back to article Kiwis deploy nut-crush powered jumbo

Air New Zealand says it has successfully carried out the first airliner flight test using "second generation" biofuel, manufactured from plants which don't require good farmland to grow. Such biofuels-2.0 potentially have no ill effects on food prices or deforestation, yet could seriously lower airlines' carbon numbers. Flight …


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  1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Ex Rain Forest recovery projects anyone?


  2. OS
    IT Angle

    IT angle ?

    Apart from the mention of nuts , where's the IT angle ?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A reforested Australia?

    I am lead to believe that the red soils (vs yellow) in the Australia desert indicate that in the recent geological past it was covered in rain forest. Could growing jatropha nuts be used to turn back the clock and start the process of reforestation?

  4. Dave Harris


    Have you seen the droughts in Oz over the last few years? Reforestation is wishful thinking, sadly (although I'd love someone to be able to correct me on this)

  5. Dan

    IT angle?

    Has anyone modelled the possible effects on the climate of planting millions of trees in arid regions. Can't be any worse than the current droughts in OZ!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Nice try, but...

    Which part of the world are most of Deserts found!

  7. James O'Brien

    All I have to say

    Is fu<king OW!!!!!!

  8. Grant Alexander

    Could reforestation cause another imbalance?

    While it kind of puts us Kiwis on the map, it does raise more questions than it answers. I remember during my forestry studies that the area of the world in desert has remained constant for many, many years. The locations of those deserts has changed from time to time. I wonder if planting up deserts could create an imbalance in the ecosystem, that nature will then correct by desertifying somewhere else. Deserts are nt wasteland, but a very valuable and valid part of the ecosystem, and anyone who suggests tampering with them on a large scale like this ought to be branded a terrorist.

    And Kiwis should be so proud of this achievement because New Zealand contributes 0.2% of the world's anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

  9. Simon Hewitt


    From wikipedia:

    Characteristic of many members of the family Euphorbiaceae, Jatropha plants contain several toxic compounds, including lectin, saponin, carcinogenic phorbol, and a trypsin inhibitor. Despite this, the seeds are occasionally eaten after roasting, which reduces some of the toxicity. Its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting as few as three untreated seeds can be fatal to humans.

    And the plant is BANNED in Australia. Possibly not the best choice?

  10. kerlmann
    Thumb Up

    Let's not forget humble coconuts....

    ....which the pedants/QI fans amongst you will be quick to point out isn't a nut at all. Nonetheless, 50 billion (count em) of these beauties grow each year globally in the wild already, most of which are wasted. Another desert-friendly option perhaps?

    Have a look here for evidence of where it's already being used:

  11. Dave

    Article Title

    Oooooh! THAT kind of nut - I assumed a euphemism...


    How, exactly, are the coconuts wasted? I would presume that the local eco-systems make fairly good use of them as things stand.

  12. Secretgeek

    Nice idea but...

    an epic scale fail.

    I can't see it now - 'Here's a good idea, let's turn over massive swathes of our rapidly dwindling arable land to produce a range of crops that won't feed anyone.'

    So we'll be able to ferry people around but can't feed them?

    Come on people. Food for fuel doesn't make sense. I suppose you could argue that if you''re living in a rich country then you really don't need to give a toss about whether there's a food shortage or not as it's not likely to affect you.

    Mine's the one with 'Hydrogen Cracker' on the back.

  13. peter

    deserts != terra nullius

    although jatropha *could* grow in arid parts of australia, it's almost certain that someone will complain about affecting the "delicate ecosystems"* with their many rare and endangered creatures (most of which look like mice) and plants (most of which look like grass)

    i can't see this idea getting off the ground (haha), unfortunately; even if there was no barrier to filling up otherwise unsustainable australian farmland (those lost to drought, salinity, etc) with jatropha, the sheer scale of the energy requirements for jet travel make this only a tiny part of a solution - we need a denser energy source.


    * apparently all ecosystems are "delicate" when anyone wants to do anything with them

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Secretgeek

    Speaking of epic fails - next time read the article before rabbiting on about the use of arable land. The whole point of using these particular nuts is that they don't need to have an impact on food production.

  15. Dale

    Bio-fuel powered jumbo?

    So, half of one out of four engines powered by bio-fuel. Hardly a bio-fuel powered jumbo.

    Anyway, just because these nuts CAN grow in a desert doesn't mean it would be economical to do so. More than likely the farmer will realise that they can only be financially viable if grown intensively. That means using good arable land to achieve high enough yields and, along with the inevitable government subsidy, replacement of food crops with a bunch of nuts. (Starting to sound like a government policy already.)

  16. Lottie


    I hope the constant use of 2.0 was just to wind the readers up?

    Anyway, this is a good proof of concept, but just throwing a bunch of new nut trees into a desert could cause massive issues. Especially in the numbers needed to produce a fuel oil alternative for everyone in the world.

  17. Secretgeek

    @ AC

    Fail myself. Fair point.

    Still rubbish farmland is still land that might be able to grow some kind of foodcrop (he's says desperately still trying to support his argument).

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