LE BOURGET -- An Airbus airliner flew from southern France to the Paris Air Show on Thursday with one fuel tank partially filled with farnesane, a biofuel made from sugar cane as the industry experiments with green technology.

The gambit was to show that the fast-growing air transport sector is eager for clean fuels, but the ability for green fuels to compete with petroleum-based kerosene that spews tons of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere remains way off.

The sugar fuel was developed by Amyris, a U.S. company owned by the French oil major Total, and could be on the market starting next year. Other key partners in the demonstration were Air France and Safran, which built the engine used in the test.

"Technically there are solutions, but economically it has not taken off, that is for sure," said Pierre Porot, a biofuel specialist at the French institute IFP Energies Nouvelles.

Parked on the Le Bourget airport tarmac, the A321 looked quite similar to more conventional passenger planes and attracted hardly as much attention as the sleek combat jets sitting nearby.

It was only the second time a plane has flown with this kind of fuel, the first being in Brazil, where Total produces farnesane.

The flight, which lasts about an hour when commercial planes make it, used 10% farnesane, consuming about four tons of sugar cane.

But developers said use of sugar for fuel would not affect food markets, a usual complaint against biofuel technology. "Sugar cane is not considered a food product by the (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization, it does not compete therefore with food sources," said Philippe Marchand, head of Total's biofuel unit.