The Greener Home - Building for the Future


Listen to what 'those in the know' know
Excellent online series of interviews with host Ned Ryan Doyle

"Our Southern Community" offers an archived series online compiled from WNCW radio interviews by host Ned Ryan Doyle, founder of the annual Southern Energy & Environment Expo. He discusses critical and fascinating issues with a number of green and sustainability leaders in Western North Carolina. | More>

No joke:
Continental Airlines flies a
 Boeing 737 partly powered
by algae and weed biofuel!

One of the greatest green challenges for the future is to figure out how to power those 'heavy lift' high-horsepower vehicles for which electric motors are not going to be a viable option. A jet airplane is the most obvious example of something that has always looked like it would require high-octane hydrocarbon fuel made from crude oil. Zepplins look cool... but let's face it: Our world will not be replacing its jet airliners with blimps any time soon.

But necessity is the mother of invention and it now looks like that with enough incentives from world governments -- and enough commitment from corporate board rooms --  it will be possible create sustainable jet aircraft flying on bio-fuels made from plants we can grow.

Peter Pae, writing in The Log Angeles Times on January 8, 2009 reports on a bio-fuel test flight conducted by Continental Airlines using a twin engine Boeing 737 jetliner:

"The two-hour test flight over Houston, where the carrier's headquarters is located, involved powering one of the two engines with a mix of 50% kerosene and a blend of fuel derived from algae and jatropha, a weed that bears oil-producing seeds. No passengers were on board.

Last week, Air New Zealand Ltd. became the world's first airline to fly a plane powered partly by jatropha-based fuel. This month, Japan Airlines Corp. is planning a test flight using fuel refined from camelina, a flowering plant that wheat farmers grow in the high plains of the U.S."

An interesting and unexpected side effect of the test flight on Wednesday, January 8, 2009 was that the pilot reported the biofuel-powered engine appeared to burn a smaller amount of fuel compared to that consumed by jet fuel-powered engine.

Read the full L.A. Times article at:,0,2390507.story