Virgin Atlantic has announced the development of a world-first low carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative. A partnership with LanzaTech will see facilities developed in India to recycle waste gases from industrial steel production, converting them for use as a jet fuel. The fuel production process recycles waste gases that would otherwise be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Within two to three years Virgin Atlantic plans to operate flights with the new fuel on its routes from New Delhi to London Heathrow as LanzaTech and partners develop facilities in the country. The technology is currently being piloted in New Zealand, and a larger demonstration facility will be commissioned in China this year. The first commercial operation will be in place in China by 2014, with India likely to follow shirtly after.
LanzaTech estimates that its process can apply to 65 % of the world’s steel mills, allowing the fuel to be rolled out for worldwide commercial use. The energy company believes that this process can also apply to metals processing and chemical industries, growing its potential considerably further.