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Virgin's coconut-powered 747 completes first flight

Nilay Patel

Finally, mankind has the answer to that eternal question, how many coconuts does it take to go from London to Amsterdam? The answer: 150,000 -- converted into biofuel and poured into a special 747, of course. Virgin Atlantic completed its first biofuel tests yesterday with solid results, using a mix of 20 percent coconut oil and 80 percent jet fuel to power a 747 -- a first for the airline industry. There's still a long way to go, of course -- only one of the jet's four tanks carried the alternative fuel, and even Richard Branson admits that giant coconut plantations devoted to airline fuel probably aren't workable -- but despite harsh criticism from skeptics, it's still an impressive achievement. Branson says that although this test didn't use a viable fuel, it's a landmark proof-of-concept -- and that next-generation biofuels made from algae may one day power all our aircraft. Sure, that'd be nice, but we'll stick with tiki-power -- anyone have a drink umbrella?

[Via The Register]

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