India should pursue aviation bio-fuel

On Jan. 7, 2009, Houston, Texas based Continental Airlines will partner with Boeing to test a 737-800 passenger jet using a biofuel and traditional jet fuel mixture. The biofuel is to be made from algae and jatropha plants.

Air New Zealand and Boeing were to test bio-fuels on a Boeing 747 Jumbo jet, using UOP (a Honeywell company) technology, on Dec 3, but that test has been delayed to the crash of the airline’s A320 off the French coast.

Regular readers of Bangalore Aviation are aware of the inordinately high costs of aviation turbine fuel in India, and the havoc it has played in the Indian airline industry. (Read fuel related articles). At the same time, India has extensive commitment to jatropha and much acreage is under cultivation.

Given the high dependence of imported fuel, and its potential for economic havoc, the government should leverage Air India and its strengths with Boeing and Airbus, to pursue an aggressive policy to encourage usage of bio-fuel almost to the point of forcing it. The economic benefits alone justify it. The indigenous and green aspects of such a policy will be the icing on top of the cake.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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