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Australia's Herald Sun

My comment: The link above might require log in, but I got this through Google News, just search Solazyme Qantas for the piece

Qantas digging deep for fuel's gold

A QANTAS experimental flight is set to take to the skies as soon as next month as part of Australia's effort to grasp aviation's holy grail - a biofuel to replace fossil fuels.
The airline yesterday confirmed it was in advanced planning for the nation's first commercial flight powered 50 per cent by biofuels.

It comes after Qantas late last week revealed talks about a joint venture with Malaysian Airlines had broken down, casting a pall over the group's plan to bolster profitability by pushing aggressively into the Asian market.

Rising fuel costs continue to undermine the performance of the flag carrier, which is losing money in its international business.

Qantas would not reveal yesterday which biofuel it would use. It will choose between products supplied by two US companies, Solazyme and Solena.

The airline said the flight would be a step towards setting up a local manufacturing plant for biofuels, which could cost $300 million.

Solena produces fuels from algae and industrial waste and claims emissions are at least 90 per cent lower than from regular jet fuel.

British Airways and Solena plan to open a plant in London in 2014. It will convert up to 500,000 tonnes of waste a year into 73 million litres of jet biofuel - still only a tiny fraction of the industry's needs.

Virgin Australia is after a home-grown solution. Late last year it signed a deal with local firm Licella, aiming to test and reach take-off with its fuel.

Licella's catalytic hydrothermal reactor plant in NSW makes bio-crude oil from agricultural waste and Mallee eucalypt roots.

Last year Lufthansa used an Airbus A321 to trial the world's first regular commercial route powered by a biofuel - a blend made up of 50 per cent of vegetable oils.

The six-month German trial finished in January, just after Qantas announced its biofuel flight as part of the world aviation industry's target of being carbon neutral by 2020.
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