An airplane powered only by waste plastic will be making the journey from Australia to Britain sometime within the next few months (TBD). The “Wings of Waste” Cessna will be piloted by Jeremy Roswell, an Australian pilot looking to raise the public’s awareness of our modern “consume and throw away” culture.
The flight is expected to make the trip from Sydney to London, over Asia and the Middle East, before traveling over parts of Europe. The fuel will be refined entirely from waste plastics that would otherwise end up as litter somewhere, such as plastic bags and bottles. After refinement, you end up with something similar to typical aviation-grade diesel fuel.
“The fuel is created by carefully heating plastic waste in the absence of oxygen. This process, which is called pyrolysis, creates a fuel that is essentially the same as petroleum. Despite this fractional distillation the fuel still produces emissions when burned – although they are slightly cleaner than traditional transport fuels.”
Roswell is hoping to make an impact on the awareness that people have of their “wastefulness.” Much of what is thrown away is not only damaging to the environment but could also be quite easily used for other purposes.
“You look down at that garbage in the Pacific, and you see the result of what it’s doing,” said Rowsell, in reference to the damage that plastic garbage does to marine ecosystems, via ingestion, entanglement, and the release of toxic chemicals into the food chain. “I’m doing this because I believe that unless we do something to give back to the planet, we’re stuffed.”
For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. - Ecclesiastes 3:19