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November 11, 2011 | By Jon Hilkevitch
Continental Airlines flight 1403 made history when it landed at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Monday, becoming the first revenue passenger trip in the U.S. powered by biofuel. The Boeing 737-800 burned a "green jet fuel" derived partially from genetically modified algae that feed on plant waste and produce oil. In completing the flight from Houston, parent company United Continental Holdings Inc. won by two days the competition to launch the first biofuel-powered air service in the U.S. On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines started 75 passenger flights along with its sister airline, Horizon Air, that will take place over the next few weeks using a biofuel blend made from recycled cooking oil. The 20% biofuel blend the planes will use will reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10%, Alaska Airlines officials said.
July 15, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Jatropha? Camelina? Animal fats? That's what Germany's Lufthansa Airlines is using to help power four daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt that began Friday. Although other carriers, such as Virgin Atlantic and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, have used biofuel on demonstration flights , Lufthansa claims it's the first passenger airline to use biofuel for scheduled daily flight operations. KLM last month said it plans to start using biofuel on more than 200 flights between Amsterdam and Paris in September.
March 31, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
President Obama on Wednesday outlined a plan to reduce oil imports to the United States by a third over the next 10 years, calling for further oil and gas drilling at home, development of biofuels and greater fuel efficiency in new cars and trucks. With gas prices climbing largely because of unrest in the Middle East, the White House appeared eager to defuse Republican criticism about the pain that high fuel prices have inflicted on ordinary Americans and alleged inaction on the issue by the administration.
March 11, 2011 | Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
The latest surge in oil prices may help the renewable energy industry reach a turning point after years of boom-and-bust cycles long dictated by the rise and fall in gas prices. Solar, wind and biofuel investors and analysts said the latest run-up in prices caused by unrest in Libya and other oil-producing nations could lead to lasting interest in alternate sources of energy. They point to several factors converging at the same time that give the industry such hope. Public awareness and worries about climate change, pollution and dwindling resources are at an all-time high.
January 1, 2011 | By Lori Kozlowski, Los Angeles Times
Ever wonder what microorganisms do on a Saturday night? In professor Derek Lovley's lab at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, doctoral candidate Zarath Summers and her colleagues made a point to find out. In the process, Summers discovered a new cooperative behavior in bacteria. "Interspecies electron transfer" entails one microorganism forming a direct electrical connection to another. Scientists have known since the 1960s that microorganisms can indirectly exchange electrons through a process called hydrogen transfer, in which one microbe produces hydrogen and then another microbe consumes it. But this discovery takes hydrogen transfer and goes a step further.
August 4, 2010 | By Tiffany Hsu
There weren't many clean-tech companies landing investments in the U.S. but the ones that did — especially electric car manufacturers and support companies — just had a gangbusters quarter. With several electric vehicle models poised to hit the market this year and next, companies that set up the charging network to serve them were strong performers in the second quarter, Ernst & Young said Tuesday. Palo Alto-based Better Place was the big winner, securing $350 million in funding.
June 15, 2010 | Jonah Goldberg
OK WEB/ NO WIRES A rolling "dead zone" off the Gulf of Mexico is killing sea life and destroying livelihoods. Recent estimates put the blob at nearly the size of New Jersey. Alas, I'm not talking about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As terrible as that catastrophe is, such accidents have occurred in U.S. waters only about once every 40 years (and globally about once every 20 years). I'm talking about the dead zone largely caused by fertilizer runoff from American farms along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basins.
April 27, 2010 | By Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau
In a two-day swing through Illinois, Missouri and Iowa that begins Tuesday, President Obama will visit communities hit hard by the recession and tour two biofuel plants as he rolls out a special version of his election-year pitch aimed at rural America. In tow will be Cabinet members and advisors from the Midwest, all armed with a new White House report that touts success in many of the president's initiatives to help the rural economy and that points to the potential effect of proposals still in the works.
April 7, 2010 | By Chris Kraul
Standing amid hundreds of African oil palms, their gray and desiccated fronds drooping to the ground, Edgar Barrera shakes his head and speaks of their death sentence. "What we have is a technological disaster, an economic disaster and a social disaster," said Barrera, superintendent of the Bucarelia company's 12,000-acre African palm grove. Barrera is referring to a mysterious, fast-spreading and deadly disease called "PC" that has devastated African palm plantations here in the Magdalena River valley area 200 miles north of Bogota, the capital, and elsewhere in Colombia.
February 3, 2010 | By Jim Tankersley
The Obama administration today will unveil a revamped strategy to ramp up the nation's use of biofuel in hopes of fixing a government effort that officials admit has fallen short in its attempts to wean cars and trucks away from fossil fuels and move toward ethanol, biodiesel and other crop-based fuels. The new strategy, which the president will outline in an afternoon meeting with Cabinet secretaries and his top energy advisor, seeks to put the United States on track to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 -- the amount mandated by Congress in the 2007 energy bill.
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