Virgin Atlantic, working with LanzaTech and Epic Fuels, launched a commercial flight using a fuel mix made in part from captured greenhouse gas emissions – the first of its kind, the airline says. The fuel was used on a Boeing 747 aircraft for a flight from MCO to London Gatwick on October 2.
LanzaTech’s carbon recycling technology captures carbon-rich industrial waste gases, such as those from steel mills, and recycles them into ethanol, which can be upgraded to alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) and then blended into jet fuel. Epic Fuels added its experience in fuel blending and aviation fuel expertise.
LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren calls the flight an example of the circular economy in action. “[W]e no longer have to imagine a day when a steel mill can make the steel for the plane and the fuel to power that plane by using its waste gases,” she says.
Epic’s experience working with airlines on sustainable fuel alternatives include flights flown by Alaska Airlines in 2016 using a blend of sustainable fuel produced from non-edible, sustainable corn and renewable sustainable fuel made from residual wood and Singapore Airlines’ first-ever flight powered by a blend of sustainable fuel made from used cooking oil and conventional jet fuel.
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