Increasing air traffic is the ultimate symbol of the world's rapid globalisation. Large jets take thousands of people to the other side of the planet in a matter of hours, fill up their tanks at the airport and carry on to their next destination. Non-stop.
One factor that has made this revolution possible is the availability of inexpensive, standardized jet-fuel, made from petroleum. The fuel is the same in Singapore and Boston, in Rio de Janeiro and in Brussels.
However, if it is up to Boeing, this will soon change. The aiframer imagines a world in which there are thousands of independent biofuel producers each making their own fuel from the most efficient local feedstocks and to a common global standard. Boeing's biofuel strategy has greatly expanded and is moving in this direction as the company prepares to select a specific biofuel source for two demonstration flights scheduled next year.
A good article on not only Boeing's vision of the role biofuels will play in the aviation industries future but also on the various efforts going on around the world to engineer biofuels for aviation.