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EADS to launch algae-powered airplane

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EADS to launch algae-powered airplane
A file photo of an algae production plant. Photo: DPA
14:41 CEST+02:00
European aerospace firm EADS will present the world's first airplane that runs only on algae fuel next week at the ILA Berlin Air Show, the company's technical director said on Friday.

“We are trying to create a paradigm shift in the aviation industry,” Jean J. Botti told daily Die Welt on Friday. “We need an alternative to kerosene.”

Owing to the high energy content of the algae, the twin-engine Diamond DA 42 needs 1.5 litres less fuel per hour than with conventional systems, the paper reported.

“I have high hopes for algae,” Botti said. “The energy intensity from algae is excellent, and the growth of these plants absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide.”

Quick-growing algae plants have recently ignited interest as a viable biofuel source. Not only can the plants be grown using waste water and sea water, but they are biodegradable and can be produced on land not suitable for agriculture.

EADS aims to halve their carbon dioxide and noise emissions by 2050, Botti told the paper, though he said a great deal more algae research and development must first be done.

“If 10 percent of our fleet flies on biofuel by 2040 than I would be extremely happy,” he said.

EADS, the parent company to airplane manufacturer Airbus and helicopter-maker Eurocopter, is working on other environmentally friendly projects such as an electric or “hybrid” helicopter, Botti added.

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