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Fly the GREENER Skies September 16, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Sustainable Living, Travel & Leisure.

Change is . . . in the air!

Some airlines and airplane manufacturers are beginning to take steps to lessen their eco-footprints.

That’s great news since air travel  is expected to double in the next 20 years.

A few GREEN advances:

* Southwest and Continental have improved fuel efficiency, waste reduction, and recycling efforts.

* A French company,  LISA Airplanes, is building an innovative prototype, called the Hy-Bird, to fly with zero-emissions and nearly no engine noise.  Its space age design relies on solar power and hydrogen fuel cells to support  the company’s claims that Hy-Bird is the first 100% eco-friendly plane.  To celebrate, it’s planning an around-the-world flight.

* Virgin Airlines began testing the use of bio-fuels on passenger jets in 2008. Other airlines are following its lead:  Air New Zealand, Continental, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, and Lufthansa.

Hunt Aviation, a Mississippi based company is working on a fuel free plane. The prototype relies on helium filled pontoons and natural buoyancy for lift-offs, and on-board wind turbine and battery to power things in-flight.

* Boeing is developing a carbon neutral jet fuel made from algae, and its new commercial jet, the Dreamliner, is more fuel efficient than predecessors due to more efficient engines, lighter weight, and improved aerodynamics.

* Airbus is using lighter-weight composite materials in its new planes to increase fuel efficiency.

Until these innovative planes land on a run-way near you, a train or bus may be a better bet if you’re worried about the impact of your travel.

Another option, buy carbon offsets.  Both Terra Pass or Carbon Fund use  funds raised to fuel alternative energy projects.

Please put your tray tables and seat backs in the upright and locked position, and get ready to fly the greener skies!


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