Virgin Atlantic has announced it is to develop aviation fuel with half the carbon footprint of standard oil. The airline has partnered LanzaTechto create the fuel, which is converted from carbon waste gases emitted from industrial steel production.
Virgin Atlantic hopes to use the fuel within two to three years on routes from Heathrow to Shanghai and Delhi and the technology is currently being tested in New Zealand. The first test flight is expected to take place within 12-18 months and the first commercial flight is set to takeoff in China by 2014, with a UK then global roll out if successful.
“We were the first commercial airline to test a bio-fuel flight and we continue to lead the airline industry as the pioneer of sustainable aviation. This partnership to produce a next generation, low-carbon aviation fuel is a major step towards radically reducing our carbon footprint, and we are excited about the savings that this technology could help us achieve,” said Sir Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic at the announcement today.
“This technology will enable airlines to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint by reusing gases that would otherwise have been emitted directly into the atmosphere,” added Dr Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of LanzaTech. “While there is still work to be done and logistical hurdles to cross, we have excellent partners in Virgin Atlantic,Swedish Bio fuels and Boeing and we are confident that we will have a facility with the capacity to produce fuel for commercial use by 2014”.