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Japan Airlines will become the fourth airline in a year to use biofuel.

The hour-long Boeing 747-300 flight will be powered by 50 per cent traditional jet fuel while the other half came from a biofuel blend.It followed a successful ground-test of the engine today.The airline industry is developing second generation fuels from nonedible products, after fuels made from edible plants were criticised.

Biofuel used in the latest flight at Tokyo airport was a mixture of camelina (a kind of flax), the flower jatropha and algae. Algae is seen as an especially promising material because ponds with a combined total acreage equal in size to Belgium would be enough to meet all demands from commercial airlines across the globe.

Tomorrow's test followed similar flights by Continental Airlines and Air New Zealand. The world's first test flight using biofuel was conducted by Britain's Virgin Atlantic Airways last February.  Pilots have reported that the pace of fuel use indicated the biofuel was more efficient.

The test flights are supported by Boeing and the four airlines have cooperated with different aircraft engine manufacturers to compare data on biofuels made from different materials and various mixes of biofuel and conventional fuel. Yasunori Abe, 52, chief of JAL's global environment division said: 'From a long-term perspective, we need to search for a fuel that can replace petroleum. Biofuel is especially attractive because CO2 emissions from biofuel can be seen as zero.'

 
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