Low carbon jet fuel nears take-off

A company has produced jet fuel for Virgin Atlantic by fermenting waste gas from steel mills. Called ‘Lanzanol’, the commercially viable low carbon fuel has passed all initial performance tests and […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A company has produced jet fuel for Virgin Atlantic by fermenting waste gas from steel mills.

Called ‘Lanzanol’, the commercially viable low carbon fuel has passed all initial performance tests and is expected to result in carbon savings of 65% compared to conventional jet fuel.

The low carbon fuel was developed in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and HSBC.

LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic are now set to work with Boeing and other companies in the sector to get the fuel approved for use in commercial aircraft. It could be used in its first proper test flight by 2017.

Following a successful trial, the partnership will seek approval to use the fuel on routine commercial flights and LanzaTech will build a commercial jet fuel plant to supply fuel to Virgin Atlantic and other airlines.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group said: “This is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime. Virgin Atlantic was the first commercial airline to test a bio-fuel flight and continues to be a leader in sustainable aviation.

“Our understanding of low carbon fuels has developed rapidly over the last decade and we are closer than ever before to bringing a sustainable product to the market for commercial use by Virgin Atlantic and other global airlines.”