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The test is the latest in a series of demonstration flights by the aviation industry, which hopes to be using biofuels within five years. The flight was the first by a US carrier to use an alternative fuel source, and the first in the world to use a twin-engine commercial aircraft (rather than a four-engine plane) to test a biofuel blend.

Continental Airlines chief executive Larry Kellner described the biofuel as a ”drop-in fuel“, which means that no modification to the aircraft or its engines was required. The alternative fuel is also understood to meet and exceed specifications necessary for jet fuel, including a flash point and a freezing point appropriate for use in aircraft.

Despite advances in the technology, biofuels derived from algae have yet to be proven as commercially competitive; especially since oil prices are currently at their lowest levels in many years.

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