Employees load bags onto a Boeing 737-800 running on algae-based biofuel in Houston. Continental (owned by United Continental Holdings Inc.) flew the nation's first passenger jet powered by biofuels on Monday.
This week, two U.S. airlines will be flying passengers on flights powered by biofuels for the first time. On Monday a Continental flight from Houston to Chicago used a biofuel blend made in part from algae, and Wednesday Alaska Airlines is set to fly passengers using a fuel made in part from cooking oil.
If all goes well, more airlines may start to use alternative jet fuels. But the shift is not without its challenges.