As the push to certifIcate a full biofuel by 2013 continues, the US Federal Aviation Administration has awarded half a million dollars to the X Prize foundation to devise a strategy that creates monetary incentives for the development of cost-effective renewable alternative fuels that are favourable for the environment, and do not create negative side effects such as the displacement of food production.

The foundation awards X Prizes, which can reach $10 million or more, to the first team achieving a specific goal set by the foundation. In October 2004 the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team won the $10 million Ansari X prize for SpaceShipOne developed by Burt Rutan and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

In addition to working with other organisations to craft the alternative fuel development strategy, the X Prize foundation is also teaming with members of FAA's Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative on the project. Separately, the FAA says work is continuing towards certification of a synthetic blend alternative fuel this year, followed by 50% biofuel blend in 2010.

Meanwhile, British Airways and Rolls-Royce are seeking alternative fuels for testbed testing in an R-R RB211 taken from a BA Boeing 747.

Source: Flight International