Virgin Atlantic made history this week with a flight from London to Amsterdam. The 747 making the trip had one of its four engines filled with an 80/20 jet fuel/ biofuel mixture (yes, that means that a total of 5% of the plane’s fuel was biofuel, but it’s a start). The fuel used was a coconut-oil based biofuel, reportedly created from 150,000 coconuts. Virgin readily admits that this fueling mechanism isn’t sustainable, but the flight was a success for its proof-of-concept – that an 80/20 biofuel mixture could in fact be used in aircrafts. It was previously believed that biofuels would freeze at the extremely low temperatures at high altitudes. Eventually, Virgin hopes that next-generation biofuels made from algae can power an aircraft, and reduce the industry’s reliance on petroleum-based jetfuel. Wouldn’t that be nice?
In other Virgin news, the company also announced that it would begin offering TED talks as part of its onboard entertainment catalog. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Branson has attended and spoken at TED in the past. Either way – it’ll be a welcome diversion for travelers looking for something other than sitcom re-runs to enjoy during a long flight. Learn more at Reuters.