Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to conduct its first commercial flight using a sustainable aviation fuel produced by LanzaTech. The flight will take place next month and involve one of Virgin’s 747s, the entire trip serving as a demonstration of low carbon technology that may help combat climate change. The flight will span from Orlando to London.
According to Virgin, it started working with LanzaTech in 2011 on technology for capturing industrial waste gases that contain large quantities of carbon and recycling it as ethanol. The resulting ethanol could then be used for other products, among them being jet fuel.
In comparison to regular jet fuel, Virgin says LanzaTech’s alternative could reach up to 70-percent lower carbon emissions with a notable sustainability profile. This is due in part to the ethanol derived from carbon waste, which is described as being “plentiful.”
Due to the large quantities of waste gases, the ‘green’ jet fuel has a price competitive with the regular alternative. With its current estimates, LanzaTech believes its technology could be retrofitted onto 65-percent of existing steel mills around the world, the waste gases helping produce enough jet fuel to cover about 1/5th of the amount used annually.
Virgin sees the new jet fuel as a product that could become a “day-to-day reality” for airlines, something it wants to underscore with its upcoming October flight.
SOURCE: Virgin Atlantic