Biodiesel Crops Ready To Take Off
Airlines are looking for ways to mitigate their carbon emissions as the industry’s share of the total of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere continues to grow.
One of the solutions it is looking at is to mix biofuel with fossil fuel. However, considering the huge amounts of fuel that the industry requires, there are concerns that a switch to biofuels could do more harm than good.
Some people are starting to think outside the black box, though. According to a report on trade publication Air Transport World, Detroit Metro operator Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) has entered into a partnership with Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) to grow biofuel crops on the property of Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) and Willow Run, which also belongs to the authority.
The two airports have a total of about 1,700 acres of property for biofuel crops. As a trial run MSUE has leased three acres of airport-owned land from WCAA where it is growing crops such as canola and oriental mustard seed. MSUE is in charge of managing the project while WCAA provides access and use of acreage at its airports.
The project is set to be finalized by February 2012. It is supported with a $476,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The grant also covers other sites for bioenergy crops, such as vacant urban lots and highway right-of-ways.
WCAA Interim CEO Genelle Allen believes that if the project yields positive results it could attract
alternative energy enterprises interested in using land around airports to produce fuel for aircrafts, which would in turn boost economic development to the southeast Michigan region. She remarked these crops would also protect land around the airports from further encroachment.