Could trees fuel planes?
- Jul 06, 2011
The Virgin group of airlines is looking into whether eucalyptus trees could provide fuel for planes. Richard Branson today gave a speech in Australia on how the oil from eucalyptus trees might be a feasible fuel source that does not “eat into food supply”. Currently research is being done into refining the alternative aviation fuel so it did not freeze at high altitudes.
“What about the Koalas?” we hear you cry. Don’t worry, the fuel is mallees, a eucalypt tree that is sustainably planted in with crop and livestock. Over 1,000 farmers have already planted mallees on their farms, mainly in Western Australia. The advantage of mallees is that as well as becoming a source of biomass for renewable energy they offer protection from wind erosion, help to avoid dryland salinity and provide habitat for native birds and mammals. Virgin Australia is committed to only supporting biofuel projects that comply with robust sustainability criteria.