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Biofuels 'not viable for aviation yet'

While it is theoretically possible to run aircraft on existing biofuel technology, it remains an expensive and time consuming process, an industry expert has warned.

Holidaymakers are becoming increasingly concerned about the emissions produced by aircrafts and are looking to the carriers to come up with inventive solutions to reduce their environmental impact.

Malcolm Watson, technical director of the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA), explained that the current biofuel technology is too expensive to be a viable means of powering commercial aircrafts.

"The problem isn't producing enough [biofuel] to power one aircraft; that could be done. It's producing enough to power a significant part of the world's fleet of jet aircraft," he added.

"[Biofuels] would be cleaner in terms of lower carbon dioxide emissions – but there will still be energy involved in producing the biomass - fertilisers, tractors etcetera - [and] moving it to the processing plant, and operating the process."

Despite the reservations, a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said that it planned to hold a joint biofuel demonstration with Boeing and GE Aviation in 2008.

Low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet have repeatedly argued that commercial aviation only produces two per cent of the UK's emissions.

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