The Virgin Atlantic 747 plane is the first plane to fly using recycled wastes as fuel. The commercial plane which flew overnight from Orlando to London used a mixture of jet fuel and ethanol gotten from recycled waste gases.
According to U.S. producer LanzaTech, the fuel could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70% compared to standard jet fuel which is about one million tonnes per year. Virgin Atlantic recently partnered with Lanza Tech in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic who was at Gatwick to welcome the plane said “Working with LanzaTech will enable us to greatly reduce our carbon emissions and, at the same time, help support UK industry. This fuel takes waste, carbon-rich gases from industrial factories and gives them a second life so that new fossil fuels don’t have to be taken out of the ground.”
Liz Sugg, the Aviation Minister, said: “We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels, especially for airplanes, which will rely on traditional fuels for years to come.”
LanzaTech chief executive, Jennifer Holmgren, said: “We have shown that recycling waste carbon emissions into jet fuel is not impossible, that waste carbon needs to be thought of as an opportunity not a liability, that carbon can be reused over and over again.