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United Airlines just became the first airline in history to operate a passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel

United Airlines has become a global leader in reducing the aviation industry's carbon footprint. In 2016, the carrier became the world's first airline to continuously use sustainable aviation fuel in its regular operation, mixing it with conventional jet fuel in the same engine. ( More...

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carste10 9
Currently SAF is "up to 8 times the cost of conventional Jet-A".
Peter McGrath 2
But it "feels good to say you use it"!
Dave Underwood 15
Corn ethanol has been criticized for years as environmentally unfriendly to the environment. Using foodstuffs as alternative fuels has always been problematic.

From Pepperdine University: "Unfortunately, environmentalists contend that corn-based ethanol is the least environmentally friendly of the main alternative fuels. Corn is an energy intense crop and requires a great deal of either natural gas or fossil fuels to break it down into ethanol."

This may be just as doubtful as "clean" electric cars - just don't ask about power plant emissions or the impacts on the electric grid.
SmittySmithsonite 3
Yep, this is the one subject that both my liberal uncle and I can find agreement on, but for different reasons. He hates it for the environmental side of things, and I hate it because I see how much it costs consumers in repair work due to ethanol's propensity for grabbing humidity from anywhere and everywhere, then settling out to the bottom of the tank and carburetor to corrode metal to oblivion, & plug up both fuel and air passageways. Not to mention how it leans out the fuel mixture, and hardens hoses to a brick in short order. ANYTHING would be a welcome substitute.

It does make me a PILE of money every year, so I can't really complain ... but when something ain't right, it ain't right!
Duane Mader 6
A pilot friend of mine flew for a biofuel company. When I asked why they were looking at a plant near a coal mine and not near farmland, he said “they use so much energy to process corn it’s just as easy to put it there”.
user3956 5
It's well known that new renewable plants are being put near existing coal plants sometimes because those places already have a lot of the required infrastructure, including grid capacity to send the power out. The idea is to eventually shut down the coal plants and "switch over" effectively to the new power source. Assuming that you meant coal power plant and not just coal mine. That being said, I'm a big fan of coal, I think we should use what we have and focus efforts on smoke stack carbon and pollutant capturing tech.
Ken Lane 4
Oh, throw in the BS subsidies of OTHER PEOPLES' MONEY to pay farmers to grow corn for that bullshit.

The Democraps constantly claim ordinary business expenses are a subsidy. The corn crap IS a subsidy. And congress critters on both sides are pushing it for the sake of votes.

Ted Cruz is the ONLY one I've heard preach against tax subsidies for farmers. "Let the free market work." And, when government keeps out of it, the free market does indeed work.
user3956 4
Corn farmers to get massive subsidies, it's like America decided instead of sugar we'd use corn syrup for everything. Corn is in ketchup for hell's sake.
bentwing60 1
But is no longer available on the menu for many fast food, (chicken, and dine in restaurants. Apparently they make more moola feeding the prime ears to cars and the cull to swine. priced it in a super lately?
Dave P 4
You were spot on until your third paragraph. I agree with your points about ethanol from crops. There are land use, mono crop farming practices, and net GHG emissions that make this practice questionable at best.

In terms of electric cars, as a comparison point, an internal combustion engine is roughly static in efficiency. An electric vehicle has the benefit of being powered by a grid that is becoming increasingly powered by renewables. eGrid expects a further 5 percentage points in the US power mix of renewables over the next four years (through 2025).
Alain Duncan 4
What renewables? They all have the same problems as the corn fuel. They depend on traditional energy sources and non-renewable materials for their production and operation.
Ken Lane 1
"Renewables" that are thirty percent efficient, at best? Has no means of storage and a "use it or lose it" result? With equipment that has less service life than the gas engine?

It takes about 350 wind turbines to replace the typical coal-fired powerplant.

It takes about 2000 wind turbines to replace a nuclear reactor.

Your "renewables" are a joke.
beilstwh 1
what are you talking about? of cource there is readdly available storage.
1. Pumped storage, about 95% efficient
2. Large Scale battery bank (tell austraalia that this doesn't work)
3. Inertial energy storage
4. gyroscopes
Jimbo Llidgots 7
Are you on meth? There is no large scale battery storage that is reliable nor sustainable. WTH is 'Inertial Storage'? ...and gyroscopes? Do enlighten us...
Ken Lane 6
Really? Show us the product that can store power in that kind of volume. If there is any entity that can greatly benefit from such a product it would be a nuclear aircraft carrier using a lot of electricity. And, what is the Ford using for its electromagnetic catapults? Capacitors. And, they're barely sufficient for most use and leave questions on recharging

What the hell is "pumped storage" of electricity?

Your inertia idea sounds like a boondoggle chasing after perpetual motion resulting in energy.
skylab72 3
A product that can store power in that kind of volume?

That's easy, Lake Powell. Now all you gotta do is find some water to put in it.
bentwing60 2
A more appropriate "nom de guerre" for beilstwh might be bu#lsh#t.
carste10 -1
And how many dead birds?
Michael Morabito 6
Concrete is responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions—roughly 4 times that of aviation fuel. So, we ought to close down our cities and make people live in the real world (a.k.a. Fly Over Country) where things grow and thrive.
Daniel Sarbu 10
And since one engine was operated on traditional Jet fuel, how was this flight operated using 100% sustainable aviation fuel as the article title suggests? ....
David Tsai -1
I guess that "100%" means that the fuel was 100% sustainable, not that the flight was using 100% fuel that is sustainable.
a1brainiac 4
I thought I smelled french fries
John Freschl 7
According to the article, airlines are allowed to keep no more than 50% biofuel on board. In this demo, one engine burned 100% regular fuel, and the other engine burned 100% biofuel.
mbrews 6
You are right about the biofuel regulation.

So, a fact-checked headline would be. " ..United.. operated the flight with 100% SAF in half of the engines "
mbrews 8
Headline is misleading. From the article ..

" The flight operated with one of United's new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets with 500 gallons of The SAF in one engine and 500 gallons of traditional jet fuel in the other. "

Looks like, with United CEO Kirby on-board the flight, they were clearly hedging their bet...
Andrew Halushka 2
Wow. Who could have guessed you could run an engine on the blood of economy passengers?
Greg S 2
Interesting to see this effort make it all the way to an actual commercial flight. I wonder, did the flight attendants make a land use announcement before the flight and after it landed?
Roy Thomas 4
I have a great idea. Let's deplete aquifers to "grow fuel", then use coal-fired electricity to process that fuel, all to be environmentally "responsible".
linbb 5
Would be nice to know if there was any taxpayer money involved as the cost of bio fuel is quite high.
David Tsai 3
Corn in general (not just for SAF) is heavily subsidized in the United States, so it is unlikely that taxpayer money was not involved at all.
John D 7
Got to start somewhere and often government money is used for innovative tests like this.
Alain Duncan 4
No, you don't "got to" start anywhere. The market will discover new, better technologies on it's own just fine. But you can certainly bet that when government money is offered the pigs will be lined up at the trough with all the usual excuses.
Michael Hutchinson 3
Yes this article is purposely misleading because when the total environmental cost is considered bio fuels are a woke joke. Congratulations to United for good virtue signaling.
msetera 2
Maybe they should experiment with this fuel on Air Force One instead of using real Americans as guinea pigs. Then we can all be confident in it's reliability or not.
David Tsai -2
United Airlines does not operate Air Force One.
Gene Poon 2
Big whoop. Greenie propaganda and pandering by industry.
Erik Scheller 1
His does any United flight operate from ORD to DCA (or IAD) with only 7000# of fuel? That’s a little more than they like to arrive with (depending on the make/model), I think it was more than 500 gallons each side.
Erik Scheller 2
Typically the 737-900 each wing holds 8500# of jet fuel, so anything more than 17,000# required for that flight would result in the blending if fuels in the center tank, which is typically burned first.
Jaime Terrassa 0
well said msetera
Bonnie Clouse -7
. It was Trump who was in bed w all pharmaceuticals. He had promised to keep. I will bet if there were NO vaccines it would be the same as is now with this sugar water being injected into people In Biden, it is


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