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Qatar Successfully Powers a Commercial Flight with Biofuel

"Quatar Airways successfully conducted the world’s first commercial flight powered by a Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel blend in October 2009.

"Qatar Airways, Qatar Science & Technology Park together with US-based Verno Systems Inc, embarked on a detailed feasibility study on sustainable Biomass-to-Liquid (BTL) jet fuel and possible by-products such as bio diesel. The study will also look into ways for production and supply, with the support of Airbus.

"This study looked at all available bio feed stocks that would not affect the food or fresh water supply chain. It also looked at existing and future production technologies with a viability analysis.

"Based on the result of this in-depth study, the partners have agreed to establish the “Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform” (QABP) which will lead activities in the following four areas:
• A detailed engineering and implementation plan for economically viable and sustainable bio fuel production;
• a bio fuel investment strategy;
• an advanced technology development program; and
• ongoing market and strategic analysis."

Implications:

Air travel has been discussed as one of the major contributors to green house gasses, to the point where some companies stress telecommunication over air travel. Not only does Qatar's work potentially reverse this trend, but if increased biofuel usage becomes possible without effecting food stocks suddenly biofuel becomes a more viable solution. People in the global south don't have to see biofuel as the world choosing increased energy usage over their ability to eat.

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