Richard Branson says it would be highly beneficial for the aviation industry to undergo a mass switch to non-carbon fuels. Alex Blackburne has more from the billionaire philanthropist.
One of Britain’s richest men, Richard Branson, has claimed that non-carbon fuels can become the norm in the aviation industry, in a global attempt to tackle climate change.
Back in October, Blue & Green Tomorrow reported on how Virgin Atlantic had announced its plans to utilise ‘green’ fuels within just a few years, but Branson, who founded the airline in 1984, said this movement could catch on throughout the whole industry.
“Unlike cars where there are millions of filling stations, there are only about 1,700 aviation stations in the world”, he told The Guardian.
“So if you can get the right fuel, like mass-produced algae, then getting it to 1,700 outlets is not so difficult.”
He added that he would be “very disappointed” if the industry’s non-carbon fuel use hadn’t reached at least 50% by 2020.
“Once the breakthrough takes place, getting to 50-100% is not unrealistic”, Branson claimed.
“Aviation fuel is 25-40% of the running costs of airlines so the industry is open to new fuels.”
After a handful of high-profile cases of corporate greenwash have been reported by Blue & Green Tomorrow, the aviation industry’s move towards sustainable fuel is anything but that.
Widespread use of biofuels across the sector would decrease greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 85%, according to researchers at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
“Trying to address climate change makes business sense”, said Branson.
“The jet fuel industry can charge what they like at present. New fuels will compete. You could find the price of aviation fuel comes down.”
In 2008, a Virgin plane travelled from London to Amsterdam, powered solely by coconut fuel. With regards to the use of biofuels, Branson called the industry “dismissive”, but that gradually, people have begun to accept that it was the way forward.
“We’re heading in the right direction. The industry could go from one of the dirtiest to one of the cleanest in 10 years.
“We are investing in different companies and really beginning to see traction.”
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