Flying Guinea Pigs

An article in United Airlines on-board magazine said, “[United] will be the first U.S. airline to use renewable biofuel on regularly scheduled passenger flights.”

Not many people may be aware that United Airlines is using biofuels, with the objective of taking biofuels from “demonstration flights to commercial deployment.”

So, if you have flown the friendly skies recently, there is a possibility you were an unwitting guinea pig.

United 777 taking off. Photo from Wikipedia
United 777 taking off. Photo from Wikipedia

While biofuels may be safe, assuming there are no long-term side affects, it’s merely another manifestation of an unrelenting, and unthinking, campaign to cut CO2 emissions to save the planet from climate change.

The reason for using biofuels, as stated by United, is that biofuels are “sustainable and will reduce greenhouse gasses.”

However, United’s fundamental premise, that biofuels are sustainable, is terribly flawed.

Assuming biofuels are safe, they will be hard pressed to replace jet fuel made from oil, as there aren’t sufficient feed stocks available to replace the jet fuel used by the airline industry.

One could say, using biofuels with passengers as guinea pigs is a publicity stunt, but since the use of biofuels hasn’t been widely advertised, except in its news release, it may merely be a trial balloon.

This is another case where politically correctness is absurd.

Worldwide jet fuel consumption in 2012 was nearly 2 billion barrels.

Based on forecast growth of miles flown by the airline industry, and a 30% improvement in engine efficiency, nearly 116 billion gallons of jet fuel will be needed annually by 2030.

The fact is, there is insufficient feedstock, whether it be trees, garbage, grease, algae, or whatever, to produce sufficient biofuel to replace jet fuel made from oil.

And to put CO2 emissions from airplanes in perspective, airplanes only produce 2% of worldwide CO2 emissions.

In essence, the proposal to replace jet fuel with biofuels requires destroying huge quantities of trees, or converting nearly all the worlds garbage, or devoting huge areas of land to produce algae, etc., to produce biofuels for airplanes, which only emit 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

It should be noted that no single source of feedstock is sufficient to produce all the biofuel needed to supply the airline industry in 2030, in order to reduce worldwide CO2 emissions by 2%.

Biofuels are not sustainable, when viewed from the perspective of the quantity of feedstock required to replace jet fuel made from oil.

It’s also interesting to note that a recent study for the European Commission “found the indirect land use change of biofuels to be bigger than previously thought, leading environmentalists to warn they are more polluting than fossil fuels, a claim strongly refuted by the industry.”

If this is true, the use of biofuels in aircraft becomes even more absurd.

Other airlines may follow United in the use of biofuels as it’s “politically correct,” but one must wonder whether people should be used as guinea pigs when the end result is futile, since there is insufficient feedstock to produce all the biofuel needed solely by the airline industry … which ignores all the other uses of biofuels being bandied about.

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Nothing to Fear, Chapter 10, Inadequacy of Biofuels, explains why biofuels are not sustainable with the necessary calculations for each type of biofuel covered.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon:

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear
Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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