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KLM Airlines Complete First Passenger Flight Powered by Biofuel

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"Dutch airline KLM has completed a fifth jet biofuel test flight—and the first with passengers other than flight crew. Using a 50–50 blend of regular jet fuel and biofuel refined from camelina oil in one of its four engines, the flight carried 42 "observers" for an hour on November 23 from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, enough to fill business class, according to chemist Jennifer Holmgren, who was on board.

The test flights are part of an aviation industry plan to derive 1 percent of jet fuel from petroleum alternatives by 2015, or roughly 600 million gallons a year. Already, biofuel producers are gearing up production. Camelina grower Sustainable Oils—which provided the camelina oil to make the 1,000 gallons of jet fuel needed for the KLM flight—plans to cover more than 20,000 hectares in Montana with the weedy relative of canola, enough to deliver some 9.5 million liters of raw oil. And algae grower Solazyme recently won a contract to supply more than 75,500 liters of fuel derived from algae oil to the U.S. Navy, which would be a first for the industry."
 
 

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