needs to be addressed.
Every little bit helps but the jury is still very much out on biofuels
as there is currently no evidence of their net positive effect on the environment.
Here are some very good articles from the BBC on the subject, they are by no means conclusive, complete or exhaustive articles on the matter. Here
Personally I think that some serious and committed efforts need to start being made around the globe by everyone to reduce the impact that global warming will have. Every strategy has its pro's and con's but in my opinion biofuels are yet to be proven with some rather damning initial data.
Although I think that the coconut 747 is a little bit stupid here
is one reason that Richard Branson is not such a bad guy. Plus he is kind of cool!!!
* I know that Wikipedia should not be used as a source but for the purposes of this it will do.
I am no expert on these things so what I am about to say may be wrong (feel free to correct me). Bio-fuels may (or may not) cause less harm to the forrest, but they would still emit greenhouse gasses. Thus we have saved the rainforest but not the earth.
IMO the only way to stop global warming is to dramatically decrease our usage. Which, (in our age of bling and boomboxes) just isn't going to happen.
There's 10,000 acres of coconut plantation here on Mafia alone, dying because noone wants coconuts anymore