Virgin Atlantic uses carbon waste to power transatlantic flight - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  October 3, 2018

Virgin Atlantic uses carbon waste to power transatlantic flight

Virgin Atlantic on Oct. 2 deployed its first commerical flight powered by fuel produced from industrial waste gases using pioneering technology in a transatlantic flight from Orlando International Airport to London Gatwick, a project that could shift the conversation on using alternative energy sources and reusing carbon waste released into the atmosphere.

The technology used for the project, provided by LanzaTech, turns greenhouse gases released from steel mills and other industrial sources into ethanol, which can then be converted into a variety of low carbon products that can be blended into jet fuel. Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech teamed up with EPIC Fuels, a supplier of fuels and related-services to commercial airlines and airports, for expertise in fuel blending to successfully implment the technology.

"Today we make history by showing there is a new way to make low carbon fuels and to keep fossils in the ground," LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren said in a statement. "This flight is a real example of the circular economy in action, indeed we 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.  Thanks to our partners around the globe we can show that reusing carbon is not a fantasy."

The group tested the blended mixture of traditional jet fuel and alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) produced from waste gases to ensure it met the required specifications for ASTM 1655 jet fuel before using it to power one of Virgin's Boeing 747 airplanes. EPIC Fuels provided support for transportation, logistics, aircrat refueling equipment an on-site quality control for both the blending and testing process.

"As a fuel provider, EPIC Fuels recognizes the need to find alternatives to petroleum-only based jet fuel," said Kai Sorenson, director of commercial sales for EPIC Fuels.

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