Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Better than nothing?

Just watching Sir Richard Branson on Breakfast TV.

Not so keen on reporting what will be said (a new, and rather pointless trend) but one key point we will learn come the press conference later is how his Virgin Atlantic fleet will run a biofuel that will not affect the food chain. This was a major concern of mine.

The FoE has already labelled it a 'gimmick' (mot du jour in politics at the moment, too), but Sir. Richard may have had a pop at them talking on flying to international conferences all the time in 'conventional' planes.

It's a dilemma. On the one hand there is the undoubted contributed of air travel to PMWCC, but then there are the practicalities and realities of commercial air travel.

It will be interesting to see just how real this initiative might be as a mitigation.

I remain unclear as to the contribution made by Virgin Galactic, though.

First posted 24/02 - Addenda:

Telegraph - Algae are fuelling Branson's maiden flight - seems they know something the BBC doesn't.

Also just saw a twofer on the morning show again. The FoE guy did not impress; very dogmatic. There was a travel journalist who did; objective and thoughtful. I see this as an interesting one. All agreed it will make no difference to passnger decision, which is based on price. Plus such as this is a drop in the fuel tank compared with flights only one third full vs. full, 1st & Biz vs. cattle for fuel per passenger mile.

Telegraph - Branson: City to suffer without third runway

BBC - Airline in first biofuel flight

Indy - First biofuel flight dismissed as Virgin stunt - Possibly a new PR agency in the offing? But then, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Guardian - Branson's coconut airways - but jet is on a flight to nowhere, say critics

Gaurdian - Forests cleared for takeoff? - I might have to change the title above. And nice to see Virgin Galactic getting a mention.


Dave said...

Just heard on the radio that the flight is a short hop across the channel and the aircraft is running one engine on biofuel and the other three on normal aviation kerosene. There does seem to be discrepancy in exactly what the biofuel is though; some reports are saying the fuel is derived from Coconut Oil, the TV said it was derived from Palm Oil and some newspaper are suggesting it is algae derived.

With such confusion as to what the one engine is actually burning, maybe it's not surprising that the engineers don't seem convinced that the biofuel will be successful?

Peter said...

Not sure this is working out quite the way intended.

What amazes me that so much still seems to be either still 'secret', or beyond the bounds of even the BBC's legions of 'environmental analysts' (the chief of whom has an Englsih degree, which must help a lot when transcribing press releases or the menus when on the latest licence-fee payer or lobby-funded junket) to offer any objective infromation.

So all we get is pure PR puff on one hand and activist-dismissal from the other extreme.

About par, then.