First commercial flight partly fuelled by recycled waste lands in UK
Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando to Gatwick powered by blend of jet fuel and ethanol!
The first commercial flight to use jet fuel partly made from recycled industrial waste has landed at Gatwick.
The Virgin Atlantic plane, travelling from Orlando to London, was powered by a new blend of normal jet fuel and ethanol produced from waste gases, which the airline says could significantly lower aviation’s carbon footprint.
The flight’s fuel blend was 5% recycled, but the sustainable element could eventually form up to 50%.
It was produced in the US by LanzaTech, which claims it could eventually supply about 20% of the aviation industry’s fuel, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 65% compared with conventional petroleum. Virgin is bidding for government support to have plants built in the UK that could fuel all its operations.
Welcoming the Boeing 747 on arrival was Sir Richard Branson, the airline’s founder, who said the flight was a huge step forward in making the fuel a mainstream reality.
“Working with LanzaTech will enable us to greatly reduce our carbon emissions and, at the same time, help support UK industry,” he said.
“This fuel takes waste, carbon-rich gases from industrial factories and gives them a second life so that new fossil fuels don’t have to be taken out of the ground.”
Virgin called on ministers to provide financial backing for LanzaTech to open three UK plants by 2025, potentially producing up to 125m gallons of the jet fuel blend a year.
The LanzaTech chief executive, Jennifer Holmgren, said: “We have shown that recycling waste carbon emissions into jet fuel is not impossible, that waste carbon needs to be thought [of] as an opportunity not a liability, that carbon can be reused over and over again.”
However, other similar schemes have failed to come to fruition. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of the British Airways owner, IAG, bitterly criticised a lack of government support for a proposed east London GreenSky factory, which it said could fuel all BA flights from London City airport after 2014, but was never built and abandoned in 2016.
The Department for Transport has since committed some funds towards a new project from the biofuels company Velocys, backed by BA and Shell, which could turn household waste, including nappies, into jet fuel.
The aviation minister, Liz Sugg, said: “We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels, especially for aeroplanes, which will rely on traditional fuels for years to come.”
The UK’s binding climate change targets only require the aviation industry to stay within 2005 levels of CO2 emissions by 2050 – although rapid growth in the number of flights is predicted.
Most progress in managing aviation emissions to date has been through more efficient planes – Virgin reported a 24% reduction in its overall CO2 emissions from 2007 t0 2017, with aircraft such as 787s starting to replace old 747s. But the widespread use of more sustainable fuels, allied with carbon-offsetting schemes, will also be required.
Article from: https://www.theguardian.com/uk