Airship goes green with biofuel

Airships haven't really had much going for them on a grand commercial scale since the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. But Mike Lawson, chief executive of E-Green Technologies, wants to change that.

As reported by Alternative Energy news, Lawson test-inflated an airship dubbed the Bullet 580 recently at Garret Coliseum in Alabama and says the 235-foot long, 65-foot diameter vessel "will usher in the return of inflatable giant airships."

Alternative Energy said Lawson hopes to use the ships in "sightseeing, carrying heavy loads, as near-space satellite for broadcasting communications, weather watch, and geophysical surveying and monitoring any untoward events like oil spills, etc."

The ship is covered with a type of Kevlar, one-sixteenth of an inch thick. The ship cost £5.5 million, or about $8 million, and runs on algae-based fuel, the "latest bio-fuel that can be developed from brackish and waste water." The Bullet uses helium rather than the Hindenburg's hydrogen.

We'll be watching to see how it goes.

The Kellyton, Ala. company is hardly the only one with an airship these days. Airship Ventures, based in Moffett Field near Sunnyvale, flies the Eureka, a Zeppelin NT airship, around the San Francisco Bay Area on daily sightseeing flights, advertising operations, corporate and event occasions and scientific missions.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley