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Virgin Atlantic & LanzaTech Announce Jet Fuel Made From Steel Mill Waste

The low-carbon fuel firm LanzaTech, in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, has announced a new jet fuel made from steel mill waste gases, according to the companies.

To be more exact here, the recent announcement revealed that US-based LanzaTech has managed to produce 1,500 gallons of jet fuel from its “low-carbon” ethanol known as “Lanzanol.” This fuel is produced from steel mill waste gases (carbon monoxide mostly) through a fermentation process.

The achievement was largely the result of a 5-year partnership between Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech focused on the creation of commercially useful jet fuels made from “low-carbon” sources.

Virgin Atlantic claims that the new jet fuel could result in carbon savings of up to 65%, as compared to conventional jet fuel, going by initial testing.

“This is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime,” stated Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson. “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.”

A half-gallon of jet fuel can be produced from one gallon of the LanzaTech ethanol, according to the airline company. LanzaTech claims that its approach could be utilized to curtail around a third of the carbon emissions from steel mills as well as cutting airline emissions.

The new jet fuel can’t yet be used commercially, it should be noted. It’s currently in the testing process, with a partnership with Boeing moving things forward in that regard as well. Virgin Atlantic claims that test flights could begin as early as 2017.

The CEO of LanaTech, Dr Jennifer Holmgren, commented: “We can now truly imagine a world where a steel mill can not only produce the steel for the components of the plane but also recycle its gases to produce the fuel that powers the aircraft.”

Waste gases captured at UK steel mills will reportedly be used by Virgin Atlantic for the jet fuel production if things move forward commercially, according to the company.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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