12 of 25
BACKNEXT
12. Energy: Jet fuel
Energy: Jet fuel
Myth: Soon jets will run on biofuels, enabling us to fly guilt-free.

Reality: Time to come down to earth.

It is true that Richard Branson, president of Virgin Air, ran one of his passenger jets on an 80-20 mix of jet fuel and a special biofuel made from coconut oil and babassu nut oil.

Is it a solution? Branson said he did it just to show it could be done. But don't expect the most common biofuel -- corn ethanol -- to be firing up 777s anytime soon.

Ethanol provides roughly a third less energy per gallon than jet fuel. No problem. Just add a bigger fuel tank, right? But that adds more weight, which means you need to design a bigger, stronger plane, which in turn needs more fuel to travel the same range. This vicious cycle means that ethanol isn't practical.

Airlines have been testing fuels made from jatropha and palm oils, but those fuels remain expensive and lack the hydrocarbon rings that interact with the seals in current engines, helping swell them shut -- not ideal if you happen to be a passenger on the plane. -- Brian Dumaine

NEXT: Energy: Alternative sources of energy
Last updated March 26 2010: 6:04 PM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
5 biggest share buybacks of 2014 Stock repurchases are booming. These five companies are ready to spend over $79 billion on buybacks. More
10 horrifying corporate mascots McDonald's Happy is part of a long lineage of creatures great and small that shill for products and mortify consumers. Mr. Mucus, anyone? More
5 best cities to launch a career The top spots in the U.S. for new grads to land a job -- and actually enjoy life -- according to financial site WalletHub. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.