The aircraft industry is feeling the heat when it comes to their emissions just as the automakers are. In an effort to reduce air travel's carbon footprint, Airbus is testing a new type of aircraft fuel called GTL, which is a liquid fuel made from natural gas. Natural gas emits the least amount of carbon of any fossil fuel, so the resulting liquid fuel is much greener than ordinary jet fuel. Research suggests that GTL can also be created synthetically using the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Airbus has successfully completed a flight using a blend of GTL and regular jet fuel. The flight, starting in the UK and ending in France, was successful and "will pave the way for approval of synthetic jet fuel in the future," according to Sjoerd Post, Vice President of Shell Aviation. Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders says that "It is part and parcel of Airbus' commitment to providing leadership as an eco-efficient enterprise". Here is a link to a video regarding the flight.
Considering that greenhouse gas emissions in Europe have increased 87 percent from 1990 to 2006, innovative solutions like GTL fuel will likely become increasingly important.
[Source: Airbus via Gizmag]