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Aviation rivals team up for biofuels project

Aviation rivals team up for biofuels project

Posting in Energy

Rival airlines have come together in a new biofuels development.

The airplane manufacturer and commercial carriers industries may normally involve bitter rivalry and continual disputes, but several firms have put aside their differences in order to make sure their industry survives -- as the effects of fuel prices and political changes are felt.

Airbus of Europe, Boeing of the United States and Embraer of Brazil have recently announced a collaborative effort to develop affordable biofuels for the airplane industry as a whole. Each maker signed a memorandum of understanding at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva this week.

A joint statement from the company stated that the companies would "speak in unity" to government figures and biofuel suppliers in order to "support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources."

Each firm has already planned or launched alternatives to kerosene production, however the collaboration's aim is to develop technology that can be applied to all airplane models regardless of make or company.

The rising price of kerosene to run aircraft and new political taxes is making the emergence of biofuels for commercial transport companies an urgent priority. If prices run too high, it may have detrimental affects for firms offering air-based transport -- on both a consumer and business basis.

A new EU law that took effect from the beginning of this year makes it obligatory for airlines flying in and out of European airspace to purchase carbon permits to offset their emissions -- which consequentially will raise the cost for consumers and commercial transport companies.

However, it has also caused a political fracas on a global level. Countries outside of the EU, including the U.S., India and China are questioning the EU's legal rights to place this kind of levy on flights.

Image credit: Dylan Ashe

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure