KLM to fly on algae fuel

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The airline has announced plans to fuel its planes with kerosene made from algae.

26 May 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - Dutch airline KLM has announced plans to fuel its planes with kerosene made from algae.

The company has signed an exclusive contract with the Dutch company AlgaeLink to provide fuel for a pilot project which will begin this autumn, when the first test flight will take place.

AlgaeLink is opening two plants in 2008, one in The Netherlands and another in Spain. Initially the algae-based kerosene will be mixed with conventional fuel, but KLM's ultimate goal is to fuel its entire fleet with kerosene from algae and other plant-based oils.

The Dutch carrier says if all goes according to plan, 12 Fokker-50 planes - 7 percent of KLM's fleet - will fly on fuel derived from algae by 2010.  
Jean-Cyril Spinetta, the CEO of Air France-KLM, recently expressed his concern about an estimated increase of EUR 1.2 billion a year in fuel costs. The price of kerosene has risen by 55 percent so far this year and all airlines are experiencing serious problems.

In 2012, European airlines will have to pay extra for their CO2 emissions.

Since algae-based fuel is CO2-neutral, and is cost-effective when the price of oil exceeds USD 100 a barrel, KLM expects the fuel will save the company hundreds of millions of euros a year. The price of oil is currently trading at USD 135 a barrel.
AlgaeLink's managing director, Hans van de Ven, says he is negotiating with the world's largest cruise liner to build an algae-growing and oil-extraction system on a cruise ship.

"The emitted CO2 will be intercepted, and together with the biological waste of the ship will be used within the algae-to-oil system. The oil will be extracted on board the ship. After refining it can be used directly in the diesel engines."

[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]

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