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Are biofuels best suited to air travel?

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Bilal Hussein/AP

(Read caption) A Russian plane carrying emergency aid arrives at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. The aviation industry is gearing up to a very real push toward biofuels.

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Given how familiar most of us are with cars, it's easy to see them as the be-all and end-all when it comes to cleaning up transportation. Reduce fossil fuels, increase electric propulsion, increase use of biofuels, job done.

With over a billion cars on roads around the world improving them is clearly a priority, but other industries are seeking alternatives to conventional fossil fuels too, one of which is the aviation industry.

And as aviation gears up for a very real push towards biofuels, we ask--is aviation actually the ideal market for such fuels, rather than the car industry?

The latest column from industry analysts Navigant Research suggests it could well be, as a whole supply chain for biofuels builds around it and several airlines begin to incorporate aviation biofuels into their routes.

It isn't just small-time airlines either.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which runs hundreds of European and international routes,opened a biofuel route between the Netherlands and New York earlier this year. While the biofuel is a 50 percent blend with regular fossil fuel kerosene, it's still a long route using 50 percent less fossil fuel than usual.


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