Biofuel firsts

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747- 743 G-VROM (c/n 32339) recently conducted the first commercial jet flight using fuel produced using recycled waste carbon gases. Simon Willson/AirTeamImages

THE USE of biofuels in air transport continues to evolve, with several big developments in the area in recent weeks.

On October 3, Virgin Atlantic Airways undertook the first commercial flight using a new form of jet fuel. Flight VS16 from Orlando to London Gatwick, operated by a Boeing 747-443, G-VROM (c/n 32339), flew with a mix of conventional Jet A-1 and fuel produced using recycled waste carbon gases.

The biofuel was supplied by LanzaTech, a Chicago-based company that recycles ethanol waste gases produced by heavy industrial processes such as steelmaking. This ethanol undergoes a catalytic process to be upgraded to an alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraff nic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) fuel that can then be mixed with conventional Jet A-1.

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