Transport Theory

Virgin Atlantic to use waste gas to fuel its planes

Virgin Atlantic to use waste gas to fuel its planes

Posting in Energy

By 2014, Virgin Atlantic aims to fly its commercial airplanes using a fuel created by converting waste gases from industrial steel mills.

By 2014 Virgin Atlantic aims to fly its airplanes on a waste-gas based fuel, that will cut its carbon footprint by 50 percent compare to the current standard aviation fuel.

The fuel, that is made by fermenting and converting waste gases from industrial steel, aluminium and power plants, is created by LanzaTech and Swedish Biofuels. Gasses that would have normally been sent off into the atmosphere as CO2 are recycled here.

The program will pilot in New Zealand, and the first demo flight should be in use with the next year or so.

LanzaTech says that about 65 percent of the world's steel mills could apply the process.

Virgin Atlantic has dabbled with biofuels in the past as well, and in 2008 the company flew one of its Boeing 747 jumbo jets from London to Amsterdam on a biofuel made of babassu oil and coconut oil.

With rising environment concerns, airlines across the board are also looking into using biofuels to further reduce emissions. Earlier this year, Lufthansa began using biofuels on regular commercial flights in a six-month trial run that it estimates will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1,500 tonnes. The fuel is a combination of regular fuel and with biofuel made by Neste Oil that comes from jatropha and camelina crops and animal fats.

Industry giants British Airways and Airbus also announced last year that air travel could be powered by algae by 2015, though algae-based gas is in the very early stages of production.

Via Environment Leader

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Ami Cholia

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Ami Cholia has written for AltTransport, Inhabitat, The Huffington Post and Sunday Mid Day in India. She holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure