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Airbus, Honeywell team on biofuel

WASHINGTON — Plane maker Airbus and diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. on Thursday said they are developing a biofuel that by 2030 could satisfy nearly a third of the worldwide demand from commercial aircraft, without affecting food supplies.

Along with JetBlue Airways Corp. and International Aero Engines, they plan to produce fuel from vegetation and algae-based oils that do not compete with existing food production or land and water resources. Currently, commercial airlines run their planes on kerosene, though some alternative fuels are being tested.

President Bush in December signed an energy bill that requires refineries to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2022 with at least 21 billion gallons of the alternative fuel coming from nonfood raw materials.

The U.S. currently produces nearly 7 billion gallons of ethanol annually, all from corn. Critics say reliance on that crop has helped inflate food prices, while skeptics note there is no way to know when biofuels from other sources will be commercially available.

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