Interesting news about the first commercial "biofuels-powered flight" by Virgin Atlantic. It looks like only about 6% of the total fuel on the jet was biofuel, and it's not environmentally-friendly biofuel.
Scientific American covered the story:
Virgin Atlantic became the first commercial airplane operator to fly a plane powered partially by palm oil this week. In a short but historic flight, one of the company's Boeing 747-400s flew more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) from London Heathrow Airport to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, reaching a peak altitude of 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) during the 40-minute flight, with one of its four engines burning a blend of 20 percent coconut and babassu oils mixed with regular petroleum-based jet fuel.
Greenpeace has another angle on it:
Ramping up production of either of these oils so that aircraft can gobble them up will still displace food crops into other, previously uncultivated areas including rainforests. Virgin's boast that the babassu nuts and coconuts were taken from "mature plantations" is fine and dandy, but are there really enough of these to feed every plane flying today, never mind the predicted growth in air traffic? Of course not, and babassu nuts grow in the Amazon rainforest - who knows what will happen if they start being produced in huge quantities? Don't forget that this biofuel mix only made up 20 per cent of the fuel being used in just one of the jet's four engines. . . . All of this adds up to one massive piece of spin and greenwash.