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Monday, January 11, 2010


Doug Carlson hosted his Monday (5-6PM on KIPO, 89.3 on your FM dial) Energy Futures radio show this evening to discuss a memorandum of agreement signed by 14 airline companies, including, of course, Hawaiian Airlines. Keoni Wagner, Hawaiian Air Vice President of Corporate Communications and I were guests: The program dicussed the prospects of a sustainable replacement for jet fuel, where one candidate is Camelina sativa:

Photo: Camelina sativa.
being developed by AltAir Fuels. Telephone panelists were:
Tom Todaro, CEO of AltAir Fuels from Seattle, and
John Heimlich, Chief Economist of the American Transport Association in DC

Let me at the outset express excitement that real companies are seriously taking on the matter of substituting fossil jet fuel with renewable jet fuel.  While pilot tests have already occurred in actual jet flights, Mr. Todaro pointed to 2012 when the effort will be upscaled.  Keoni Wagner described how Hawaiian Airlines' lifeblood is jet fuel, and spoke of the urgency to find substitutes.  Both Messers Todaro and Heimlich indicated, though, that this was a decadal activity, biofuels will slowly be phased into the mix and overnight relief cannot be expected.  While AltAir Fuels is only about ten years old, the American Transport Association has been in existence since 1936, and daily interacts with the U.S. Congress, Federal Aviation Administration and Civil Aeronautics Board.  Mr. Heimlich said they are now working in partnership with the Department of Defense, for they have similar needs regarding the future of aviation.
Mr. Todaro mentioned $3/gallon as a target goal for his biofuel, and while his current efforts are terrestrial, he expressed enthusiasm for microorganisms as the ultimate source of jet fuel.  There was mention of the Department of Energy and the Defense Advanced Projects Agency as highly supportive of this initiative to produce jet fuels from biomass.
Hawaii is in particular jeopardy because our economy is so largely based on tourism.  If the price of oil shoots past $100/barrel and approaches $150/barrel, I long ago predicted that we will enter into a prolonged state of local depression, for the visitor rate will plummet. My Huffington Post article this past August discusses the concept of sustainable aviation, where, in addition, I advocated the need to start now to develop a next generation aircraft, such as the Hawaiian Hydrogen Clipper.
Go to Doug Carlson's blog site and read more about this subject.  He indicated that his guests next week will be Mike Hamnet and Sharon Miyashiro of the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum.  5PM, next Monday, 89.3 on your FM dial.

The Dow Jones Industrials rose 46 to 10,664, while world markets were mixed.  Gold went up $15/toz to $1152 and crude oil is at $82/barrel.

Tropical Cyclone Edzani at 45 MPH popped up far east of Mauritius.


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