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Virgin Atlantic 747 Flight Uses Eco-Friendly Jet Fuel Made From Waste Emissions

Oct. 03, 2018
2 min read
Virgin Atlantic plane
Virgin Atlantic 747 Flight Uses Eco-Friendly Jet Fuel Made From Waste Emissions
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Air travel is notoriously bad for the environment. But, Virgin Atlantic, Boeing and emissions recycling company LanzaTech have partnered to change that.

Wednesday's Virgin Atlantic Flight VS16 from Orlando to London Gatwick will be the inaugural commercial flight powered by jet fuel made from recycled waste carbon gases. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson will be on hand to welcome the Boeing 747 upon arrival.

LanzaTech takes waste carbon-rich gases from steel making and other heavy industrial processes and converts them into ethanol, which is then used to make jet fuel. LanzaTech's fuel was approved for use up to a 50/50 mix with traditional fossil jet fuel by the ASTM International committee, an organization responsible for evaluating and setting technical standards across a wide range of materials, products, systems and services. The fuel, which has a comparable market price to traditional fossil fuel, has undergone extensive testing and review by all aircraft manufacturers and other specialists, performing comparably to or better than 100% traditional fossil fuel across a full range of performance and safety metrics.

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The company hopes to open three commercial plants by 2025, which would produce up to 125 million gallons of sustainable fuel per year — enough to fly all Virgin Atlantic’s UK outbound flights as a 50/50 mix. LanzaTech's technology would also save nearly one million tons of life-cycle carbon that traditionally is difficult to recycle or reuse, while injecting thousands of jobs across the supply chain market and providing important trade import and export potential. All of these benefits will be extremely beneficial to the UK in a post-Brexit Britain. If expanded further, LanzaTech anticipates that its technology, rolled out worldwide to around 65% of the world’s total steel mills, could produce enough fuel to meet approximately 20% of the world's current demand for commercial jet fuel.

Featured image by PA Images via Getty Images